I recently celebrated twenty years as the Thurs morning guy on NJ's WDVR FM. WDVR's a public radio station and the amount of freedom the djs are given is insane. I remember as the Star Spangled banner was playing to open up my first morning on air, I had this overwhelming urge to run....run like the wind..and don't look back. I didn't. Run, that is. Showtime for me is 6am. My first morning I wanted to get there around 5. I've since cured myself of that silly habit. That first day I had my entire show arranged in order in a "cat caddy", for lack of a better name. You know, those cardboard carry alls where the top closes and forms two handles. I had albums, cds, cassettes and bits of info arranged in order of their appearance. I was prepped, man.
So it was about 4:30 AM as I stood on the top step of my second floor apartment preparing to step into this adventure. I took a deep breath, reached down, picked up my box o' entertainment and before I could say," Look out world....", felt the sickening departure of handles from box. There I stood with cardboard handles in my hand as my first radio show tumbled down into the darkness; Beatles careening over Little Feat, over Stones, over Johnny Cash as tape mixed with viny mixed with plastic in a cacophony (I think this word actually fits here) of bouncing, cracking and ripping sounds mixed with the cries of young children abruptly awakened from a sound, peaceful sleep on the other side of the wall. Seemed like it went on forever as I stood there clutching handles to nowhere and watched my three hour show spread out down the stairs coming to rest in a heap by the door. The box was pretty well unrecognizable. The baseball cliche of "stunned disbelief" came to mind. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry and probably did both as I scooped everything up and threw it in the back seat of my car. Some squashed in the remnants of the "kitty caddy" and and some remaining, as I found out later, in the bushes. Ah....show biz.
In the following years I've taken to showing up about ten minutes before showtime, grabbing some music from my crate, which remains at the station, or a few select tunes from the library and let this dictate the path of the show. Somehow, it seems, the universe goes to work and a path is discovered. "Seat of the pants" is kind of the way I go through life. So far, so good. I have an unsettling feeling it could get a little treacherous towards the end. But something's been guiding me all the way through. Giving me just what I need. No more...no less. So I hope it/they stick around for the fun part. Weird. What's gotten me going down this road today? (Don't you hate when people ask, then answer, their own questions?)
Well, after twenty years I'm considering giving up my radio show. I really can't say why except it's starting to feel like time. I've had this feeling before and something's always happened to make me want to stick around. This time, I don't know. I'm sure the door would remain open to come back at some point but I wonder how it would really feel. I've gotten a lot of gigs, met a lot of artists, made a lot of new friends, reconnected with a lot of old friends, learned about different kinds if music, told a lot of stories....some true, and apparently impacted folks at different times in different ways. That's a lot of good feelings. Karma? I rarely miss a show, stay pretty true to what I want to do while I'm there and honor as many requests as I can. I've brought in seven or eight grants over the years, done some radio related band gigs gratis and been involved in fundraising events. Not nearly as much as a lot of other folks, but given life's time constraints, my conscience is clear.
Thanks for listening to me talk to myself. As always....very therapeutic. And that big sigh just escaped my lips. You know, the one that lets you know you've hit on an indisputable truth, like it or not. Dang, where's my magic eight ball when I need it? Peace.