Saturday, December 04, 2010

"My Ambition's Eyes Were Bigger Than Its Stomach"

Last summer (it's always hard to believe there is a summer when, as right now, the city is covered in snow, but there is, & so there may yet be), when I left WMUL, I had no idea that we'd be relocating to Lexington as quickly as we did. I left the station, as I might or might not have said, because, as far as I could tell, no one was listening to my show. Now, there's always a possibility that no one is listening to anything I do exclusively online ("podcasts") either, but at least it's not time-dependent. I would take the time, in good weather & bad, to travel to the station - often I had to visit the "department of public safety" (ie, campus cops) first, to get a key, as the station was usually locked up by four pm, broadcasting a majority of the time automated programming - & then I would spend three hours in a lonesome studio with no feedback from anyone, putting on the best damn show I could. Then, in the middle of the night, I'd lock up, return keys to the cops, & drive home with the drunks (bars closed at 3am in Huntington, so there were always a smattering of cars on the road - what radio station were they listening to?), usually feeling empty & forlorn, wondering why the hell I bothered.

By the way, I don't really know why no one listened to or seemed to respond to my show in Huntington. I don't mean to cast aspersions on the radio station itself. The Station Manager had plenty of anecdotal evidence of listeners for various shows. The management of WMUL simply didn't appear to care whether they had listeners nor did they do anything to actively increase listeners. For my part, I would completely understand if there was simply no one in Huntington who liked the sort of show I do. It was a bit unusual, however - in Austin, I did get calls from people who didn't like my show - so why not there? I did roughly fifty shows at WMUL - some of them, it's true, together in three- or four-hour blocks - in ten months there, & I got about three phone calls total from listeners who were not people associated with the station. I'm not entirely sure that my experience there wasn't the same as other deejays - certainly every semester, among the students at least, the station seemed to hemorrhage about a third of the on-air programmers who weren't somehow associated with the station's news & sports programming.

That's the main reason I left. I had given a great deal of myself to the station, not just in radio programming, & there was little to show for it besides an in-house award, & my name on a plague in the station's usually-empty halls. When I left, I fully expected that I would stay in Huntington for the time being, as my wife had a job there & we owned a house. I knew I would never want to return to WMUL, & I thought I'd be without a radio station for a year or perhaps longer. I announced, in this blog post, that I would continue Self Help Radio as a podcast (as I had done the year before in Austin) & also continue the shows I did on WMUL - Dickenbock Electronics & Sugar Substitute - as podcasts as well. I'd also add jazz & old-timey country blues shows into a rotation to keep myself busy. & I have. I've been doing them since June.

Suddenly! Though! The wife & I decided in July to relocate Lexington! We had travelled here a lot to escape Huntington - we also found ourselves visiting Athens, Ohio, & Columbus, Ohio, when we could. My wife had a job interview here - she actually got the job so she'll be working at the University of Kentucky starting in January - & on our visits we would listen to WRFL. I really liked it, far more than anything I ever heard on WMUL. For one thing, there were actual deejays on the air. You could call them & talk to them. Another is that they truly "owned" their shows - on WMUL, you had to play music from the station's library, & that library was very limited. WRFL seemed, as I've said before, to combine the best of both KVRX & KOOP, my two alma maters, & if you've heard those stations, you know it's high praise indeed.

Not only that, but the folks were incredibly welcoming, & the listeners - again, maybe the fact that Lexington is six times larger than Huntington, & the broadcast area is so much wider than WMUL's - they responded to me. I got a show as soon as we moved here & (you might have noticed) I have availed myself of the opportunities of subbing other people's shows as well as doing my own regular shows - Self Help Radio & Sugar Substitute. Last week I subbed four shows for a total of nine extra hours; this week I subbed two shows for a total of five extra hours. It's way too much fun & I am as always extremely grateful for the chance. Plus, just this morning, I chatted on the phone with an awesome listener who had lots to say about what I was playing. To say that that never happened in Huntington is being coy about it - nothing close to that ever seemed even remotely possible in Huntington.

This is a long way of saying that I unfortunately have been just too busy to do my Saturday podcasts. It breaks my heart because I really like putting them together, gathering the jazz & country blues & electronica that I listen to during my days of musical exploration & education. But I subbed a show this morning very early & just didn't have the time to put the show together today. I feel like a lame-o but I also need to be realistic about it. It's not that I don't have the time per se - it's that when I do have the time, I put much more effort into extracurricular WRFL shows than my Saturday podcasts.

Plus, I'm never sure if anyone's listening. I have Google Analytics installed but it doesn't seem terribly reliable. I also miss the spontaneity of live radio. I don't record the podcasts in real time, as you probably have guessed. It's fun but it's not as fun as doing shows on WRFL.

