Posts Tagged ‘Coast To Coast AM’

Mothership Dilemma

March 4, 2013

Sunday March 3rd, 2013 – Kenosha, WI

   Part of the frustration of the entertainment business is that things run hot and cold. Sometimes a project can suffer simply because it’s not the right time for it, and that’s what I’m feeling with ‘The Mothership Connection’ paranormal radio show on AM 1050 WLIP in Kenosha, WI. Next week will be our fifth anniversary, and I’m not sure if I should keep the show running or not.

When I started, paranormal themed shows on TV – especially ghost hunters – were all the rage. There’s also ‘Ancient Aliens’ and a whole slew of others that have been on the air for most if not all those five years, and I’m beginning to wonder if they’ve played themselves out. I don’t know.

I’ve always been interested in offbeat topics like this, and I would tend to think a large number of others are too – but there have been all kinds of outlets to watch and hear about it all in media and I’m not sure there’s room for my little show especially if I’m looking to make a buck with it.

‘Coast to Coast AM’ with George Noory is the undisputed grand daddy of the paranormal talk radio world, and deservedly so. They’ve been around for years, and I’m a fan of the show myself when I can listen. I was a huge fan of Art Bell – the one who put this kind of format over the top. He had unbelievable charisma, and like a Rush Limbaugh or Howard Stern really carved a niche.

George Noory is fine, but he’s a different personality than Art was. He has many if not most of the same interesting guests Art had, and many of those very same people have been on our show as well. There isn’t all that big of a community in those circles, and most are glad to get air time.

‘The Mothership Connection’ is the hybrid cross between ‘Coast to Coast AM’ and a morning show, and it really is fun to do. We’ve got a crew of regulars, whereas George Noory tends to fly solo. He has regular and semi regular guests just like we do, but there’s still a difference in how each show operates. He’s McDonald’s, and we’re the local burger joint. There’s room for both.

I absolutely LOVE doing the show every week, and we’ve got a fantastic crew assembled after five years of constant evolution. This is by far the best crew we’ve ever had, but no offense to all the others who gave of their time to be part of it. Like a band, we’ve evolved in a positive way to the point we are now, and it took the efforts of everyone involved to develop it all to this point.

The question now is what do we do with it? We’re on the air every Sunday, and we get a lot of calls from the same people. That’s great, but we’re not growing and that’s just not going to cut it as far as making a living goes. Kenosha is about 100,000 people, and the station’s signal isn’t the 50,000 watt blowtorch Coast To Coast tends to be on all over the country. It makes a difference.

We do have a following on the internet too, but it’s not where it needs to be to start cashing any big checks any time soon. We do well for what we have to work with, but I have enough hobbies to last me the next six lifetimes. I need to make a buck, and this just isn’t doing it right now. I am going to have to make a decision soon, and I really don’t want to quit but that may be the correct answer. Five years has gone by in a blink of an eye. That’s enough warm up. Time to get paid.


Tweaking Uranus

June 23, 2010

Monday June 21st, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

Ask and ye shall receive. I discovered a listing website where radio talk show hosts are able to troll for guests that match the format of their show. It only took a few hours of me having listed The Mothership Connection show on WLIP to get deluged with requests for interviews from Bigfoot hunters to a dentist who claims he chats regularly with aliens.

I received 35 emails in about twelve hours, with no end in sight. One after another, I got pitched by authors and publishing houses and managers all trying to get their clients some air time. I’ll give it to them too, but not only that I’ll make solid connections I can use for future reference. I love talking about all these topics and I need to carve myself a niche.

Having a Sunday night show for four hours isn’t a bad start, but it isn’t the end all be all either. What I need to do is find a way to combine my comedy skills with my radio skills, and then create a network of people who will pay me for both. I think it’s totally possible.

I know what I’m doing on the air, and I know what I’m doing on stage. I’ve got years of hard earned experience in both areas. Now, the trick is to create my own unique show that allows me to shine at what I do best. That doesn’t mean I need to be the main focus all the time, but I do want to be in the position where I’m driving the bus…or the Mothership.

I’ve talked about doing this before, but it’s not as easy as just deciding to and then it’s a done deal. It would take a lot of calculated changes, and I’m not so sure it’s the right time for that just yet. I need to still be versatile for at least a little while so I can stay employed by mainstream bookers. That’s where my work is right now so why should I put it at risk?

Sending out promotional material to comedy clubs as ‘The King of Uranus’ could be an unbelievably stupid move, or it could be the most brilliant marketing tactic of the 2000’s. Personally, without any media hype I think it would be completely stupid. This has to get attention before any shows see the light of day, and that’s a lot different than just comedy.

The whole point of everything is that I’m getting a strong message it’s time to reinvent myself (or at least part of myself) as The King of Uranus and let it start growing. It won’t be without lumps and bumps and wrinkles and glitches, but what isn’t? I need to just get off my asteroids and DO this project. It’s a calculated crapshoot, but I think it will work.

I already see it working. People beep and wave and give me a thumbs up for my Uranus bumper sticker and license plate on my car, and it’s not even that great a car. It’s a big old tub of rusting Toyota, but I see smiles light up people’s faces in my mirror each and every day. Kids get it. Adults get it. Even cops get it. Now I need to just let go and let it happen.

This is a point at which all entertainers tend to lose confidence. It’s a whole new way of doing things, and old habits die hard. But, some entertainers realize that what they’d been doing for years isn’t going to get any bigger, and the only way to fight it is to reshuffle the deck and play a new hand. That’s where I am now, but I really don’t know how exactly.

