So today will be my final air shift. 19 years ago I started my career in broadcasting and have remained at the same station that entire time (that is almost a miracle). I used to joke that they wouldn’t can me because I’d bawl like a baby all the way out the door. Ironically, it’s my choice to step away and I’ve been bawling for days now, knowing the end was near.
But man what an amazing career. I traveled twice to Catalina Island (I know nothing about a “borrowed without permission” golf cart). I got to do stage intros for countless artists (why was Kenny G’s stage manager dude so rude?). I did countless broadcasts from Jazz in the Park (I don’t care what the dentist says about popcorn, I sure hope Doug the Kettle Corn guy is still there). I racked up more t-shirts and CD’s than I know what to do with-not kidding-any takers? I got to go to work in virtually the most fashionless but comfortable clothing ever made. Endorsements, free Summerfest tickets and goodie bags from local businesses were always welcome.
And I learned alot. I learned that you can spill liquid on the board and it may or may not still work. Speaking of the board…I learned that there are lots of buttons to press and after a decade of pressing them, you’ll still occasionally hit the wrong one. I learned that a truly talented jock can use the bathroom in less than 60 seconds. This does not make for a patient potty trainer, “C’mon, c’mon…get it going! We only have 30 seconds left.” I learned that dead air makes everyone in the building run toward the studio (some faster than others). I learned that the Wauwatosa Police Dept. will only be slightly impressed with your on air abilities…just enough to maybe let you out of a ticket. I learned that people who work in radio are connected-to the music, to the community, and to fellow radio peeps. We “get” each other. And I have learned that despite our many differences, opinions, and preferences, radio (if only for a short time) can bring a common bond between people.
I was a single lady (shout out to Beyonce) when I started my career in radio. With one dog. Since then I got married (shout out to my husband, Charles), got another dog, several homes, and two kids ( yeah another two shouts out to my husband). I’m not even sure we had email back then. I do know my cell phone was huge (but my bill was a fraction of what it is today).
I’d like to say I loved every minute of it. But receiving Amber Alerts is always awful. Sharing information about an impending storm or someone who has died can be difficult. I can’t even describe the numbness 911 put over all of us. But that’s part of the job. And I have been privileged to have that job for so long.
Why leave? Because things are going well. Huh? So, for me it’s like staying too long at the party. You know-when the buzz you had going wears off, the dip has that been-out too-long look (artichoke dip takes a dive after two hours), and there are only crumbs-not whole chips-left. You spilled sauce on your shirt and your hair looks like you need to either run a brush through it or use a half a can of hairspray on it. Plates are piled up and the trash bags are full. I never wanted to leave when things were messy. I have always known I wanted to leave while my relationships were in tact and I could hold my head high. It’s kinda like the longer I stay, the harder it will be for me to go.
So I will go. And as I do, I want to say thanks to our clients for trusting us to promote your business. Thank you to my coworkers who had to put up with my quirky habits and constant hunt for chocolate (wait…is there more? Seriously, is there?) Most of all thank you for listening. Maybe you won a prize during my show (I know- you want that trip-I get it). Or perhaps I played a song for you or your office mates. I hope I made you smile or laugh or gave you a momentary diversion from your day’s stresses.
Keep calm, and please keep listening.