Q & A, Part Two

**Cracks knuckles.  Sips Scotch.  Exhales.  Turns to keyboard.**

Here…we…GO!

Into part two.  Moar questions answered!  (And thanks for liking my Facebook page.  Seriously, it means a lot.  If you haven’t yet, feel free to visit it on the right-hand margin over there. I’ll wait.               Got it?  Good!)

Leslie asks “Is you mother still writing?”

Leslie and I are old theater cohorts, and she’s asking, literally, about my mom’s writing career.  Many people don’t know that my mother used to write romance novels.  She started out at Harlequin Romance, doing those monthly soft-core romances that you mom likes.  She dabbled with other publishers, and actually had a few books out with her name above the title.  In other words, her books said “LYNN TURNER” and then “NAME OF STORY” underneath.  And yes, Lynn Turner was a pen-name.  She took my middle name (yeah, so?  Lynn is just as masculine as…as…like, Dale or something) and first name, transposed them, and BAZINGA!  Fun fact:  later on, as the internet became “a thing” mom would do Alta Vista searches (remember AltaVista?  It was the Google of the mid-90’s) for “Lynn Turner” and found out that…SURPRISE!  Lynn Turner was a 90’s porn star.  Anyway, sadly, it’s been a  while since mom published anything.  She contributed a few items to anthologies and such for old editor friends, but nothing of late.  Perhaps she should start blogging…giving tips to aspiring writers and such.  Hint-hint, mom.  (Then again, she could be my editor, as I just finished a damned manuscript and have no self-control…)

This is actually still available for your NOOK reader!!

This is actually still available for your NOOK reader!!

A very special query from my dear friend Joe:  “Why do you do this on a weekly basis after our hockey games … Stand like Captain Morgan while holding a beer wearing ONLY your birthday suit or if I’m lucky you’ll throw on a shirt, but that’s it ?!?! I’ve seen your hog more than I’ve seen my own. Welp, see ya later.”

For those of  you that don’t know, Joe is one of my very best and dearest friends ever.  And I’m 43 years old, so that’s saying something.  Anyway, Joe is also the drummer in the band RAINS and my linemate on our beer-league hockey team.  Next to Smallville’s Michael Rosenbaum, he’s the most famous guy I’ve ever shared the ice with.  But his distress comes from the fact that, yes, I often throw my “hog” out for display.  See, my “hog” has gotten me attention in the past (due to its shimmering, glistening beauty…and a purplish vein on the side that spells out ‘radiant’ in cursive and OH GOD, STOP TYPING!!)  Anyhoo…ol’ Joe’s penis has been known to cure blindness and make the crippled walk.  It also, ironically, has crippled non-believers who won’t accept that it is the ultimate power in the universe and STOP TYPING!!  NOW!! THAT IS AN ORDER!)

Rather than post a picture of my "hog" I decided to remind you that 'Back in the Day' is available right now on iTunes.  Ahem.

Rather than post a picture of my “hog” I decided to remind you that ‘Back in the Day’ is available right now on iTunes. Ahem.

Daniel (or, as we call him in da Fort ‘Porch’) has a good ‘un:  “Why are you a closet case for your love of Batman over Spider-man.. or.. what attracts you to Spider-man and when did you first feel that chub?”

I intend to do an entire blog about Spidey, who is the super-hero with whom I most identify.  He really does deserve his own blog, so deep are my affections for ol’ Web-Head.  But my Batman love isn’t closeted in any way.  I love Batsy. In fact, Batman and Ambush Bug are my all-time favorite DC Comics characters.  And if you don’t know who Ambush Bug is, please do yourself a favor and run (RUN, I SAID!! MOVE YOUR GODDAM FEET!) to your nearest (local) comic book store and inquire.  They’ll steer you right.

Ambush Bug: the ORIGINAL Deadpool.

Ambush Bug: the ORIGINAL Deadpool.

Time for one more?  Okay.  One more.

Finally, this question from Jess:  “How do you balance family/real life with the bear?”

