Ed Berliner over at Sports Media Masters reminded me of this gem I heard over the weekend from ace FOX Sports baseball analyst Tim McCarver:
During the sixth inning of a Milwaukee Brewers-St. Louis Cardinals game at Busch Stadium, McCarver made the observation that climate changes are the cause for the explosion of home runs in recent years. Watching this at home made me think two things.
After my fifth and final run with the Sun Radio Network in 1995, my radio future was looking bleak. I had already made plans to move to Marietta, Georgia in February of 1996, helping my mother and her boyfriend with their business, which was getting offices and businesses set up with phone lines for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. It was, outside of my month or so foray to White Springs, my first move outside of the area I had grown up in, the Tampa Bay area.
As Sun was quite literally setting, I got a call from Tom Valentine, host of Radio Free America sponsored by Liberty Lobby. Like many SRN shows, RFA was making plans to find another means of syndicating itself for broadcast. He asked if I’d be interested starting up Valentine Communications under “new digs” (as he would say) just down the road in Feather Sound at WBDN’s new headquarters.
Why is it so hard to find the right browser to surf the Internet?
For instance, I like Google Chrome a lot. It’s fast, it’s friendly. But it doesn’t have the ability to read RSS feeds. Even my Blackberry has that.
Then there’s Mozilla Firefox. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Firefox has the add-ons anybody would want. But there are two problems with FF. One, it plays videos crankily. The video often lags and catches up. Second, even with a minimum of add-ons, Firefox on my system hangs often.
Then there’s Safari. Safari is a slick browser all right, but it’s just a little weird using an Apple browser on a PC.
Which brings me to Internet Explorer. A good system, yes. But every now and then, it seems to forget all of my passwords. So every week, I’d spend 10-15 minutes typing in passwords IE should already know.
Which brings us back to Google Chrome…which is where I think I’ll stay for now.
Another new year dawned, and it began to dawn onto me that it was possible that I wouldn’t be spending my seventh straight year working at the radio business at some point during the course of the year. I was working the odd jobs here and there, preparing for a life without this addictive business.
In early February 1995, I get another fateful call from Sun Radio Network operations manager Stan Anderson. Openings were again available at SRN, and I was asked if I wanted to work there for a fifth time. Even though this was making me the Billy Martin of board operators (the late New York Yankees manager that was hired and fired by George Steinbrenner repeatedly), I accepted.
A thought occurred to me this morning about everything going on in the spring of 2012.
We have a war on terror declared over by the Obama administration, but yet there has been no announcement that the TSA screening (that some would call groping) at the airport will be stopping anytime soon. Nor will our military be leaving the Middle East in the near future.
You have a congress now desperate to put any controls on the Internet any way they can. SOPA has now become CISPA, and should CISPA fail, they’ll come up with something else to distract us just enough to get their legislation passed. Look over here at this shiny new Android phone, people!
We have two candidates for the US Presidency yelling and screaming about how different they are when they are not that different at all.
So after my second and third tours of day at the Sun Radio Network, and with the fall of 1994 at hand, I began to wonder if my radio career was coming to an end. I was looking into doing some other things with my life. Back then, for instance, it was pretty easy (not to mention pretty sleazy) to get a telemarketing job in the area. It was like doing a talk radio show for one person, but that one person could say pretty nasty things to you! Pretty tough to earn a living that way. The same dynamics are in play there that were in play in the radio business: low wages (although you can earn higher if you sell well, and management usually doesn’t want you to), and no benefits.
After going to a Kirby vacuum selling seminar over in Tampa for a guy who could have easily impersonated German actor Klaus Kinski, I got a call from Michael Crose. Crose did a gardening show on SRN and many other places (and still does in 2012), and was a big believer in a product called diatomaceous earth that was the source of many of our commercials in the early 1990’s. Try saying that fast ten times. His mission: to get me to produce shows up in White Springs, Florida for PRN, the People’s Radio Network founded by Chuck Harder.
My reasons for leaving WBDN were academic, really. It was only a matter of time before the Brandon station was sold and their talk radio experiment of non-Sun Radio Network nor non-Independent Broadcasters Network programming would be deemed a flop by the power of the purses of the new owners. Christmas of 1993 was calling. Would I wind up employed over the holidays, or not?
Right after resigning from WBDN, I get a call from my former boss, Stan Anderson, over at Sun. Miracle of miracles, they were re-hiring again, and asked if I was interested in rejoining them. I had to think about it for a moment, a very fleeting moment. Some might view going back to SRN as a regression in character, but the overriding concern was not being unemployed over the holidays, so I jumped at the chance to go back to my old friends there.
So I’m watching the Tampa Bay Rays game at Tropicana Field against the Minnesota Twins on TV. Saw something that really angered me.
It’s the 8th inning, and the Rays are up 5-2 at this point. A pop up is hit, heading to foul territory just into the stands. Carlos Pena, the Rays first baseman, is heading over to pursue the ball, perhaps to catch it. A rather tall man catches it when Pena could have made an out. On social media after the incident, there is wide speculation that the “tall man” was former NBA player Matt Geiger. As of the time I write this, it hasn’t been positively confirmed nor denied, so I’ll put that in the speculation file for now.
Usually, the etiquette in baseball is that a spectator is only ejected if he enters the field of play. But someone on the Rays staff decided to eject the spectator/Geiger. I’ve already heard opinion from some in the local media saying the fan/Geiger shouldn’t have been ejected.
I turned 22 years of age on September 6th, 1993, and had already had (and lost) three radio jobs. My last job to this point, WHNZ, was a bizarre one. The job I was hired to do, that of being a board operator, seemed to be the last thing the management wanted me to do. The good thing was I still had a lot of “clout” built up with my two and a half year tenure at Sun Radio Network, and that gave me chances to work at other stations.
It was right around this time I had the idea to visit Orlando and apply at some stations in that market. Ed Hartley was working over at 540 (I believe the call letters back then were WGTO) as their midday talk show host. He took one look at me and said “You, again?!?” I knew he was saying that in jest. 540 had a part-talk, part-sports lineup back then, and I thought it’d be perfect for me to work at. I wound up not getting the job, and it turned out to be a blessing. Paxson Communications, who owned WHNZ back then, would buy the Orlando station the following year, 1994. Had I gone to work there, no doubt I would have been blown out (fired) as payback for quitting on them the previous year.
Every once in a while when I have and work on a blog, I like to give it a new look.
That’s a total departure from who I am, though. When a site like YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter changes, it tends to piss me off. Ever see the first Star Trek movie back in the late 1970’s? Captain Kirk is trying to recruit Dr. McCoy back, and once Kirk wins him over, McCoy laments about how engineers love to change things? That’s how I tend to feel.
I simply couldn’t let the synergy of what’s going on in the radio world locally and nationally pass without commentary.
Nationally, we have seen the passing of one Richard Wagstaff Clark at the age of 82. Remember him well, ladies and gentlemen, as we will never see anyone that powerful in the radio and TV medium ever again. The businesses of each medium ensure the fact that this much power will never rest in one person’s hands ever again. As great (or as not) as Ryan Seacrest is, he won’t be doing TV when he is in his 80’s, I assure you of that.