Posts Tagged ‘The Loop’

Temporary Conditions

November 25, 2013

Friday November 22nd, 2013 – Rosemont, IL

Today was one of those days where a lot of things are going on at once, and it’s tough to keep everything in order. It all ends up melting together into one big gooey mess, like leaving crayons or a sundae out in the sun all afternoon. After a while, it becomes difficult to separate the parts.

Everywhere I turned today it seemed like there was another JFK documentary, tribute or recap of events. It was on TV, radio and online, and after a while it becomes a blur. We have all heard the story a zillion times, but nobody can say what really happened. Those who could are all dead.

If there is someone alive who knows, they’re circling the drain and aren’t telling. There will be arguments about it one hundred years from now just like people will still be debating the Lincoln assassination. They can debate all they want, but the results are the same. Both are still deceased.

Today was also the anniversary of Rodney Dangerfield’s birth in 1921. Rodney has been at the top of my all time favorite comedian list since high school, and probably always will be. It would take one hell of an act to knock him off his perch, and I don’t see that happening any time soon.

I think about Rodney often, because he happened to hit at a time when I was in the wheelhouse of his audience – teenage boys. Woody Allen was a big hit with that group too, but he wasn’t the powerhouse Rodney was, at least where I grew up. Woody was funny, but Rodney was royalty.

I appreciate Woody Allen a lot more now, as I see what a prolific artist he has been throughout his life and still is. Nobody can touch him, but Rodney has nothing to be ashamed of. He put out a lot of product himself, and his fans still love him. I will never tire of watching Rodney’s work.

The point I’m making with all of this is that no matter how big anyone gets in this life, it’s only temporary. Eventually everyone’s day passes, and life moves forward. Was there anybody bigger and more powerful in 1963 than the President of the United States of America? He was the world standard when it came to power and influence, but that obviously didn’t make him bullet proof.

Rodney Dangerfield took a long time to hit the top of his game but he did – and when he did he lasted more than thirty years. What a tremendous thrill ride he had in life, but it eventually ended just like it does for all of us. Win or lose, it all fades away. If so, why not chase all one’s dreams?

This afternoon I recorded five more King of Uranus rants for the comedy website that is going to feature them exclusively, and it was a lot of fun. I’m starting to feel much more at ease with it on every level, and it will only get better with time. I’ve got a long way to go, but it’s great fun.

I’ve got a ton of material to choose from, and the best part is I wrote it back when I was on the morning show at 97.9 The Loop in Chicago in 2004. A lot of it still holds up, and it’s like I have a fresh river of ‘new’ old material to breathe life into as the King. I know there’s potential there.

Tonight I did two strong shows at Zanies Comedy Club in St. Charles, IL. I practiced my craft, and did it well. There will come a time when I’m gone just like JFK and Rodney, but for as long as I’m here I’m going to do what I truly enjoy. Super success or flaming flop, it’s all temporary.

Today is the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination. That's longer than he was alive. Everything is temporary.

Today is the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. That’s longer than he was alive. Everything is temporary.

Today was also the anniversary of Rodney Dangerfield's birth in 1921. He got a lot more respect than he admitted, and deserved every bit of it.

Today was also the anniversary of Rodney Dangerfield’s birth in 1921. He got a lot more respect than he admitted, and deserved every bit of it.

Where’s The Money?

November 18, 2013

Sunday November 17th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

I could really use some good old fashioned positive news right about now. I’m not sure exactly what that news could possibly be or where it might come from, but it feels like everything in my life is holding on by a thread and could come crashing down at any time. I’d like some security.

I’ve been working my tail bone raw lately, but only barely treading water financially. There is no way I can keep up this hectic pace, but I don’t see any choice. I have to keep doing whatever it takes to keep money coming in, but that doesn’t leave much time for anything else. I’m spent.

This last week was a perfect example. It took a massive effort to line up the four days of work with three different bookers, and very rarely does it work out the way it did. More often than not there is always some kind of glitch that pops up like a last minute switch or cancellation and the whole week is ruined. It worked this time, but many more times it doesn’t. It’s a constant hassle.