She’s referring, of course, to my primary job, which is hosting the midday show on 98.9 the Bear in Ft. Wayne (but with online listenership spanning the literal globe!  Wae’aye, Newcastle!)  The thing is, the radio side of my life is part of my “normal” life and vise-versa.  See, nowadays radio guys are just like audio bloggers.  We use our lives as show-prep.  By that, I mean that what happens to us away from the radio station informs upon the show itself.  Follow?  John the Mexican talks about his new house during his show, Barry Thickk talks up his latest blowjob adventure (SPOILER: it was with a LADY!)  Hell, I just had my kids in to do a show with me AGAIN.  This, because I am sick and tired of trying to find childcare during this hellish winter that we’re having in the midwest. The point is that if you have a family, and you’re going to do radio, well…they’d better just get used to the idea.  This isn’t TV or movies.  You don’t get to shoot the scenes and go home.  You work at it, constantly.  24 hours a day.  Your life is show-prep, and radio is your life. That’s just how it is.  Concerts, remotes, appearances, guest-judging wet t-shirt contests…it’s all part of your life, and the other way around.  It’s why radio is so trying, demanding, and exhausting.  It’s also why it’s so blissful.  If you’re gonna stay in this biz…and I’ve been doing it for over twenty years…you learn that there’s no other way.  Radio = your life.  And the other way around.

Of course, sometimes your life demands that you hang with Corey Taylor.

Of course, sometimes your life demands that you hang with Corey Taylor.

How Not to Radio

Oh, brother.  Let me start by telling you that I’m not here to tell you how to radio.  I’m here to tell you what NOT to do.

My whole reason for writing this is that I hear a lot of terribly executed radio here in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  Not to say that I don’t hear some really amazing stuff, too; quite the contrary.  As a general rule, this and other smallish radio markets have some of the most gifted jocks with the best, most appealing personalities and on-air presence that I’ve ever heard.  And I listen to radio from all over this great world thanks to online streaming and the multitude of smartphone apps.  The problem is that with all these great folks in one market, there are bound to be an equal amount of complete imbeciles.

One final note for those not blessed/cursed with a job in the radio industry:  when I say “market” I refer to an arbitrary area that the ratings companies stake out for their measuring purposes.  Sometimes it’s a town. Chicago, for example.  Sometimes it’s a large geographical area, like the one I worked at in North Carolina.  That market was known by the Arbitron people (radio’s version of the Nielsen ratings) as Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville.  If you’ve ever been east of I-95 in NC, you know how far apart these communities are.  The “market” is HUGE.  Consider this:  anyone who has been to school at Eastern Carolina University (the Pirates!) or been stationed at Camp Lejeune (or MCAS New River or MCAS Cherry Point) has lived in this market.  That’s a very disparate group, which makes it very difficult to program a radio station in a way that will make EVERYONE happy.  Just some background.  Let’s go.

Pictured:  Greenville, NC.  Or Cancun.  Dammit, Google...

Pictured: Greenville, NC. Or Cancun. Dammit, Google…

You Are Not Famous.

You’re barely recognizable. Maybe.  A great friend of mine who has dabbled in roller derby and burlesque and mastered the art of being all-around incredible coined the phrase “Fort Wayne Famous.”  The idea was that someone might have an elevated profile in their smallish radio or TV market, but outside of said market?  Nobody gives a shit.  I think it’s a perfect phrase to use for ANYONE, regardless of what town they are in, who perhaps thinks they have risen higher than their peers.  Oh, you play arena football in Billings, Montana?  Good for you!  If you walk around Billings acting like King Shit, despite the fact that nobody outside of Billings has even heard of you, then you, my friend, are Fort Wayne Famous.

Perhaps you’ve done some TV stuff or you do voice-overs for some commercials and you have a very distinctive voice.  In that case, the person serving you at the local hot-dog stand (I do so love a good hot-dog stand) might ask “Hey, aren’t you that person whose voice is somewhat familiar?”  If so, good for you.  Hope and pray that they write your name down in their Arbitron diary.  But know that this person isn’t going to give a rat’s ass who you are within twenty seconds of you asking if they have relish or extra napkins.  They have lives, and you’re just not that important.  They might recall meeting you if they catch your radio show, in which case you’d better pray that you followed my next suggestion.

