Friday, February 19, 2010

Renegade Radio

Well, for a Thursday, I had a pretty full one. After a day at the salt mines (jk, I love my job), I had a meeting with a good Realtor who was referred to my by Will, the owner (I think) of Terry's car Care.  I was in there whining to him (while picking up my car from having the snow tires put back on) about how I love living in a condo, with no grass to mow, or snow to shovel, etc..., but that I hate not having a garage. Not a garage to park my car, I've got that, a nice underground, heated, and pretty secure one at that. What I meant, was a workshop type of garage.  This winter, is actually the first one in four years in which I'm not doing a major motorcycle project in borrowed space (Thanks Harpo, Thanks Dumpling). I'd really like to have some shop space of my own, that I can afford, to do those kind of things.  Over the last few years I've actually contacted realtors and explained my situation. I asked them to look for detached, heated garages or old small commercial buildings that I might be able to rent, or even buy.  Of course, back when I first started doing that, the housing market was booming and I couldn't get anyone to give me the time of day, much less exert real effort to help to find, for me, what I'm looking for. Plus, it's kind of a pipe dream anyway, so I let the idea lay dormant.  But after crying on Will's shoulder about my troubles, he told me that his realtor mentioned that the old Scooter Therapy building  (Ingersol and East Washington) was up for sale, and it may be what I'm looking for.  I asked him to have his guy give me a call, which they did. I got a call, and a email, from Ben on the same day.

Right after work, yesterday, I met with Ben and Joe (the property owner) to check out the property. It's a pretty cool old building, very plain, and probably a bit too much space for me, not to mention the roof is in need of repair. The building is simply walls and a roof on a slab. Probably about 90'x40'. It's obviously been enlarged at some point, doubling the size.  The front half of it must date back to the '20s or '30s, while the back part could have been added on in the '60s or '70s.  I think I'll pass on this one, but I wouldn't be surprised if I regret it years from now.  If had had lots of money, I would probably buy it. 

The fact that I met a realtor who seems to 'get' what I'm looking for makes me consider the meeting a success. He actually seems interested in finding me a place, and I can rest easy knowing that in the back of his head, he's on the lookout for the kind of quirky old shop type thing I'm looking for. I trust him.

After talking with, Joe, the building owner, about some club brothers of mine, that he knows, I zipped over to the other side of the Capitol, and into my neighborhood to drop off the car, and walk over to WORT ( I live very closeto it) to act as a substitute for a fellow engineer. I'd agreed to sub for the news block that day (5pm to 7pm) because his son, who is apparently the only base player in his 8th grade class, was performing somewhere.  I'm already scheduled to engineer on every Thursday from 7pm to 8pm, for either PNM or Health Writers (they alternate every week) or Radio Literature, anyway; so it didn't really keep me from doing anything (except watching the dummy box), it just made the day more full. 

I got there just moments after 5pm, when the hour long BBC news starts. I told them I would probably be late because of my meeting, so someone else had gotten that show started. There's really nothing to do during that hour, which is one of the things I like about it. I actually get to sit back and listen to the BBC news. Listening to it reminds me of some of my travels abroad, when, sometimes, the BBC was the only thing broadcast in a language I could understand. The BBC is followed by Free Speech Radio News (FSRN) that plays from 6pm to 6:30. It's not my kind of show, but 'mine is not to question why....' .  Next is the locally produced news show called In Our Backyard (IOBY).  This is my favorite show to engineer for. It's real radio news, with live reporters, in studio interviews, telephone interviews, audio clips to play, music to manage, etc... It's exactly what I imagined engineering would be like, the first time I thought about volunteering at WORT.  Yesterday was especially fun, because I was subbing for the normal Thursday engineer. You see, each weekday has it's own team, led by that day's producer. Each day has a distinctly different "feel" to it.  My normal day, Tuesday, is produced by Stacy Robinson (formerly produced by Molly, before she became the News facilitator).  The continually changing crew of journalists and myself, on Tuesdays has a very professional feel to it.  There is always a "post mortum' after each show to discuss how it went...what's coming up for the following week...etc..  Also, for some reason, Tuesday seems to be loaded with women. Attractive, smart, and funny, and interesting women.  I'm a gentleman, so there won't be any problems from me, but it is not unnoticed at all.  On Tuesday I almost always have a completed script in my hand (or on the computer) at least a few minutes before the start of the show. Things are done nicely .  Now Thursdays' IOBY has a completely different vibe.  I think of if as 'Surfer Thursdays'.  The content of the show is top notch, but the production of it is definitely seat of the pants, and casual. I usually get to witness the ending of the show because at that time, I'm on deck to engineer the following hour of radio, so I kind of know how they do things:  No script for the engineer; good communication between the hosts and the booth; and a very relaxed and chilled out atmosphere. I remember on one of my first visits to the station, I watched the normal Thursday engineer (who is like 16 or 17 years old) and was amazed at how well he did the job, seemingly as an afterthought. That kid is going places.