I could afford to fart around with stuff like this in my 20s because I needed the experience. It’s a completely different ball game now, as I’ve got more of that than I will ever be able to use in a dozen lifetimes. All of that experience was supposed to be used to obtain a payoff at some point.

As it sits, that hasn’t happened. What scares me is there’s no guarantee it ever will. I was close to pay dirt with my radio job at The Loop in Chicago, but that’s ancient history now and nobody cares that it didn’t work out except my former partners Max and Spike. They’re still hurting too.

We all went ‘all in’ and rolled the dice by taking that job, and it blew up in our faces. None of us have bounced back to that level, and it’s a lonely road. We had it in our hands and through no fault of our own it was yanked away. The stars were aligned in our favor, and then they weren’t. So far we haven’t gotten a second chance, and I feel my patience draining. Was that all we get?

This is a cold cruel world, and entertainment is even colder. Comedy or radio or whatever it is, there isn’t any sympathy for anyone who has a rough break. That only means something pops up for someone else, and another body is out of the way. It’s definitely a jungle, and I’m in trouble.

I’ve risked all I have to get to this point, and I have no idea if anyone with power will ever find me. I can kick ass on stage and on the air, but I can’t seem to do it in front of anyone that can put me in front of a mass audience. I love to work, but doing it the way I am is ripping out my soul.

How the hell am I ever going to be able to attract a quality woman for a long term relationship when I’m still out there straining to scrape together rent every month? I’m only fooling myself to think any lady of substance is going to want to be with a borderline vagrant – which is what I am. It’s not what I aspired to, but circumstances have backed me into a corner and that’s where I sit.

Landing a steady income would really turn things around – if nothing else in my own head. I’m sick of living like a cockroach, but I have to keep the money coming in so I have no extra time to devote to looking for my dream babe. I was supposed to have a date today with a woman I’d love to know better, but she backed out on short notice because something came up. Maybe it did, but it sure stomps on my self esteem. If I want a honey, I’ll need some money. I think I’ve earned it.

To get one of these...

To get one of these…

...I'll need a lot more of this.

…I’ll need a lot more of this.

A Trip To Chicago

July 4, 2013

Tuesday July 2nd, 2013 – Chicago, IL

   With gas prices through the roof, I have to really plan my trips of late. I was asked to perform a few minutes at a comedy showcase in downtown Chicago, and even though I really wasn’t up for it I said yes. I’ve been very lax at keeping an eye on the local Chicago scene, and that’s not good.

   There is a whole generation of comedians that I’ve never met, and to them I’m a total dinosaur. I do get to meet a few of them when I host the Rising Star Showcase nights at Zanies, but that’s a tip of the iceberg of all those that out there. There’s a sea of newbies swimming around blindly.

   Most of them think they already know everything and want no part of my generation, and they are making a big mistake. When I was coming up the ranks, I would live to pick the brains of any and all veteran comedians I could hoping to learn the craft of standup comedy. I respected them, and couldn’t wait to hear what they had to say. I don’t sense that hunger from most of this group.

   That being said, there are still some bright ones coming up and I should know who they are and what they’re doing. Comedy has trends just like music or any other form of entertainment, and it behooves anyone who claims to be in the business to know what those are. I should be familiar.

   There are all kinds of clubs and stages in Chicago that have opened in recent years that I’ve not even set foot in. Part of that is because I’ve been working, and part of it is lack of desire. The last thing I want to do on a night off is hang out at a comedy club – or worse yet an open mic – but to stay current that’s exactly what needs to be done. I’ve been bad at this, so tonight I ventured out.

   There were maybe a dozen people tops at the place I was at, and I won’t embarrass anybody by naming names. It’s not easy to get people in a room for anything, much less a free comedy show on a Tuesday night. The room itself was not bad, but it was empty. I feel bad for the people who produced the show. They’re comics starting out, and I have been in their shoes countless times.