I take back everything I wrote in the previous paragraph, apparently.

I take back everything I wrote in the previous paragraph, apparently.

Don’t Be A Dick.

I mean this specifically in the real-life situation scenario.  It’s widely known that there are air-personalities have adopted a dickish on-air persona.  Not to say that they aren’t really dicks in real life…they just amp it up for “the show.”  Even then, real, professional assholes know how to tone it down in public.  I’ve heard multiple times that Bill O’Reilly is a generous, polite, kind person in real life.  Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t.  The point is that he acts like a gentleman.  You don’t want that pimply-faced cashier riding around town with his buddies when your voice pops up on the radio and he turns to his bros and says “Oh, I met this dude.  Came into the store last week.  Dude was a total dick.”  In other words, it’s unlikely that anyone will give two shits about meeting you, at least not enough to gush about it to their friends…

Unless you screw the pooch and show your proverbial ass.  People are more likely to pass on negative impressions than good ones.  Just human nature.  Check your Facebook timeline if you don’t believe me.

Okay, this person gets a pass.

Okay, this person gets a pass.

Don’t Make Stuff Up.

Oh, my GOD this is one of my biggest pet peeves.  And there are sooooo many jocks that are guilty of it, at every level of radio.  I’m talking about fabrication.  Being less than genuine.

Lying.

Stealing.

Here’s an example: a once-successful (and syndicated) radio host whose name rhymes with “Dancow” was taking a bunch of jokes that he got from an online prep service and passing them off as his own on Twitter.  Now, lots of jocks get material from prep services.  They do.  No biggie.  The good, creative, talented jocks make those jokes their own.  They change the punchline up so it reflects their market or the other personalities on the radio station.  Worst case, they’ve just passed off someone else’s joke as their own.  Again, we’ve all done that on some level.  Not too terrible.   But the usual jock with a couple hundred or a thousand Twitter followers can get away with that.  When you are nationally syndicated and/or have listeners in other markets and such, stealing jokes is a bad idea.  See, when the average listener sees you Tweeting a joke that they heard six hours ago on another media outlet, they’re going to assume you stole it.  It’s just stupid and it’s lazy and I hate it.

This goes much further, though.  You hear this one all the time, and it makes me so mad.  It’s the “we got an email from a listener who wants our advice” bit.  Good God, no.  Please no.  Not this again.  See, when I referred to Jancow earlier, I used the example of prep-service jokes.  A prep service is a website or email or whatever that provides radio hosts with a daily assembly of useful stats, facts, news stories, sports scores, sound bytes, and so on.  When used correctly and with discipline, they can be very helpful.  But they also offer pre-recorded funny bits and written “conversation starters.”  Sometimes these appear in the form of fake emails.  These faux-emails are chock-full of controversy, and so contrived that anyone who knows what to listen for can spot them immediately. “I think my girlfriend is cheating on me, and now she won’t ever let me see her phone and she changed her Facebook password.  Am I being paranoid?”  Groooooaaaaaannn. Or  “My boyfriend wanted to have a three-way with me and another chick, but now I want to have one with him and another dude and he’s all like ‘No way!’ and I don’t think that’s fair!”  Look, I’m not saying that these sort of emails don’t ever end up in the radio show inbox, but COME ON. (Also, who really uses email anymore?) If the show you listen to does these sort of stories with regularity, you know they are lazy.  When you hear the SAME EXACT EMAIL on another station (especially in the same market) you know it for a fact.  I’ve witnessed this, and felt myself cringe.  If you don’t have something juicy from your real-life experiences, then for Marconi’s sake, DON’T FAKE IT.  The average radio listener is very savvy and has a delicately-tuned bullshit sensor.  You may fool them once, maybe even twice…but when they figure out that you’re nothing but a phony, they’ll turn on you.  Fast.  And you’ll deserve every bit of the hell you’ll get on social media.  Speaking of social media, I know it’s hard to live by this rule whilst sharing memes and such on your Facebook or Twitter.  I get it.  But it’s not a bad idea to sometimes give credit, like “I found this on Reddit” or somesuch.  It just helps people trust you.  And that’s a good thing.  You want that.  You don’t want to be exposed as a plagiarist or thief.

