Sunday, September 25, 2005

September 25, 2005
A very nice relaxing day at home. Went for two bike rides with the dogs, cleaned up in studio, made a pot of pinto beans. Kathy made a turkey for dinner.

At two I drove down into the Beast. Had a one-hour-radio interview on my old station KXAM, 1310 AM. As I drove down (it’s about a 45 minute drive) I turned on the station to get a feel for what they are doing these days. They are known locally as the station where you buy time. In fact David K. and I did a barter show (we did the show for free, but sold our own commercials). Our tenure ran from February 3, 1998 to September 10, 1999 (420 shows). Then I did a second version of the show for about two more years. I wondered if things had changed.

On first listen, it appeared nothing had changed, but that turned out to be deceiving. Three guys were doing “PC Chat,” a computer, techno show and I couldn’t help noticing all of the things they were doing wrong. For one thing they all talked on top of each other, no one had any clear role as the moderator (straight-man), or anchor, and they were all trying to be funny and I use the term “funny” in the weakest possible meaning, in fact to be quite honest, it was bordering on “all lame, all the time.” In spite of this they had some decent content. There’s a new digital camera coming out from Sony that has the capabilities of 10 mega-pixals (sp?). Wow! That’s cool. I wanted to hear more about that, but they continued the everybody-talk-at-once routine until they had beaten that to death, then it was off to another topic which they quickly beat to death as well.

As is my experience (a decade in the biz) I predicted the drill: my host, Tom Campbell (who does the show after the PC Boys) would meet me in the lobby and we would walk up to the studio and as we came in, we would meet the PC Chat boys wrapping up their headphones and leaving and I knew I would have to say something lame like, “Hey, heard your show on the way in, good stuff.” But I decided I needed to be honest and size up the situation when I got there and if the circumstances were right, and one of them seemed receptive I needed to take that person aside and give him some solid advice about how to improve their show. Or not. I knew they would most likely perceive me as a “Dad”, or worse, so I made a vow to keep my mouth shut unless they seemed interested in hearing a constructive critique of their “show” (Hey, it could happen!).

As it turns out, Tom Campbell met me in the lobby just like I pictured he would and he introduced me to his engineer Sam and we went up the elevator together and made small talk. But much to my surprise we walked into an empty studio (with the PC Boys chatting incessantly coming in over the speakers). When I asked where the PC Boys were, perhaps in a newly built studio? Sam looked at me like an old man and said, “doing the show here is so 1999, most everybody MP3s the show at home and sends it in.” So much for a show critique with the young Turks. When we used to say “you could have phoned that show in,” we had no idea it would someday be the norm.

The interview was in the same studio I spent many a morning in with Gordon Smith, Heather the Weather Girl and Buffalo Rick (1999-2002). The interview went fine and Tom gave me several plugs for the artshow and premiere of the Blaze Away! book. Tom has a business called E-snipe that allows you to super-bid on eBay.

I got home at five and Kathy and I had turkey and beans and a nice glass of Sheraz. I think I’ll take the dogs for one more bike ride before it gets dark.

“I've been enjoying your gurgles of pleasure at first sight of your new book -- wonderful feeling, ain't it? Perhaps at some point down the line Tom will say to you, as my son once said to me, keep this up and you may be able to make a career out of it.”
—Fred Nolan, British author and Billy the Kid expert

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