   It cost me $16 to park my car, and that’s another hassle of big city life. I have a train that goes to the city from where I live, but that’s about a $15 round trip so I don’t really save much. It’s an expense either way, and without a payoff it’s not one I can afford to make regularly at this time.

   I was flattered to be asked, and I went with the attitude of trying to show support for the young comics coming up the ranks. I know how much it meant when I heard a kind word from someone who was working professionally as I was starting out, so I wanted to return the favor if I could.

   I’m not sure if it was productive or not. I was out the $16 to park not to mention the gas I used, and I ended up doing about ten minutes to a dozen people who stared at me like I was a narc. I’m all for supporting the cause, but this felt like a waste of time and money. Still, I made the effort.

    I did get to hang out with my radio friend Byrd who I hadn’t seen in a while. We were at ‘The Loop’ together in 2004, and he’s now at ‘The Drive’. The guy is a big time talent and has a voice people dream of, but he also works his ass off and I respect him greatly. He doesn’t phone it in.

   The guy eats, sleeps and breathes radio, and that’s what it takes these days to stay in it. There’s a big change in that whole business, and I don’t love it that much quite frankly. I was a comedian on the radio more than a ‘radio guy’, and there’s a difference. Byrd is a radio guy, and that’s not an insult. We had a delicious meal and talked about radio, and that’s what made my trip worth it.

Heidi Ho

June 12, 2013

Monday June 10th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   Once, maybe twice a year – if that – I’ll get an especially dark, nasty, venom soaked email from out of the blue. It usually has misspellings of easy words and embarrassingly poor grammar, and without exception gets sent under a made up email address that of course won’t allow responses.

   It usually prattles on about how I’m ‘going to get what’s coming to me’ and ‘how unfunny and lame I am’ blah blah blah. Most of them are pretty disjointed, and difficult to read because of the mangling of the English language. I might not be Shakespeare, but I try to make coherent points.

   I started getting them in 2004 when I was working at 97.9 ‘The Loop’ in Chicago, and I talked about it on the air. I have no problem if someone doesn’t like me personally, but I do find it very cowardly that they won’t sign their real name and give their contact info to allow me to retort.

   If I legitimately wrong someone, nobody feels worse about it than I do. If someone should tell me to my face something I did irritated them, I’ll be the first one to apologize sincerely and try to do whatever I can in my power to make it right. It’s never possible to please everyone, but I have no desire to have issues with anyone. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work as smoothly as I’d prefer.

   There’s always some snaggletooth self appointed crusader with a flaming bug up their keester that feels a need to “put me in my place.” Really? I matter that much to some anonymous scrub that they’d take time and effort to peck me an email hoping I die soon? Now that’s motivation!

    I hadn’t had one in a long time, but a couple of days ago a new one came. I could tell right off the bat because it was a comment on something I wrote and the person making the comment had the user name ‘heidithinksusuck’. It went on to ramble and babble as I’ve come to expect, and of course there were wishes that I ‘get what’s coming to me’ and the usual psycho claptrap. Yawn.

   Who the hell IS this? I can’t think of anyone I know now with that name. I used to work with a war pig named Heidi at a day job years ago, but we never had issues. Even if we had, it was long ago and I can’t believe she or anyone else would just pop up out of nowhere and spew such hate.

   There’s a deeply dented can here, no matter who “Heidi” is. Maybe it’s a ‘touched by an uncle’ situation or she knows someone who hates my guts. Who can say? As far as I’m concerned she’s some hose bag I don’t know personally. Or maybe it’s a poison pen name of someone I do know.

   I must say, in a warped and twisted way her laughingly feeble attempt at cyber scolding me for perceived sins really cheered me up. I’ve been struggling extra hard lately, but knowing that my survival pisses off pinheads I don’t even know makes me feel like I’m finally starting to make it!

