I thought that I would take this week's weekend posting to talk a little bit about my experience yesterday. For those of you who missed it (oh, you fortunate ones) last night I hosted the one hour "Eye On Toledo" radio show on NewsTalk 1370 WSPD. The experience was all that I hoped for.
For those of you who have never attempted such a thing, let me describe some of the highlights to you:
- 45 Minutes Prior: You show up to the studio to prepare for the show, only to realize that you don't know what you're doing, so there's nothing to prepare. You are therefore going to have plenty of time to think about what you are about to do
- 15 Minutes Prior: Nervous, but not yet panicked. There is another show going on, and the staff is treating the day like any other. You are the only person assuming that you will fail.
- 5 Minutes Prior: Your mouth is so dry that you feel that you must have crossed Sinai with Moses. Certainly someone will come to their senses, realize that you can't do this, and allow you to run screaming from the building before it's too late.
- 1 Minute Prior: Too late! They tell you that you are about to go on the air. You look around you but realize that there is no escape for you. Your one hope is that when they will flip the switch enough volts will pass through your body to leave you unconscious.
- 5 Minutes In: You realize that you have just used the material that you thought would last you for at least half an hour. Full fledged panic mode has become your reality and you are frantically reaching for more material, knowing that only a miracle can save you.
- 16 Minutes In: Thank God for the first break and the Wall Street Journal Report. It is the only thing that prevented you from taking your own life, live and on the air. You are now convinced that you are a babbling idiot and that it was a mistake for you to be born, let alone do a radio show.
- 22 Minutes In: The break was long enough for you to come up with a Plan B. But as you were contemplating attempted suicide by paper cut, you realize that someone (a friend in fact) has called in. You grab for that life jacket and begin to interact with the audience, who is attempting to bail you out in what can only be a belated feeling of sympathy. Somehow you realize that you will make it to the bottom of the hour and safety, more commonly known as commercials.
- 36 Minutes In: You read the weather and reach again into a stack of stuff, now far too thin to sustain the life of the show. Desperate and aware of your own inadequacies, you grab for anything in the stack to fill the time. You also begin to talk slower than you have ever done in your life.
- 47 Minutes In: You pull out a rant that you figured would never need to be used. You begin to read it both slowly and carefully for two reasons:
- To stretch it for as long as you can, and
- Because your connection with the English language is becoming tenuous at best Since your brain left the building sometime earlier in the evening, you also hope that you are a better writer than a reader.
- 58 Minutes In: The staff at the station begins to look at you in the same way that the guards in a death penalty state must look at prisoners when the reprieve call comes through from the governor. You look at what you are doing and what the clock says, and begin to understand that you may have in fact survived this experience.
- 1.5 hours afterward (and after a couple of adult beverages): You realize that in spite of your initial fear at doing this and the terror that you felt while doing it, you actually had some fun. You also realize how good the professionals behind the scenes in radio are, how talented they are in effortlessly choreographing this delicate ballet, and that it is only because of their efforts that you didn't make a complete ass of yourself. You even begin to think that you might like another shot at something like this some day, thinking that you might do better (not like that would be hard).
Folks, it really was an amazing experience! I appreciate the opportunity that Brian Wilson gave me in trusting me with an hour on the radio. I likewise appreciate the support and help of the staff at the Death Star (what they call the studio) in getting through the experience, and especially that of Phil McGeehan the Assistant Program Director. I don't think that I will ever be able to thank all of them enough. Who knows, maybe I didn't screw up too much, and they will let me take a shot at it again.