Howdy. I mulled over so many different titles for this blog. It was tough, because this is one of those “personal” posts, revolving around the events in my personal life. Specifically, about the recent decision (not mine) to end the eight-year run of the TNT Morning Show on 98.9 the Bear, Ft. Wayne’s legendary rock station. I thought of the words used by Rob Roy’s wife: “Whatever cannot be helped must be endured.” I thought of T.S. Eliot: “This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper.” But those both have such a depressing finality to them. Instead, I chose something that better reflects my attitude. The title I settled on was used by Brigadier General Teddy Roosevelt, Jr. (Yes…President Teddy Roosevelt was so bad-ass that his seed was strong enough to kick a hole in the Nazi fortress of Europe) who, upon finding that Allied plans had gone amok during the chaotic D-Day landings decided to tell his troops that, fuck it all…”We’ll start the war from right here.” And that’s what I have decided to do, in a metaphoric sense. Things didn’t work out the way I’d planned. Doesn’t matter. I have a job. I have a microphone. I have a voice. And goddammit, I’m not going to sit here in the sand with bullets whizzing over my head and cry like a baby. Just ain’t my style. Plus, I get to use the word “goddammit” again. That is such a bonus.
Here’s the thing. Our COO-types recently made the decision to do away with the classic rock programming on our sister station, 92.3 the Fort. Instead, that station will now carry a simulcast of news-talk powerhouse WOWO. As a result, some of their staff was let go. Others, reassigned within the company. And the syndicated Bob & Tom show was going to either be left without a station or gobbled up by a competing radio station in this market. Uh-oh.
So the decision was made. From my past experiences as a program director, I know it wasn’t an easy one. At one point, the powers that be thought better of it and shelved the idea of putting Bob & Tom on the Bear. Then they waffled.Then they re-committed. At another point, our program director took a stand saying he could not and would not be part of this decision. Cooler heads talked him “down from the ledge” and he’s still our boss, thankfully. So they broke the news to myself and my co-host, my partner, my friend, Barry Thickk (may not be his real last name.) And it was like being hit in the gut.
But there is and was a silver lining. I was told that I could either take a generous severance package, probably much like the one given to my long-time compatriot and class-act Drew Cage, or stay on and do the custom-created 1p-4p time slot on the Bear. Let me be absolutely clear about this: this radio station thought enough of me to carve out an on-air shift where one had not existed before. They could have easily cut their ties with me, said “good game” and shown me the door. It’s happened before. It will happen again. That’s radio, baby.
Now, I’m also not stupid. I know that this company likes to hedge their bets. If, by some chance, Bob & Tom don’t “work” on the Bear, the bigwigs want a safety net. They want me and Barry around, just in case. For the record, I think B&T will be a huge asset to this radio station. Yep. I said it. Imagine most (let’s say 75%) of their audience following them to the Bear. Then add, say 50% of the TNT Show audience (it will likely be much more than that.) On a huge 50,000 watt signal. And followed by the amazing Jenna, myself, John the Mexican (the most talented jock in the midwest. No hyperbole. He makes me laugh. Hard.) and then wrapping up with the night-time horniness of Barry Thickk (okay, NOT his real last name.) well…that’s the recipe for an unprecidented powerhouse rock station the likes of which hasn’t been heard for decades.
So now the war starts in earnest. I haven’t done a solo radio show in over eight years. So now I bang the rust off my blades and put on the gear. So now I go out for a regular shift. So now I’m on the checking line. No matter. I’m going to throw my weight around, shut down the other team’s scorers, and God willing put the puck in the net a few times myself.
Next summer I will have been doing professional radio for twenty years. Eight of those years were as co-host of the TNT Morning Show. Had I not landed the TNT gig in January of 2004, there’s a good chance I would have been out of radio altogether. It had become tiresome and political. Too many consultants, too many budget cuts. Doing morning radio again gave me new life. I was able to just enjoy the whole awesomeness of it all. On a bad day, I flipped on a mic and told jokes while listening to rock music. That, my friends, is a good gig.
But now, with my mornings free for the first time in almost a decade, I intend to branch out. More writing. And I mean REAL writing. Maybe I’ll try working on a stand-up routine. I know for a FACT that I’ll catch up on my masturbation. (Making the bald man cry whilst Barry peers over the console divider is not as easy as you’d think.)
So, in closing, I’ll simply say thanks. Thanks to everyone who listened, everyone who offered support and encouragement, and certainly to my loving wife and family. As Stan “The Man” Lee would say…Excelsior!