What follows is an expansion on the old caution
to be careful what you ask for, because…
You just finished it in your head didn’t you? Say it with me now.
“…because you just might get it.”
Now, I have no idea what your beliefs are, but as part of mine, I pray. If you do, it might be to the same entity. In many faiths, this entity is described as a father.
And I’ve learned that I can’t complain if I leave it up to Dad.
I remember my earthly Pop was like this. I wanted to go hit balls up at the school and needed him to take me. He was happy too, if I mowed the yard first.
Wait, that wasn’t quite what I was asking. But dads will do that. I certainly have.
So about the time my daughter became a teenager this past summer, I started doing the math. My birth father died of heart failure at age 72. This month, I’ll be 59. And when the nurses check my blood pressure before the doctor comes in, it genuinely scares them. Thinking of that and a thousand other doubts, I opened my big mouth and said that I’d like to live long enough to see my daughter start her own family.
What I didn’t expect was that the solution would involve no longer having to get up every morning at 3.
On any given night I was getting four hours of sleep, at most. To put that in perspective, that’s about all successful NFL coaches get – and most of them are certifiable. Sometimes the harder you drive toward something, the more you drive things away. That includes people – and often, we never get them back. JImmy Johnson has spoken at length about the price his family paid for his absence, and that he didn’t like the person he had become. He simply got to the point where he no longer enjoyed what he was doing enough to make the price worth it. That’s always stuck with me.
When my boss at KLUV first told me the company was considering a change, my first instinct was to force them to drag me away while clinging to the drapes. Then Fiona simply said, “You’ll live longer”.
It took awhile, but I came around – because this was precisely what I’d asked for.
The truth is that even though I’ve always tried to “be there” for my children, my mind was still always doing show preparation. Morning shows require a great deal more planning than people realize, and the slot comes with enormous pressures. And to use a word I only admitted to myself this week, I was burning out. If I was at a football game watching my daughter cheer, I didn’t need to be thinking of the quiz questions I needed to write for the next day. I was only going to get these chances once. I needed to be in that moment.
With those demands also come enormous rewards, which those of us in the industry enjoyed for years. That, too, has evolved. Stepping away from the morning show would mean many personal changes, and financial prioritization – but would also give me time to focus on things to which I could never give proper attention. Things such as writing, podcasting, voice acting, public speaking – and most of all, teaching. A friend I asked about the idea told me that no one makes money as a teacher. I replied that I’ve made money. Now I wanted to make a difference.
And, I also have plenty of ideas of how to make a difference on the radio – and online. The good news is that the people who run KLUV want to do most of these ideas, so this could be a lot of fun. One of the big ones is a Saturday night request and dedication show, where we expand the format and make it a bit of a party. It’s been done before, but we think we might be able to do it even better. Playing everyone’s favorite songs is why I wanted to be a deejay in the first place. And once the backyard studio we’re building is finished, I may even be doing shows in my bathrobe.
So just file that little picture away in the back of your mind for now.
At any rate, the short story is simple: was leaving the morning show my choice? Heck no. I’m too prideful, too bull-headed, too competitive, and too intense to have ever done it on my own. It was never my job to begin with. It’s the company’s job, and they get to do with it as they wish. It turned out they did me a favor. And when everyone you trust is telling you this might end up being better than you dream, listen.
Do you have any idea how awesome it is to know that staying up to actually see the end of the game won’t murder you the next morning?
To not fall asleep at long traffic lights?
To not look at your significant other over dinner and watch his eyeballs roll back in his head?
And…my chances of walking my daughter down the aisle just went up.
So, yes. I take it all as an answered prayer. Answered creatively, perhaps, but nevertheless.
It has taught me two things: always make sure you specify how you’d like things done, and to tell Madi to take all the time she wants. We’re in no hurry. .
I have many people yet to thank for the last 13 years – and soon, some inside stories to tell. I hope you’ll follow along for updates.
And let me begin by saying thank you most of all…to you.
More to come.