I will no longer commune and connect with my people every day from 9 to 1. That sucks.
I love being a part of your day. The spontaneity and precariousness of live, interactive radio is unmatched, as is the genuine magic that occurs when a show gets rolling.
Our show was rolling. Spiegel and Parkins had come so far in terms of our chemistry, and you knew it. The quality of the conversation, the unpredictability of every segment, the musicality (or honest lack thereof) in our song parodies, the evolution of ideas, the inclusion of the whole crew with Jay and Rick; the momentum was palpable to everyone. Well, almost everyone.
Also, as you’ve probably read by now, the ratings numbers had steadily climbed and by now were very, very good. That was not the issue. My contract or salary was not the issue. As far as I know, societal conversations and other non-sports content was not the issue.
The issue is that each radio host is not beloved by everyone, and a new boss gets to do what he wants. This has played out in our industry, and others, for decades. Because I’m me, I’m reminded of so many rock bands who sign a record deal with a passionate A & R man, only to be hung out to dry when that record label goes through management changes. I feel a little (just a little) like Wilco when Reprise Records said they didn’t want to put out Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The band found a way to get the music out, but it was awkward and tumultuous. It’s the content creator’s lot in life to carry on.
So It Goes, as Vonnegut wrote. In that sense it’s been pretty easy to not take the move personally.
But please know that I miss you. We had a hell of a 9 year run.
We is not me and Danny Mac, or me an Jason Goff, or me and Patrick Mannelly, or me and Danny Parkins. It is not me and the 30 or so different co-hosts that have joined from 9 to 1 at some point.
We is me and you. The connection we’ve had is the absolute goods, and I deeply appreciate it. I thank you for hearing me, for yelling to or at me, and most of all for furthering conversations with me. You’ve made my best thoughts funnier and more fleshed out. You’ve withstood my worst thoughts, and let me find good ones again. You’ve shared life experience that helped conversations synthesize and be enriched deeper than I could have imagined.
I’ve always thought of you as one big collective, theoretically comprised of every slice of Chicagoan imaginable. It took a couple years, frankly, to accept that amidst that collective were some that deeply loathed me. Local radio is unique in that way. We are often chosen by listeners with the direct expectation of supplying a target for derision and/or rage. As long as you listen, it counts. This can lead to some really bad programming choices by certain hosts, who go for the easy denominator of being provocative instead of genuine. If you’re not careful, you can lose yourself and become a contrarian by convenience, ready to inhabit a debate role that virtually anyone could play.
Thankfully, I realized this danger, and have worked to avoid it. I didn’t succeed all the time, but please know I tried to remove as much of the filter between my head, heart and microphone as possible. I’ve been me, for better or for worse. Sometimes my sensitivity would show through, but I lived with that because it sure felt better than being a fake tough guy. Anyway, if you feel like you know me, you do.
Onward! I’ll be on the station, filling in on various shows as needed. I’ll resume writing baseball columns for The Score. I’ll be launching the podcast idea of my dreams, through the station’s website. This idea has been percolating a long time…if I can pull it off, it will fuse my worlds together as they’ve been destined to be. And, I’ll obviously still be playing and singing around town with Tributosaurus.
I want to thank each and every one of you who have reached out to wish me well, or remind me of moments that meant something to you. It’s been amazing; kind of like a living wake. I’ve joked that both me and Jason Goff have had that “noble martyr” thing going, like when Conan O’Brien got displaced on The Tonight Show by an entitled, waffling dinosaur in Jay Leno.
But that imagined martyr role doesn’t last, or carry any real heft. I have to create content, and keep the connections with you active. I’m on it. Hell, Conan’s been pretty damn funny since then. Content is king.
You’ll hear or see or read me soon. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your life.
Good vibes babe, (staying on brand)