“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Radio Days

Roberta has a post up regarding the changes in the broadcast industry, which got me to thinking...

See, on the "things 99% of the people don't know about me" list - I used to work in radio as a DJ. In fact, as was often the case in those days, I grew up in a "radio family." My father was an engineer (there are still spots back west where I've had the older radio guys ask me "are you any relation to Steve XXXX? based on his time in the field), and my mother worked various station odd-jobs as we moved from place to place. See - broadcasting at that time, particularly if you weren't the major personality, was a bit of a nomadic lifestyle as licenses changed hands & stations rose or fell. So I grew up in those various control and broadcast rooms she discusses, crawling and running around those racks of equipment. When some commercial needed a kid's voiceover my brother and I were among those recruited to fill such slots. So, pretty much the first 12 years or so of my life were spent around broadcasting.

Oh - and WKRP? Radio people loved it, because we all recognized the characters...

Then, when you fast-forward to my post-high school first attempt at college & brief flirtation with grown-up life, time came for me to find a job that paid more than fast food. I started with campus radio on a student's check; and very shortly had one of the other local stations approach me saying "Um, we could use a guy on the midnight shift if you're possibly interested?" So then I had the fun of several nights a week surviving on caffeine, enjoying the eclectic fun of life before corporate mandated playlists, and the eternal 2 a.m. DJ question of "Is anyone out there listening?" Semi-prank calls from friends that were just barely on the side of being able to broadcast, sixty-second rants (an early form of blogging I suppose) and all the like. I'm by no means claiming to be exceptional, but I was certainly doing alright for a kid with no degree or formal training.

In what I think was the right choice though, I was able to look at my options. Having grown up around radio, I knew where I'd be in twenty years - still doing more or less the same thing. Sure, I might be at a bigger market, or maybe program director somewhere - but I was by no means going to be one of those huge-contract radio personalities. I didn't have the talent or the personality which would cross me over from being "good" to "financial draw." At the time I reached this semi-epiphany I was working as a DJ, plus working in television production, and made the decision to leave both for the military career I'd often considered.

Fast-forward twenty-some years and here we are.

I certainly think I made the right decision and am more than happy with it. But it is fun at times to read about stuff from Roberta or others, and think about those days back in a dark control booth, turning the volume up on the mic as I fade in for another intro...

"And, since it's the week before finals, here's your midnight album - side one of Pink Floyd's The Wall, while I study for tomorrow. Free tickets to the concert for the first person who provides the answers to Professor Smith's Algebra I test..."

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