  One of my all time favorite obscure bands Was (not Was) has various versions of the same song on a few of their albums. It’s titled “Woodwork Squeaks and Out Come The Freaks”, and I never get sick of hearing any version of it. This world is full of freaks, and now they’re seeking me out and sending caustic emails. How sad and meaningless are their lives if hating me is their hobby?

   My skin is as thick as a watermelon rind when it comes to stuff like this. I have stood toe to toe for decades with boozed up psychotic hecklers – and won, why should a rambling email make me do anything but laugh? Knowing I piss someone off that badly is a great boost to my self esteem. It gives me hope! If I affect idiots like this, I can affect others positively. Take your pill, “Heidi”.

Clearing The Air

May 16, 2013

Wednesday May 15th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I got up much earlier than I had intended to this morning to do a comedy segment on the ‘Stone and Double T Show’ on WXRX ‘The X’ in Rockford, IL. I really like those guys, and we usually do a weekly call in bit on Monday mornings. We missed this week, so they rescheduled it today.

   I have mixed feelings about doing that show, but it’s fun so if they keep calling I’ll keep doing it. The guys themselves are great, but I’m not sure if anyone who listens to that station likes what I do. It’s really hard edged rock, and that’s just not my audience as a rule. I try to be entertaining, but I’ve never once had anyone come to any show I’ve done saying they’d heard me on ‘The X’.

   Does that mean I should stop doing it? That’s a tough call. It doesn’t hurt to get radio exposure, but it’s not helping either. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years on the wrong radio stations, and I think some of my best work has fallen on deaf ears. It’s discouraging, but that’s how it’s been.

    I still can’t believe I’ve worked for THREE country radio stations. Yikes. I’m not a fan of that genre at all, even though I grew to respect it during my tenure. That’s not my audience either, but those are the stations I was able to get jobs so that’s where I went. It makes me have doubts as to the competence of radio in general if they’d hire me three times at country stations, but they did.

   I’m also experiencing serious doubts about continuing to host ‘The Mothership Connection’ on AM 1050 WLIP in Kenosha, WI. Again, it’s great fun but who’s listening? It’s a small station in Kenosha, WI with a weak night time signal. We do have a certain amount of loyal listeners every week who hear us live and a few more on the net, but is it enough to keep doing it? I’d think not.

   I wish the show came with a paycheck, but it doesn’t. How can I generate one? I don’t have the slightest idea. I have a meeting with John Perry from the station tomorrow and we’ll either come up with a plan to earn some money or I’ll shake his hand and thank him for the fun opportunity.

   The ultimate goal is to get on a station that fits my personality, and find a way to stay on the air and get paid. That’s proven to be a whole lot easier said than done, but unfortunately being taken off the air has not been my fault. If I could manage to put together a nice run somewhere that has a listener base in my wheel house, I’ll be set for life. But I’d also be set for life if I hit the lottery.

   Unfortunately, the odds seem to be about the same. Every time I get on a station that would be a fit, something happens to end it prematurely. ‘The Loop’ in Chicago was a perfect fit, but just as we were starting to get some legs we got fired. Then I was part of ‘Jerry’s Kidders’ with Jerry Agar, Ken Sevara and Tim Slagle on both WLS and WGN in Chicago. That was also a winner.

   Had Jerry not been blown out the door, we’d still be on the air and have that coveted following I’ve not been able to attain no matter how hard I’ve tried. For some reason, I just haven’t had the chance to gel at a place that fits. I love being on with Stone and Double T, but they’re not where I’m ever going to get any mass recognition. If they were Bob and Tom, I’d be a national draw.

   I have a hard time figuring out where the radio business is headed as a whole. It’s always been insane, but there was a certain air of mystery about it. Local programming was plentiful and of a high quality. Now everything is pre recorded in another city and it’s very impersonal. I’d love to have a steady job somewhere, but I don’t know of any that exist. The Stone and Double T shows of the world are becoming rarer and rarer, and that’s a shame. Radio’s best days are behind it.

