I have been meaning to get a lot of writing done and posted on WordPress for nearly a year now, but as some of you know, a lot of information pours through this virtual sieve and some of it eventually lands in places like my radio show, or among colleagues, or friends and associates. I’ve worn letters off the keyboard and this Dell has been with me just a bit shy of three years.
‘worklifeimaging’ – all in lower case – became a New Hampshire-based LLC in 2012, shortly before I had a bunch of surgeries to my left eye which pretty much kept me focused on my feet by doctor’s orders and keyboard not far from them. Since that time there has been a lot of movement to make a go of this as a profitable venture, but like so many of us, the medical things, planned and unplanned moves, taking care of matters that end up in ‘hot files’ far too much, and very difficult economic conditions have afforded me a consistent income going into year three of ‘zero’ dollars.
I’ve written business plans for myself and others, 20 in all since the 90s. Business rules give a typical three-year lifespan to see if your idea or effort is worthy of continuing. Years ago, I learned to have a ‘disaster plan’ in place to significantly shrink or close altogether any venture not producing. This one has been by far exceeding all negative expectations, except for one: Name recognition.
In all honesty my plan was to have exited these shores for Australia. Got there in 2012, loved every moment, miss it terribly, and might eventually get there…oh, FYI, you need $300K minimum in the bank to even attempt migration there. Erase a bunch of zeros from that amount and that’s about where the accounts stand these days.
So here I am, with a bunch of others, attempting to push forward despite things which always want to push back harder. One person against a world of insanity. But, I’m used to it. Aiming the greatest of weapons against it, the most effective has been HUMOR. (As a praying man I can’t discount that as effective, either.) That is also why this business is in another morphing stage; with each counter-attack a new strategy emerges to be creative with a purpose.
Nearly eight years behind the WINY Radio microphone has allowed close to 40 years of ‘media cred’ a chance to do the near-impossible: give listeners near and far a 5 hour heaping earful of music and personality that is timelessly good, the way it was done when I was a youngster. The 60s and 70s were unlike any time for contemporary music radio, and with names like Dick Orkin, Bert Berdis, Dick Clark, Soupy Sales, Dave Grayson, Chuck Smith, Bob Bamberg, Charlie Jefferds, Wolfman Jack, Don Imus, Salty Brine (who got me started in radio), King Arthur Knight, Dan Ingram, Cousin Bruce Morrow, Jess Cain, Mike Sands, ‘my buddy’ Tom Cuddy, ‘my other buddy’ Mark Ambrose, Frank Titus, Jeff Falewicz, Sherm Stickhauser, Bob Hollands, Todd Chase, Harley Karns, Paul Harvey, and if I keep going this will read like a great wall of broadcasters…Radio ‘lived’. It was personality to the max, some LOL funny, some rock solid performers and newscasters who caused me to cling to every word. People then had weight – meaning – purpose. Today’s radio has lost the ‘warm fuzzy’ that made listening real; heck, most of the stuff is canned and playing from some hold-out in Denver or outpost in Minneapolis or Washington DC or Los Angeles. However, I carry the tone and temper of these great names with me on that spot on the dial at 1350AM in Putnam, Connecticut, with joy and as much mirth as five hours can hold.
Yepper, I’m a Southern New England jock. Well, I’ve also run facilities (some single-handedly) and done news, talk, billing, office work, sales. And yes, admittedly, it’s hard to walk away from what I do and tune in anywhere because what exists around me is a mere illusion of what Radio’s strength was: Local. Relevant. Connected. Gary Osbrey, owner of WINY, gets that – and it is what keeps me plugged in to this shadow of a business.
I’m also a retired musician; played the trumpet, tinkered with bassoon and baritone sax, still can play a mean set of bongos, have written music for churches, and music still drives me. A musician’s touch on any given show brings out a quality most DJs don’t have – the ability to select, mix, bring out a feeling, direction and a theme to which people can relate. As a Broadcaster I’m more a wordsmith and artist than button-pusher. As an interviewer I’m more interested in who people are rather than what they do. We all DO something, but who ARE we? The essence of people tells far more than the labels they wear. That essence is the real story. Observing Dick Cavett, Merv Griffin and Lloyd Thaxton taught me that early in life.
You know what the greatest thrill is in being a Media person? Glamor? Fame? Ratings? Well, let’s see…glamor…I have a beard that is beginning to rival ZZTop length, and that’s glamorous to some…but…how about fame and ratings…I’ve managed to hit the heights in ratings then and now from what I’ve been told and that’s nice but the benefits of such – like with so many in the business – only came to those who could run their own gig with deep pockets.
Here’s a revelation: NONE of these things did it for me. Building connections, relationships and conversation – that is my gig. Funny, it’s also been the key to success, outwardly. Radio’s very concept was (and should be) to connect information, entertainment and conversation to the masses. I’ve taken that to other business realms as well, and could write the book (like we need another know-it-all doing that again!) on how to win friends and influence people. My career, my vocation and avocation are linked in service, and the old Radio motto ‘to serve the public interest, convenience and necessity’ still is the best guide for personal survival and public service. Thank you Federal Communications Act of 1934!
OK, that’s a good place for a period.
So, what else will I bring to this virtual table?
Stories of people I interview, and there are some which absolutely need telling. Thoughts about where we are, where we’re going, and how much I want to take the reigns and say WHOA, STOP. Beard musings, musical musings, insights and analysis into issues complex and simple that never, ever, no not EVER get fixed. Your rants and raves. Our hopes and needs.
The greatest force in the universe is the power to connect. So, in this space, let’s do that. A lot. Often. Who knows where it will take us, what it will effect. We get no effect if we don’t connect. Now there’s a slogan to add to the thousands I’ve muttered over 40 years.
Another period is coming…the one where I stop babbling and let you get back to your regularly scheduled life…and if you do have the courtesy of conversation in you, converse here – please – with dignity and respect.
The Bearded Wordsmith rests…for now.