One days show is not better or worse than any other, just different, which is awesome.  I've also engineered on Mondays, which is a whole different thing again. Again, great content, but I think the word that describes it best (for me) is frazzled. However the producer on Mondays, JoAnne Powers, really knows her stuff, and is plugged into Madison.  The other days of the week are, for now, a mystery to me, but I have no doubt that they are just as unique and specaial as the others. 

So, after chillaxing through IOBY, at 7pm,  I stepped back into my own shoes to engineer for the Perpetual Notion (with a "N") Machine. The show that got my foot in the door (other than being a phone answerer during a pledge drive) at WORT. That's a whole different story (which I think I talked about in a previous post).  PNM was pretty straight forward and mostly pre-recorded, with a short intro from the host at the begining, and a short transition to a news segment.  I played the audio clip of the shuttle launch for the crew in the studio, while the pre-recorded piece was playing. I can't get enough of sharing that, I think most people are humoring my when they listen. I can't always tell.

At 7:30 pm, after finishing with PNM (the next airing, BTW,  on March 4 2010 will produced by ME) I was surprised to see that the folks from the Radio Literature show weren't milling about, ready to do their show, like they usually are.  Even with live guests, they often choose to do their show from the studio I am in (Combo B), instead of the middle studio  (Middle studio), where shows that don't engineer for themself (talk) are usually done from. I like it like that with Radio Lit. It makes it fun to listen to the various authors or performers that  they interview, without looking though the glass into the Middle studio.  Occasionally, they have a pre-recorded show for me to play.  In the past when that was the case, someone had always (until now) e-mailed me, to let me know where, on the vast tangle of networked computers at the station, the audio file for the show is located. Or, occasionally, where the cassette tape with the show recoreded onto it, is stashed away.  This time, I assumed they were going to be doing a live show, as I hadn't caught wind of any hint that anything else would take place. I was wrong. It turns out there was a pre recorded show, and that it was stored in a pretty conspicuous location that I should have easily found. I'm sure it was my subconscious that helped me to not see it when, in the few moments before the show was supposed to start, I looked for a obvious file to play after I realized there was no one to do the show live. So, instead of playing their show......

I went renegade.  Instead of playing one of the emergency shows that I know exist, and where they are, I just turned on the mike, did a station ID, and kept talking.  Here's an edited ( for brevity) version of what I did and said on the air. Listen to it, I think it's awesome. Who ever gets a chance to do that. If you want to listen to the whole show (and you should), please go to WORT's    archive page and look for the "Radio Literature" show for Thursday Feb 18th in the grid. Then you can choose to either download it to listen to using your favorite player, or you can choose to listen on line (which I can never get to work).

While on the WORT website, don't forget to bookmark the page and if you like anything you see or hear, why not make a donation.  You can do it right on line. OR, you can wait for the episode of  PNM  (to be) produced by yours truly, that will have something to do with the launch, and my journey to wittiness it, of Space shuttle Endeavour last week.  Why wait to donate?  Because that show, on March 4 @ 7:00pm Central time, will be on the air during WORT's Winter Pledge drive.  This station is a genuine community radio station, and has real bills to pay.  Also there is genuine desire to "prove" the value of each individual show, by using on of the only tangible measuring stick available.....donations received during a pledge drive.  Of course that's more true of the music shows, but I'm sure it's monitored for the news shows also.  It seems kind of 'bad' but rest assured, quality news programming, unmolested by monetary concerns, comes first, but the station would be nuts to ignore it.  Trust me WORT needs your $$$. The fridge just died, the recent (wonderful) upgrades to the news room, in the basement, still need to be paid for (I think), and it's very easy to take for granted, the cost of the satellite feed of BBC etc..etc.. etc.. You get the idea. Please donate!

Finally, I want to give my sincere apologies to Rusty Russell, who's finely produced show I stole a few minutes of; his guest  Pilar Melero, who's reading of her piece "The Harp and the Bees" from her book, is worth listening to; and also I s'pose I need to apologize to Molly Stenz, WORT's news facilitator, who I think was genuinely perturbed with me, although I hope this 'mea-culpa' helps her to get over it.   Sorry Molly :)  I will say, again, that I really didn't think there was a pre recorded show for that day, even if it was my subconscious that made me not see it. I would  never do that.  However, opening the mike and talking myself, instead of playing a re-run, emergency, show just to fill the time slot, is a whole different ethical situation. One in which I don't feel too badly about going renegade.

Listen to my Renegade Radio broadcast


At February 19, 2010 at 3:33 PM , Anonymous dragonlms said...

You're such a calm and collected "renegade." No hemming and hawing, just going on the fly. Perhaps this could become a new segmant at WORT. Renegade Radio.


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be nice.

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