Control Freaking

Sunday December 27th, 2009 – Kenosha, WI

I took a day off today to just relax and do nothing. Well, almost nothing. Even when I’ll sit around and do nothing, I almost always do something, it’s just a little less than I do if I set out to do something. Then I get disappointed because I never do enough. This way I’m ahead of the game because I’ll end up doing more than nothing, but less than something.

Confused? Me too. That’s probably why I get so far behind on everything. I get on a roll with something I’m doing and that captures my attention for the moment. Then the rest of everything I’m working on gathers dust and I feel like I’m starting over again all the time.

Two main factors come into play here: One – I happen to enjoy a lot of different things. Two – I’m a control freak. I just am. Most creative people are, at least the good ones. I’m fine with being on a team when I’m not in control, but that has to be stated from the start.

Jerry’s Kidders is a great example. Ken Sevara, Tim Slagle and I are the Indians and we all agree that Jerry is the chief. We each get a voice in decisions, but Jerry gets final word. That’s how it was set up right as we started, and we’re still abiding by it two years later.

My projects are a little different. I’m in control, but I don’t have any Indians underneath me. Either I should get some and start delegating or pick an order and live with it the way it is. That’s wherein lies the risk. Bringing in partners could bring in problems. Or help.

Obviously, bringing in the right partners would help but who exactly would that be? I’m the one who sees my own vision best, and that’s always how it will be. Other people can’t see it unless I explain it to them, but then there’s no guarantee they’ll share my inner fire.

My Uranus Factory Outlet idea is a great one. I know that because I’ve had three people offer to become partners in the venture. Each one of them wanted me to sign away a large slice of the total pie of something that hadn’t even made the first dollar yet. I almost did it the first time, but I reconsidered and said no. It just didn’t feel right, and I was correct.

Eventually, if I do get it going I’ll have to trust someone and take on some kind of help from any number of partners. I know I can’t do everything, but right now I need to learn a few more lessons before I start signing things away. I want to either have control or cash, not flatulent promises of future wealth. I would have been stung had I given up control.

This year will be critical to the big picture. I’m going to have to sign some things away, or at least bring on some kind of help from outside. In comedy, it would be signing with a management company. That’s always a tricky deal, and it has to be a good match for both parties. I’ve heard some horror stories of comics who can’t undo their management deal.

Again, I probably could have found something had I really looked. I chose not to. Now I need to rethink all of these things. I can’t keep doing it all by myself. I’ll never be able to get any true momentum going. Now the real challenge starts. Who will share my vision?

One place things are going along very well is the Mothership Connection radio show on WLIP. It’s a blast on many levels, but I’ve taken it about as far as I can by myself. I’m the conductor, but by no means am I the only contributor. Everyone else has added to the mix and together we’ve created a fun little club to go to for three hours on a Sunday evening.

Co-hosts have come and gone, come back again, gone again, but we’re still having a lot of fun no matter who shows up on any given Sunday. Tonight Scott Markus was back for another week before he heads back to Los Angeles and he brought a ton of guests along.

Scott wrote a book called ‘Voices From The Chicago Grave’ and did a great job with it. He’s working on the next version and is known in ghost circles so he can get guests for us that I don’t even know. He’s also into horror films so that’s another angle we cover when he’s around because he has solid contacts there too. We’ve had some very strong shows.

My comedian friend Gary Pansch lives in Kenosha and he’s a regular contributor also. I always thought Gary was funny, but he’s shining in this area too. He’s very quiet off stage but on the air he’s a solid contributor and always asks intelligent questions. He totally fits.

Diane Ebert has been in radio for a long time and she’s become our resident female, for now at least. I always thought a woman would be great in the mix, as most shows like this are geek fests for dorky white guys. I guess that’s ok, but I like to hot rod it up a little and having a woman on has totally worked. Diane is fitting in and starting to feel comfortable.

Our old female co-host was Lara Shaffer. She was a pleasant surprise, and understood it right from the start. She’s about 25 and not a radio person at all, which is what made her a natural fit. She had a natural flair for entertainment and is an aspiring model/actress. Yeah right. What 25 year old woman isn’t? That’s fine, but not many have Lara‘s wit and style.

Lara is going through whatever 25 year old women go through and isn’t on the show for now, but she said at some point she’d like to come back. That’s fine. I’d take her in a half a second, but Diane is doing an excellent job with what she does. It’s different, and that’s totally fine. My job is to decide what each person does best, and encourage them to DO it.

That’s what’s so much fun about the show. I want the others to shine and contribute and get to ask whatever questions they want of our guests. And that’s another thing, we get an absolutely amazing array of fascinating guests on a wide range of subjects. I’ve been very impressed and pleasantly surprised at how many people love to come on the air with us.

Now it’s a matter of taking it to the next level, but again that’s a delicate call. Nobody is going to really hear us on WLIP in Kenosha, WI. No offense to either Kenosha or WLIP, but that’s a painful fact. It is what it is, and it’s not a bad station at all. It’s just a bit small.

Getting on a big station would bring a whole new set of issues, many based on who gets to control the show. If I was making money I guess I could give up control, but why can’t I have both? There has to be a happy medium somewhere, and I’m going to hunt it down.


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