I promise, when I do WRFL specialty shows, I'll put them up more regularly. But for the time being, there'll be no more Dickenbock Electronics or Tags & Tricks or The Zeke Moonshine Show. My apologies to anyone who'll miss them, if there are any, but mainly my apologies to me. I thought I could continue in this manner for an indeterminate length of time, but my ambition's eyes were bigger than its stomach.

If, you know, ambition ate radio shows. Or something.

Friday, December 03, 2010

All Is Folly!

I haven't played with the online rhyming dictionary in a while. I also haven't written a great bad poem in a while. Here are the "official" suggested rhymes for "folly" (edited for some redundancy & some wtf?):

ali (it seems like that has a different syllabic emphasis), bali, braly, brolly, cali (those three aren't real words, are they?), collie, dali, dolly, golly, holly, jolly, lolly, mali, mollie, molly, ollie, polly, poly, smalley (smalley?), solly, stolley, tolley (tolley?), volley, bengali, bialy, canale, fragale, gambale, natale, oncale, papale, quilali, somali, spinale, spitale, vitaly, zingale (I just don't really believe any of these are real words), campanale, caporale, cardinale, comunale, curiale, denatale, depascale, depasquale, dinatale, dipasquale, generali, massingale (you pronounce this "mas-in-golly"?), mexicali, parziale, speziale, imperiale, industriale, industriali, nazionale, internationale, meridionale

That's just daunting. Even after watching every episode of the Sopranos I'm not entirely sure that these are words real people use. I can try to look them up - campanale doesn't appear in any online dictionary, nor does depascale or zingale or spinale or (most disappointingly) quilali. Why you trying to fuck with me, rhyming dictionary?

My favorite folly rhyme comes from "The Money Song" by Eric Idle:

Some people say it's folly,
But I'd rather have the lolly

That is a real word.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Your Birthday & Applicable State & Federal Law

Recent studies have shown that virtually everyone on planet earth has what is commonly called a "birth day." This may include the Immortals, who, because of their long lives, have usually forgotten the day they were born & often "remember" several times a year to have more parties & get more presents. According to the Asimov Act of 2010, robots, androids, & other artificial life forms are no longer allowed to have birthdays, instead being allowed to celebrate only "dates of manufacture."

Self Help Radio, in accordance with federal laws & union policies, devotes one show a year to birthdays. This show can be celebrated by people who have had birthdays, people who will have birthdays, & both, & neither. Well, not neither. As allowed in subsection 12 of the Cake Division Act, radio shows are allowed to dedicate their birthday programs to one or more particular persons while making it clear throughout the show that it can also be understood to be about anyone's birthday in general. This represents compliance with the Hurt Feelings Compromise, which may soon be overturned by passage of the new Congress' proposed Stop Being Such A Big Baby legislation. As it stands, however, Self Help Radio has dedicated this show to one Magdalena Muchlinski, a respected academic with a big nose, whose birthday falls on the day after the show. It is believed that one or more of the hosts of Self Help Radio "has the hots" for Ms. Muchlinksi, & rumors that one or more of the hosts of Self Help Radio is married to her have circulated.

For those of you who do celebrate birthdays, the show is available online at self help radio dot net. It is advised you listen to it with friends, perhaps while wearing a colorful, pointy hat. Balloons will increase the enjoyment of the program, as will alcohol. The program is legally binding as a present from Self Help Radio &, as such, one cannot expect anything else for one's birthday this year from the makers of Self Help Radio. You're welcome.

Happy birthday you!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nearly Time For Birthday Fun!

I just said to my wife, "I'm a pretty good husband, all things considered."

I mean, I do a radio show for her every year around the time of her birthday! & here's something else - I've never repeated a song! I've played different covers of songs - most notably, the Beatles' "Birthday" - but there are enough birthday songs out there to sustain a show a year - & people keep making them!

What else does she expect from me? I should ask. She doesn't know why I'm asking. Now she's denying she scoffed at me. She insists I'm a pretty good husband after all. But then she adds, "But you'd be a better husband if you cooked every night."

Signs of discontent!

But I couldn't cook tonight because I was working on my shows, which start too darn early in the morning tomorrow on 88.1 fm WRFL. You can wait to find the shows - both Self Help Radio & Sugar Substitute - on the Self Help Radio website later tomorrow.

Will she listen to them? I bet she doesn't. Even though she's a pretty good wife, all things considered.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Whither Magda's Birthday Show 2010?

This is the conundrum. I love the woman I married more than pretty much anything in the world (with the possible exception of cheese fries) (which I don't eat anymore since I became vegan) but she doesn't really listen to my radio show. So why do I - why have I - for the past four or five years - dedicated an entire radio show to her around the time of her birthday? In addition, why do I crane my neck & strain my brain to make sure that show contains nothing but birthday songs?

I answered my own question, I know.

She knows, too. & she always knows. & so she gets another birthday show. As long as I can produce them, I'll make her birthday a plethora of birthday songs on a birthday show occasion. But why?

Because (as she might say, if she were paying attention): That's true romance!