The most obvious recent example.

The most obvious recent example.

So, to recap:  Unless your name is Howard Stern, Rick Dees, or Ryan Seacrest, you are not a famous radio person.  So be nice to people you meet (and co-workers.  Forgot to mention that.  Don’t have the people in your building whispering about what an prick you are behind your back) and be genuine.  Tell stories from your life, not someone else’s.  They’re probably better anyway.

Show Prep!

Hey, gang!  Just a quick li’l blog today to give some shout-outs to five of the most useful websites on the Interwebs.  Specifically useful for my particular line of work, which is that of radio asshole and dick-joke teller at the legendary 98.9 the Bear in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  Contrary to popular belief, a lot of what I share or refer to on the air has been gleaned from a variety of sources.  Television, video games, etc. are part of what we in the biz call “show prep.”  But son, if you gon’ be legit, you need to immerse yourself in the culture of the internet.  And it’s not just the on-air stuff anymore; nowadays anyone in ANY branch of the media has to have a Facebook and Twitter presence at the very least.  The pages I’m going to share will allow you (yes, YOU!) to steal good ideas with impunity.  See, none other than the legendary voice-over guy/announcer Don Pardo once told a friend “Amateurs borrow.  Professionals steal.”  Okay, then.  Away we go…

5) Cracked

cracked

First things first: this site would be much higher on the list if I was ranking on the basis of quality writing and depth.  This page has that and more.  Good God, there are so many well-written and hilarious pieces here that you can easily spend hours upon hours reading and, yes, learning.  It’s so goddam wonderful. Actually, Cracked is so rich it often does the OPPOSITE of helping my radio presentation. I get sucked into a wormhole of delicious facts and stories and look up and OH MY GOD!!! I’VE GOT TO GIVE AWAY TICKETS TO SEE HINDER AND SAVING ABLE!!!  FUCK!!  For sheer on-the-go show prep, it’s not as handy.  For immersing yourself for a bit and sipping a nice single-malt scotch while laughing your balls off, it’s perfect.  Fun fact: I sort-of cribbed the look and layout of this page from the Cracked model.  I have less stuff, so it appears more streamlined.  But really, I wish I had more stuff.

I know.  You’re asking “wait!  What about the Onion?!”  the Onion remains great.  It is the Daily Show of the internet.  But since I can’t very well use parody stories as actual talking points (as I am not FOX News) I had to leave it out.

4) Gorilla Mask

gorillamask

Firstly, don’t make the mistake of going to gorillamask.com…that’s not where you want to end up.  Especially at work.  gorillamask.net is where it’s at.  Unlike Cracked, there’s less original content here and fewer written articles.  But what Gorilla Mask does offer is an amazing rundown of everything…and I mean EVERYTHING interesting on the internet.  In addition to the links to sites like Cracked (and other sites on this list as well as some honorable mentions) and galleries of hot chicks, the “news feed” layout gives you links to the hottest trending crap the web has regurgitated in the last several hours.  I’ve discovered many wonderful websites just by clicking away happily.  If you’re a rock jock looking for stuff to talk about, go here first.

3) The Chive

thechive

The mighty, mighty Chive.  #KCCO. Mind the Gap. Hump Day.  DAR.  My God, how this page has shaped the way we view (and sift through) the imagery and stories of the daily digital flotsam. I’m so very proud to say that the founders of this colossus of the internet hail from Ft. Wayne, the same town in which I ply my trade.  I actually ran into one of the fellas at the airport last year as I was flying to San Jose. (I think it was John.  Or Dan.  I think there’s a Dan.  Or a Doug.  Not sure, really.)  Like an idiot, I shouted “CHIVE ON!” and like a gracious person, he smiled and waved back.

