Dangerspouse Rides Again

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Garage - Track

Oct. 10, 2003 - 5:06 a.m.

I love my job. I really do. The radio industry as a whole sucks moose cock ever since deregulation, but I'll save that little diatribe for later.

But like I say, I love my own little corner of Radio World. WTOM, on the air.

I used to have an afternoon Oldies show at a little Mom-n-Pop AM station, from '89 - 94. That was my first radio gig, and it was fantastic. Not so much for the listeners, but who the hell cares about them? I was having a great time. Wake up at noon, get to work at 3, shift over at 7, maybe screw around in the production room for an hour or so afterwards. And lots - lots - of booze. Even a fan club of sorts.

Ah, la vida loco.

But shortly after the aforementioned moose-sucking deregulation laws were passed, Mom and Pop saw dollar signs (actually, Disney Bucks) and sold us out. Within a week our little band of drunken mumblers was cast to the four winds. We were replaced by a metal box with blinking lights that pulled in a signal from Denver and regurgitated it to listeners in Sussex County, NJ.

The locals couldn't tell the difference, of course.

Fortunately I was picked up almost immediately by another broadcast outfit. I'm now The Traffic Guy mostly, but sometimes The Weather Guy or The News Guy if the situation calls for it. Our company provides these "Guys" (and Gals) to client stations. The client stations save money by firing their whole news/sports/etc. departments and using us. So I'm a Storm Trooper in the Empire. Starring Mel Karmazan as Darth Vader and the Emperor combined. Except that Mel has more power. Having been on both sides of the battlefield, it's definitely better working for the fish thats eating, rather than being eaten.

For selling my soul, the Evil Overlords pay about 5 times as much as Pop & Co., plus medical and a retirement plan. I sleep very well at nights.

My alarm goes off, alarmingly, at 1:30am. Ah, showbiz. 3:30am - 9am is Showtime, then I stumble around like a zombie for the rest of the day. At 5:30pm I down a NyQuil and Gin cocktail so I can fall asleep with the sun blazing in my eyes, and it starts all over again.

Normally this pattern repeats itself with brain numbing regularity, but every once in a while there's a glitch in the program.

Yesterday was a glitch. I arrived at 3am to do show prep, which these days generally consists of checking my e-mail and stealing sandwiches the mid-day guys have left in the fridge. And checking my voice mail.


Voice Mail #1: "Hey Tom, we may need you to stay late tomorrow (today). Mr.X says he's getting a sore throat." Recorded at 1pm yesterday.

This was from our Program Director, my boss. Mr.X comes on after me.

What I don't get is, why didn't he call my house? If I had been forwarned I would have knocked myself comatose an hour earlier and packed a lunch. But maybe Mr.X would pull out of it and not need a fill-in....

Voice Mail #2: "Hey Tom. Mr.X is definitely not going to be in tomorrow. And with Ms.S leaving, we are short on fill-ins. You're gonna have to stay on-air til 4pm. Thanks!" Recorded at 2:30pm yesterday.

Ouch. 13 hours at work, and with no sandwich. WHY didn't he call me at home? Sigh....

Now I know that 13 hours is not exactly the Bataan Death March. But it's still pretty tough talking almost non-stop for that long. At least for a guy. I got through it though, albeit sounding like Wolfman Jack for the last three hours. The toughest part was actually the drive home in rush hour, then making dinner, getting drunk, berating NewWifey(tm) and walking the dog. All that meant I got to bed well past my usual appointed hour.

Wouldn't you know it, at 3am today my voice mail informed me cheerily that I'd have to do it again. Hah! I'd had a sneaking suspicion that Mr.X was just wrangling for an extended weekend, so I had taken the precaution of loading my headphone bag with Slim Jims and microwave popcorn before leaving the house. I was all set!

But then I went to the kitchen and saw:


No!!!! The cooler was empty, and no refill bottles in sight! How could they forget to order them??!

We go through water like, well, like water here. 20 or so announcers staffing an around the clock operation can soak up a truckfull of Poland Spring faster than you can pour it out. This is terrible! Nobody wants to drink soda because it makes you burp and gummies up your pipes. And it costs money.

No water.

I think it would be easier to do this job without a microphone.

Anyway, there's no real point to this post. I'm just writing to keep my mind off things like the Gobi, Moab, and Sahara. It's now 9:30am; I have 6 1/2 hours to go. At 12:30 I'll be shifting over to the largest all-news radio station in the country, giving reports every 10 minutes. And I'm going to sound like Sponge Bob when he went to visit Sandy in her air-filled dome. This is definitely one air check I'm going to accidentally misplace.

Oh well, I'm gonna run out to the parking lot and see if any dew has accumulated on my car. Take care. Have a drink for me.

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