Financial Insecurity

May 12, 2013

Friday May 10th, 2013 – Caledonia, WI

   Like it or not, I have to knuckle down and make some money. On this cosmic plane, I have not figured out a way to get over the financial hump, and it absolutely stinks. I keep hearing tall tales of how people start with a piece of lint and a gum wrapper and turn it into millions, but I bet nine of ten of those tales aren’t more than fabricated fluff and nothing else. Getting rich is a real bitch.

   Yes people do win the lottery and even businesses hit it big, but more often than not people get in a financial rut and stay there throughout their lives. It’s getting harder to make an honest buck than ever before, and those that do are getting taxed up the poop shoot so why even attempt it?

   One thing I know it’s not is easy. The snake bastards who peddle “no money down” real estate courses on late night TV are oilier than Justin Bieber’s complexion, but the greedy couch maggot masses still get sucked in by the idea of making easy millions without doing anything to earn it.

   I’ve always been willing to earn it, but how? I’ve been so busy focusing on creative endeavors, studying financial fundamentals has been left behind. This is true for millions besides me, and in no way have I ever thought I was alone. The clock ticks, and I need to start socking away cash.

   But it’s so damn difficult without stability. One week or month will go well, but then there will be some fallouts or unexpected bills and before I know it I’m back in the hole deeper than I ever was. If I had more stable income I could plan better, but who does these days? It’s not realistic.

   Then there are those who inherit a hefty wad. Wouldn’t that be sweet? Without a doubt, but too bad for me – everyone in my family tree that could possibly have left me something is now dead and I didn’t get a nickel. I’m not asking for millions, but it would be nice to have a little security.

   It’s no fun floating aimlessly like a dead fish from week to week. Struggling to scrape together a living takes away a lot of creative energy that could be spent on much more meaningful things. I’d much rather be planning a benefit show to help a worthy cause than hoping my rent gets paid.

   I thought for sure I’d be financially secure by now, and by all rights I should be. I was lined up perfectly with my radio job at The Loop in 2004, and that would have been it. I would have had a great run of comedy to go along with the radio and by now I bet I’d have enough saved to retire.

   Woulda, coulda, shoulda. The whole world came crashing down, and it was no fault of my own but I sure am suffering all these years later. Had I been able to get another gig or have time to put another plan together I may be sitting in a different spot altogether. But I didn’t. I had to get back out and start piecing together a living in this cold cruel world where few care about anyone else.

   I thought about all this more than a little today as I loaded a container with trinkets and baubles I’ve been buying at thrift stores and flea markets to take to a person to help me sell on Ebay for a profit. I hope. I don’t have time to fart around with it myself, but I’m trying to start an income so I’m hiring someone to do it for me. It’s a friend of a friend, and I have no idea if it will work out.

  What else can I do but keep slugging? I defy anyone to start from ground zero and get rich with no help from anyone. I’m sure it’s been done and will continue to be done – but it’s about as rare as rappers who say ‘ask’. The odds are stacked against us, even in America. Sorry to say, it’s not the easy cakewalk we’re lead to believe. I’m doing my best, but I could use a break about now.

Breathing Easier

December 27, 2012

Wednesday December 26th, 2012 – Reno, NV

   I always breathe a little easier on December 26th, knowing another Christmas is finally OVER. Some years are better than others, but for some reason this one was a nasty bastard. I would love nothing more than to ‘get over it’ or ‘turn the frown upside down’ like a lot of well meaning but completely clueless people like to say, but it’s just not that easy. If it were, I would have done it.

It’s like Superman being bound and gagged and lowered into an Olympic sized swimming pool full of kryptonite, and then people wondering why he can’t get out. Everyone has their weakness, and this is mine. It’s also a big hurdle for most dented cans. Family pain haunts us for a lifetime.

I wish I could ‘fix it’, but it’s beyond my capability. I’m too busy out there slugging it out on a daily basis trying to keep the bills paid. Who’s got extra money to see a doctor and get some help when every penny I’m making is going to pay rent, keep my car running, feed myself and get my IRS debt shrunk down? I couldn’t support a family right now if I wanted to – but I really want to.