Anyway.  Where was I?  Oh, yeah.  Some will deride the Chive the same way they like to poo-poo their favorite band when that band becomes successful and has millions of downloads and is seen partying with porn stars at the Whiskey.  Yes, much of what you see in the DAR galleries and such has been featured on Reddit or somesuch already.  Hey, good for knowing that, you fucking hipster.  Good.  You’re better at going to Reddit than I am. Fuck you, I was busy having sex and drinking Negra Modelo’s at Bree Olson’s pad (she’s from Ft. Wayne, too) while she grilled up some vegetarian lunch or some shit.  Excuse me for not grasping the importance of the fact that your goddam Grumpy Cat meme post was getting upvotes a week before it made it to the Chive. (Editor’s note: I want to make it very clear that while I have been to Bree’s place and had a lovely time, at no point did we have sex. With each other, anyway.)

The Chive is a lot like America’s top 40 Countdown with Casey Kasem (not that Seacrest crap.)  If you manage to make one of the Chive’s galleries or get mentioned somehow or spotted wearing one of their Bill Murray shirts, then you’ve made it to the Top of the Internet.  Take a bow.  That’s what’s great about the Chive.  It’s the big-leagues, motherfucker.  Recognize.

2) I Heart Chaos

iheartchaos
 

Now, this site is a lot like some of the ones I’ve already mentioned.  But it’s also nothing like those sites.  Sure, they let viewers/readers submit their own links and content.  Unlike Reddit or 4Chan or whatever, IHC does tend to supervise the content so it doesn’t end up being a terrible mish-mash message-post sort of thing.  In that respect, it’s sort of Chive-like.  But whereas the Chive is a perfect example of slick, capitalist marketing and promotion, I Heart Chaos is more like a punk-rock DIY community, and frankly it feels like that to me.  The Chive is a club you join and has its own language and secret handshakes.  IHC is an actual clubhouse and there’s a little grime in the corners and mildew in the community shower.  And god damn it, I love that.  There’s also a propensity by the moderators (primarily the founder, CranberryZero along with some trusted cohorts) to delve into the Neil DeGrasse Tyson-fuelled world of popular science.  You’ll see videos from a lab in Russia that has managed to demonstrate actual photon teleportation alongside a sexy cosplay of a female Link.  There are metal music videos and movie rumors.  It’s pretty much perfect.  Like any such site, there are times when I’ve already seen the trailer for “Pacific Rim” on another page.  Fine by me.  Because I can watch it here AND check out the NSFW galleries before clicking on that speech by Carl Sagan.  I heart I Heart Chaos.

1) Reddit

reddit_logo

Mos Eisley Spaceport.  You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. All true.  However, you know what else you can find at Mos Eisley?  Huh?  Do you?  Here’s a hint:  it’s why the fuck Ben Kenobi took young Skywalker there in the first place: a ship.  More generally, a means to go anywhere.  Everywhere.  It’s the best and worst of everything.  It’s the wild west.  Precious gems and exotic spices side-by-side with runny-eyed whores who have weeping, festering sores on their lips, just down from a couple of addicts clawing in the dust in the withering Tatooine midday sun.  That, my friends, is Reddit.  Like Mos Eisley, Reddit is not the safest place for wide-eyed, innocent internet travellers.  Best watch your step, son.

But MY GOD the stuff you find on Reddit.  So. Much. Stuff.  It’s not all good.  It’s not all what you need or want.  But trust me, it’s THERE.  Important tip for first-timers:  browse the front page a bit.  Get your feet wet before you dive in.  Then, once you’re comfortable, create an account.  Seriously.  This serves two purposes. The obvious first benefit is that you can then submit and comment and downvote or upvote and all that.  But the secondary purpose of an account is to customize your Reddit experience.  Don’t want to see posts from r/wtf or r/gonewild showing up on your frontpage?  Done.  Want to keep the Star Trek subreddit front-and-center?  Okay.

Beyond that, there’s no way to adequately describe Reddit except to say that you will spend the rest of your life there.  Good luck and God speed, friend.  Now go put your show together.