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Sunday, September 4, 2011


The Inaccuracy Of "Nothing But Good Times"
Radio was the carnival I ran away from home to join, the raft I sailed through the infinite river of my Huckleberry imagination, the obsession with which I wrestled all my life.

As I began my career in broadcasting, it was limitless in scope, with the future as promising as living in the house right next door to Heaven. It was show biz, it was exhilarating, it was a slice of Eternity.

But it wasn't all good times, and to sequester the favored moments is flawed perception. A personal choice of limited outlook can only be described as delusional. The good times that, in fact, there were, stand out as even better only when one recalls the everyday flaws in the mix.

Memory isn't for just looking back on the so-called "good times," but all times -- every kind of situation that can be imagined squeezed into that dynamic duration.

Look again:

Remember the anxiety as ratings were yet to be announced?
Remember the things promised you that were never delivered?
Remember the disappointment when part of the team shirked their duty?
Remember when you found out a so-called friend turned out not to be?
Remember the sinking feeling when your ratings took a dip?
Remember when the listener called to ask you to play a song you just played?
Remember the many times you weren't acknowledged for your contributions?
Remember the embarrassment when inadvertently doing something not in the format?
Remember the suspense when you did something deliberately not in the plan?
Remember the empty feeling when a good programmer was replaced by a lame one?
Remember the lousy feeling when an entertainment choice was sacrificed for financial gain alone?
Remember when the phone never lit up?
Remember the drive in to work, through a drop-dead beautiful day, to a dank, closed-off studio?
Remember when the other guy was late for his shift, leaving you stuck?
Remember the phone calls asking, "What did I win?" when you weren't having a contest.
Remember wincing when the new boss delivered a stupid, minor market, newbie directive?
Remember being sorry for the good people axed in favor of an imaginary budget?
Remember losing a great jingle package for a newer, lesser one??
Remember records being replaced by playback media with no labels to see rotating on the turntable?
Remember knowing what you were capable of and being hobbled by a supervisor in fear??
Remember finding out that a few others made more money than you?
Remember wading waist high in the doubt created by others on the team?
Remember the PD coming back from a convention or focus group with bad ideas?
Remember the good ideas you had that weren't considered?
Remember breaking the rules and how it felt when you were wrong? Right? And then, caught?
Remember being typecast?
Remember reading and re-reading stale liners; worse: cut-and-paste copies from the last regime?
Remember how you felt when you learned your boss had to taught the names of the Beatles?
Remember imported programming stooges who always said, "The way we did it back in (town)..."?
Remember headphone hair?
Remember when the only motivation for career furtherance was being fired?
Remember having to clean up the mess in the control room from the previous pig?
Remember the multitude of means available for feeling isolated?
Remember the lay crowd talking glowingly about the other station?
Remember constantly having to prove yourself? Especially to each newer, younger PD?
Remember working when sick?
Remember having to apologize for something you still think was funny at the time?
Remember being told that the one who hired you was fired?
Remember when the lyrics you knew so well meant different things when heart broken?
Remember when you pushed a button and nothing happened?
Remember knowing it was a bad idea and having to sell it anyway?
Remember having to cross plug another jock you didn't like?
Remember feeling inadequate?
Remember finding your headphones, used by another, broken?
Remember fighting for an absolutely essential budget?
Remember when the other station's jocks had jingles and you didn't?
Remember discovering you were cheated out of money you rightfully earned?
Remember being misused, as opposed to properly being used?
Remember cue burns?
Remember control room filth, built up like plaque from lack of regular maintenance?
Remember your plans for the future beyond Boss Radio?

Do yourself the kindness of remembering it ALL, good and bad. Helps you see the future.

There were plenty of great experiences, but you would hardly remember them if it wasn't for their counter balance, the less-than-good times.

1 comment:

lmttrrinternet said...

Does this sound familiar.

Being caught doing something I shouldn't have. I remember doing a phony helicopter report of traffic at my first radio job in Montana (like we even needed a traffic report, lol), and using phony SFX and telling people about the traffic in town (which I didn't honestly have). It was fun, but sure caught flak from the powers that be. Still, some listeners got it, and found it funny. Most of the response was positive from the listeners, but was I in trouble. I did keep my job, and wound up being the PD in another year or so. A year after that, I was off to the Golden State. Bye Montana, though it was a great place to live. Still have friends there after 30 years.

Cue burns. Ugh. You could tell when the other jocks were playing a single too much.

And how many times the head on a cart machine was misaligned and played through the stop cue and kept running, repeating over a new spot, jingle or song that was next up.

And working when sick! Reading more than 30 seconds of copy without coughing was a chore, let alone several minutes of news. Of course, spreading the germs to all the other jocks as well. It was bad when most of the station was under the weather.