Had life worked like it looked like it was going to, I’d be sitting pretty working at The Loop in Chicago doing the morning show with my good friends Spike Manton and Max Bumgardner. We would be making a great living, and having a blast doing it. I’d be known around Chicago and an absolute champion for charitable causes across the board. It was right in our grasp, and then not.

I still can’t figure out why it went down like it did – but it did and the last several years haven’t been a shadow of what they could have been. An opportunity like that doesn’t come often, and it came at a time when we were all ready for it. We would have been great in that role, but it’s out of our hands now and that’s another reason the holidays stink. We were fired on December 17th.

My whole life would have been better on so many levels, but it isn’t and here I sit by myself in Reno trying to pay bills for another week. It’s hard as hell not to be bitter or depressed about the way things worked out, but I’m trying my best to hang in there and keep fighting. It’s a struggle.

I realize I’m not the only one in a rough spot, but sometimes that doesn’t help. My own issues seem insurmountable, and I feel like I’m Superman in that pool of kryptonite. Once I get out I’m confident I’ll be able to get my super powers back, but while I’m down it feels like it’s hopeless.

This week in Reno at Catch A Rising Star will be fun. The first show tonight was solid and the club is beautiful. The staff is all friendly, and they’ve been working there for years so they have a grip on how to do things correctly. I could tell in the first two minutes I was going to like it here, and I have no doubt shows will go well all week. Tonight’s show was a great way to kick it off.

Working in places like this every week for decent pay would help relieve a lot of pressure and make life a lot more relaxed. If I knew I was booked out for a year or even six months, I’d have a little breathing room and be able to get caught up and get my head together. I can ace the shows, it’s having to hunt down the bookings every week that’s the hassle. For this week, I’ll be alright. Christmas is over, and so is my dream gig at The Loop. It’s time to get myself back in a groove.

Catching Up Late

December 23, 2012

Wednesday December 19th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   It sure didn’t take much for technology to pass me by. For as geeky and nerdy as I can be about a lot of things, gadgets have never been of much interest to me. I couldn’t care less about playing video games, even though it’s a multibillion dollar industry worldwide. It just never grabbed me.

‘Pong’ was my first exposure to that world, and I have to say I was less than impressed. I know that was the dark ages and they’re light years ahead of that now, but I have absolutely no interest in getting caught up. My time is limited as it is, why do I need to blow away virtual space aliens?

I probably should also know a lot more about computers than I do, but that doesn’t interest me very much either unfortunately. I could have probably made a nice side income fixing computers or designing websites, but I just never went in that direction. I chose something stable – comedy.

It’s laughable how dumb that choice seems now, but that was what interested me so I chased it and excluded everything else to the point of being embarrassingly deficient in having knowledge about things millions of others have known of and used for years. I’m a self made ‘techno-tard’.

That being said, I finally broke down and bought myself an iPod a few weeks ago. I’d meant to do it for years, but I just never got around to it. My music tastes are mostly old school funk, and I have plenty on CDs, cassettes and even 8 tracks. I felt no pressing need to get all 21st century, but I’ve been doing a lot of exercise walking and I wanted to upgrade what I listen to while I do it.

I did it on the cheap as I tend to do, and went to a pawn shop near my house and scored one for $80 with tax out the door that will more than meet my current needs.  The guy who sold it to me was right about my age, so at least I didn’t feel totally humiliated by having a teenager mock me.

I’ve been experimenting with it for a couple of weeks now, and I love it more every day. I like the fact that I can burn only the songs I like and leave the rest off so I never have to hear them as long as I live. Everyone knows what it’s like to buy a CD and like only one song. What a waste.

I have a ton of CDs that I only like a few songs on, and I’ve been feverishly building myself an outstanding collection of tunes tailor made for me. Music radio stations are in trouble because no program director on Earth can choose what you like better than you. I’m enjoying the freedom.