What I do know is that some ingredients are in place. I have a gimmick in The King Of Uranus, even though it’s not fully developed. I also have a radio show with a growing line of strange and unusual people asking me to be on it. That alone seems to be a major plus.

I really enjoy doing the radio show, because it’s exactly what I want to be talking about. I’m in charge, and everyone knows it. Like Johnny Carson though, I encourage everybody to have their moment in the sun, and I’m secure enough in myself to let it happen. I really want people to shine, because in the end we all win. That’s what makes a show stand out.

Coast to Coast AM is the real Mothership as far as shows like this go, and I’m a big fan. I’m not trying to take over or compete or do anything like that. I’d love to be a guest on it at some point, maybe even a fill in host, but that’s about it. Our show is a cross between a morning show and Coast to Coast AM, and has a different feel. We‘re an ensemble show.

In a perfect world, we’d be on every night as a warmup act for Coast to Coast AM and I think it would be a perfect fit. We could be a little lighter in spirit and prepare listeners to go all the way off when the big show comes on. I’d love to have comedians on and people like George Clinton who would be fascinating to talk to on the air. That would be a kick.

Is there a demand for an every day show like this? I don’t know, and right now I’m just trying to fill the four hours a week I’ve got with as many interesting people as I can locate on a shoestring budget. So far it’s been very good but now I think I’ve hit the mother lode and we can take it to a whole new level. I’d love to develop a world wide cult following.

The key is to mix everything together though. I can’t afford to keep all these projects as individual entities, or I’ll not have enough time to do any of them. If I’m going to be The King of Uranus, that has to be both a comedy character and my persona as the host of the radio show. It also has to be a spokesperson for Uranus Factory Outlet and all that entails.

That will hopefully involve funny commercials selling funny products from t-shirts to greeting cards to whoopee cushions to joke items of all kinds. It will be the 21st Century version of Colonel Sanders, only instead of selling fried chicken it will be rubber ones.

Colonel Sanders became a walking brand name, logo and spokesman all rolled into one. He had a killer slogan and a unique look and everything fell together. He always wore his white suit with a black string tie, and everyone knew him. What will I wear as the King of Uranus? A cape? A crown? A cod piece? Who knows? I don’t. Not yet. But I’ll find out.

Part of this is scary as hell, but another part is the most amazing adventure I could ever think of. Building something out of nothing has always been of interest, and it still is. I’ve never really had any major success, but the few things I did do have been very satisfying.

I’m starting to see the big picture in my head with all this. The radio show will feed the King of Uranus character, which will boldly find comedy where no man has gone before. Even if this whole thing is a flaming disaster, I’ll have great stories to tell for many years.

Ten Topics To Tweak

April 4, 2010

Saturday April 3rd, 2010 – Vernon Hills, IL

Still making progress on the projects. I took some time to create the physical three ring binders for ‘Schlitz Happened!’ and the comedy class outline and it feels great to be able to look at it and know they’re on their way to being created. It’s a major step to transform a raw idea from unorganized thought to actual reality. Thoughts really do become things.

I took time to get the fonts the way I wanted and while I was at it I also made one for all my comedy notes. I’m working on paring all my material down into just ten major topics, as there really doesn’t need to be more than that. I believe if any act has strong bits, he or she doesn’t need to have a lot of topics. What’s needed is to go deeper into what’s there.

Also, one of the categories can be ‘miscellaneous’ so if there is a stray piece of material that gets laughs, it can go in there. Personally, I like to stay on a topic and try to squeeze a lot out of it. If it’s going well, I can keep bringing it on a given night. If not, I’ll move on.

An example is childhood. For years I never talked about it on stage as there was a lot of pain attached to it that I couldn’t deal with, onstage or off. As I got older, I was able to get in touch with that pain and deal with it. I saw where the funny was, and started doing it on stage joke by joke, bit by bit. Now, I have a nice chunk on being a kid that does very well.

That material really comes in handy when the audiences are young. Everyone can relate to being a kid, it’s just that some of us had it happen longer ago than others. Many nights I have been able to win over a young crowd with my childhood chunk right up front, and I don’t think I’ve scratched the surface of it yet. There’s a whole lot more material in there.

That’s why I made the binder today. I’ve been working on coming up with ten premises for this year to work on that will eventually be my final ten. I’ve got a lot of material I’ve never even done on stage yet, and it’s time to start hauling some of that out and polishing it up. I’m growing as a person all the time, and now I feel a need to grow onstage as well.

I want to do more paranormal based material. I love those topics and I know a whole lot of others do too, judging by the popularity of Coast to Coast AM and even my own show The Mothership Connection. I think there’s a ton of funny stuff there that’s ripe for jokes. I don’t necessarily want to make fun OF it, but I definitely intend to have fun WITH it.

Sports is another topic I’ve known for a lifetime but never delved into on stage. A lot of people don’t like sports, and that’s fine, but those who do are rabid about it. I believe that there’s a market for sports comedy, even though it wouldn’t be everyone. I’m going to put it in as a category and see what I can come up with, just to get it started. It’s in the mix.

I worked this week at Zanies in Vernon Hills. It was a major holiday weekend between Easter and Passover, and they only did one show a night Thursday through Saturday. Still, I was able to work out some of those new bits live on stage and still collect a paycheck on a slow week. I’m really getting into working on all this stuff, and I intend to keep doing it.