Sleepless In The Saddle

Monday March 19th, 2012 – Rockford, IL/Fox Lake, IL

   Sleep? Who needs that? It’s way over rated anyway. I don’t have time for boring activities like that – I’ve got hip, happening places to be like Kenosha, WI and Rockford, IL. I’ll have plenty of time to sleep when I’m dead, which after today seems not far off. Who am I kidding? I’m OLD.

I was dragging my ass big time as I got home from WLIP in Kenosha at 1am, but I wasn’t able to sleep more than an hour because I needed to pick up Jim McHugh by 3:30 to be able to get out to Rockford to be on WNTA by 5am. Am I completely insane? That depends on when you’d ask.

When I’m on the air – no. When I’m driving on a lonely two lane country road with not a single other vehicle in either direction – a loud and heartfelt yes. What the hell am I doing with my life? I’ve gone from chasing low paying comedy gigs far from home to chasing low paying radio gigs, but at least they’re a little closer. The downside is the hours. Who wants to start their job at 5am?

Morning radio hours have always been brutal, and I’m sure they’ve taken a few years off of my life already. I’ve had my share of getting up before the early bird, and it’s never fun. Most people who have ever worked in morning radio hate the hours, but it goes with the job. And it still rots.

Doing the show with Jim makes it a lot more fun. Radio is still new to him, and he’s not jaded. Yet. It’s hard not to be, but there is a buzz that goes with it that’s similar to being on stage. It’s a lot of fun to be on the radio, and on stage too – but just like with comedy there is a price to pay.

I said yes today mainly to help out Jim Stone. He’s the operations manager of the four stations in the building, but also does the morning show on WXRX – ‘The X’. He’s been doing mornings for years, and knows what that grind is like. He was doing afternoons for the last couple of years, but just had to get readjusted to mornings when they rearranged the schedule not that long ago.

Jim McHugh and I had fun playing radio again for four hours, but no way would I want the gig full time. I’m not a current events based talk show host. That’s not what I do. The regular host is a very nice guy named Doug McDuff – a radio veteran. He’s a fixture in town, and good for him.

There are people who are really good talk show hosts, and I respect that as a craft just as being a comedian is a craft. My friend Jerry Agar is great at what he does, and he works at it. He wants to be a talk show host, and that’s his focus. Mark Belling in Milwaukee is another example. He’s a very skilled talk show host, as is Rush Limbaugh. Like any of them or not, they’re competent.

I’m just a warm body that Jim Stone could call who was willing to show up at 5am. It’s a really nice opportunity for me to get a chance to practice my hosting skills on a real station, but I’m not fooling myself into thinking I want to pursue it more than a fill in basis. Comedy is my first love.

But again, love doesn’t pay the bills. This was a chance to make a few bucks, even though I am going to end up spending most of it to fill my gas tank. And I’m having some car trouble too. I’m too tired to worry about it now though. This was a long hard day. I’m not a young buck anymore.

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