Author’s Note: You can tell it’s that time of the year. I’ve been so busy frantically studying for finals, that I’ve got nothing written! So, for this week, you’re going to get the introductory section for my final report in Radio Concepts. This is essentially a “why I want to be in radio” kind of thing. I kind of liked it, so you’re getting it as a column this week. If you want to read the whole thing, just e-mail me and I’ll send it to you.
“Destiny dressed you this morning, and now Fear is trying to take off your pants, and if you don’t fight back, you’re going to be standing there naked with Fear pointing and laughing at your dangling unmentionables.”
Ever since I came to NAIT this fall, my mind has been dominated by one thought as I studied the arts of broadcasting: I am too old for this. Let’s be honest. I am 26 years old and well-educated. What the hell am I doing squandering what little savings I made in my last job and turning around and going back to school? Why aren’t I at a good job? How come I’m not married? How come I’m not working on the 2.3 kids? What has driven me to move back in with my parents, squander what little money I made in tuition at my last job, and do the whole post-secondary education thing all over again? For a career in radio, for God’s sake? I mean, lesson 1 in this class has been, “The money’s horrible.”
From day one, whenever I voice my doubts aloud, anyone within earshot gives me the same answer: “Well, it’s because you love it.” Do I? So I did it in university and a lot of fun doing it. Big deal. Do I really love radio and want to be a part of it, or am I just an overgrown man-child trying to recapture the glory of my youth? I am old. I have already seen and done things that most of my RTA student/colleagues still dream of doing. Fellow classmates from my first time in university have established careers, and are homeowners, and have at least seen one naked woman. And here I am still going through this awkward phase of, “What do I do now?” Is radio really the right answer?
Let’s look at my fellow classmates; probably a good representative cross-section of what makes a good employee in this business. They are loud. They are outgoing. They are extroverts. A few of them are already being wooed for jobs, or know most of the employees at the visited stations by their first name. Now, let’s look at me. I am quiet. I am shy. I am introverted. Have I built up my extensive network of contacts yet? No. Can I just walk up to someone and develop a relationship with them, either personal or professional? No. Hell, one of the primary reasons why I lost my last job was because I couldn’t remember names. In this business of, “It’s not what you know, but who,” how can I possibly succeed?
That fact of the matter is I can’t. There have been subtle signs ever since Team Skills, and the various personality types were displayed on the wall. When I looked at my chosen profession, DJ , did I see my personality type? No. For a details-oriented wallflower like myself, I am best suited to use my math degree and crunch numbers in the back room. The writing was literally on the wall: I am an accountant. Or, in radio, that would mean I run traffic.
So, I’ve accepted the fact. I am cursed to forever lead a life surrounded by numbers. I am a lowly accountant, just like Arthur. Did you ever watch The Tick? Brilliant TV show. The Tick was this big, blue superhero and he was a complete moron. But the main focus tended to be his sidekick, Arthur. Arthur was an accountant, but he always felt this higher calling in life. So, one day, he decided to become a superhero. He spent his money on a moth suit, took some flying lessons, and set out to save the world. Naturally, this got him fired from his accounting job, thus instantly reducing his confidence to 0. As he was about to give it up, he ran into the Tick. Granted, the Tick was completely brainless, but he did have the heart and the passion for what he did. And the Tick saw it in Arthur. Thanks to the Tick, Arthur was able to keep doing his dream of being a superhero. Granted, he wasn’t the best superhero. He always crash-landed and his only superpower – flight – was unreliable even on the good days. But he kept doing it. It was his dream; his passion.
In university, most people who wanted to be on the radio station would sign up, do their one-hour show once a week for maybe one or two months, then give up when they came to the realization that there were no listeners. Me? I did my one-hour show once a week for three and a half years; my entire time at university. No listeners? Then let’s get listeners! My posters blanketed the campus. My opinion column ran in the school paper in a bit of cross-promotion. And, in a move that made me very unpopular with the school’s Sys Admins, I even figured out how to send spam promoting my show on the school’s computer network. Over the course of three and a half years, the wallflower became a shameless self-promoter . After I graduated, I returned to Augustana one afternoon, and a friend let me into the station to take a look around. I even sat behind the microphone and did some of my old schtick. My friend looked at me and said, “You really do love this, don’t you?” Yes, I do.
Yeah, I had several sleepless nights over the just-ended promotions project. Yes, I was constantly fretting over whether it was working or not. Hell, I still don’t know if it worked or not. But I loved doing it! When the last one was half-over, I started thinking about the next one. As soon as I got to NAIT, the first question that went through my mind was the first question I had for every new station manager every fall at Augustana: “When can I go back on the air?” Granted, doing one hour a week is vastly different than doing 6 hours a day, but I don’t care. I want to be on the air. True, my current show isn’t as much fun as my old one back in Augustana, but that’s because, right now, I have no listeners. No listeners? Then let’s get listeners! I’m going to be in for a few more sleepless nights.
Am I going to be a failure in this? Undoubtedly. But I am going to fail spectacularly. My mistakes will be so massive, I’ll actually be proud of them. The Canadian radio industry will have never seen a failure the size of me. Yeah, I’m 26 and I’m still living in my parents’ basement and I lost my last job because I kept getting “Hiromi” and “Hiroshi” mixed up and I’m still wondering how to get the little red-haired girl to go out with me. Failure is not new to me. But, like Arthur, I’m going to keep going. I do want to do this. This is my dream; my passion.
And besides, it’s either this or go back to physics. Ask yourself one question. What’s scarier: me with a microphone, or me handling lasers and plutonium?