I’ve got all my Parliament/Funkadelic CDs loaded in as well as everything else I like including stuff I really haven’t listened to all that much. I hope to add and subtract over time and develop a broader musical scope. What amazes me most is the amount of songs I can pack onto this thing.

My current count is 2518 songs, even though not all of them are going to stay there forever. I’ll keep farting around until I get more familiar with the process, but that’s a lot more songs than I’ll probably need in about six lifetimes. When I worked at The Loop in Chicago, I was told the play list hovered around 400 songs, with some getting shuttled in and out to freshen the pot from time to time. It may be late, but I’m catching up at my own pace. What’s next, a daisy wheel printer?

Watered Down Thoughts

August 10, 2010

Sunday August 8th, 2010 – Kenosha, WI

I’m in a low mood and I really shouldn’t be. But I am. I’m trying to figure out what did it but I don’t think it was just one thing. It’s a lot of little things coming together, but they add up and now I’m feeling lower than a cricket‘s pecker. I hope I’m not in another funk.

Part of it is deep down I really don’t want to go out on the ship, especially for as long as I’m going. I really do appreciate the work and everyone there has been wonderful to work with, it’s just that the timing seems to be wrong. I would have loved this ten years ago.

Even five years ago when I got fired from the radio gig at The Loop. I had money saved then, and I would have saved more and been sitting pretty right now and not had to really do much of anything I didn’t want to do. I think I would have appreciated it a lot more.

I still do, and I’ll get to see some exotic places, even if it is in the dead of summer when it’s as hot as it gets. If I’m lucky, I’ll get some additional bookings at the peak times when it’s winter in the north. Eventually, I hope to be able to schedule myself whenever I want.

I guess a lot of it boils down to freedom too. Money equals freedom of choice. I had the world by the t’aint just a few years ago, and I really didn’t know it. I was totally debt free when I went to Salt Lake City in 2000, and that’s when everything started to disintegrate.

I had a nice radio gig making $50K a year, not great for a morning show in that size of a market, but very good for a cockroach like me used to piecing weeks together. I also did a lot of comedy out there, and lived off of that money and banked 100% of my radio salary.

I had a nice apartment a mile from where I worked and a nice girlfriend and a shiny red Cadillac I paid cash for and life was on the up. I was saving money every week, then I got snaked into buying a house. That’s when it all came crashing down. Hard. It took a while, but eventually I lost the job and the house went a few months later. I’ve struggled since.

Then I got the job at The Loop which turned things in a good way again. I started saving the radio money and again living on my comedy gigs. That turned things around in a short time, and life was again on the upswing. I was used to living like a bug and was in heaven knowing my car was paid for and I was putting money away every week. That’s success.

I had zero debt and $40K in the bank and was just ending my first year and hoping we’d get signed to our second contract, which we would have done if the company hadn’t been sold. Instead of showing us respect, they showed us the door and it hasn’t been anywhere close to the same since. My partners Max and Spike have had to struggle just as I have.

That was five years ago now, and it’s never going to come back. I didn’t think it would at the time, but I sure didn’t expect it to play out like it did. I’ve had to piece and paste all my life together month by month, trying to find the next somewhat steady gig. It looks to be the cruise ships, so I won’t complain. I’ll be grateful and go in and give my best work.

Radio Karma Lives!

February 11, 2010

Wednesday February 10th, 2010 – Milwaukee, WI

I’ve been involved in standup comedy, professional wrestling and radio in my lifetime, and by far it’s radio that has had the biggest number of snakes. For some reason, there are backstabbing maggots in that business who are always looking to get by at the expense of others and they don‘t care who gets burned. I’ve seen it in comedy too, but not like radio.

Life is difficult enough without having a certain few malicious bung holes adding to the degree of difficulty, but there always seem to be a few who succeed. They always seem to show up at a low point in time, and instead of trying to bring healing they bring napalm.

One name that comes immediately to mind is Eric ‘Mancow’ Muller. He’s a loudmouth on the air, but never really said anything. When Howard Stern made being a ‘shock jock’ fashionable, Mancow copied him and didn’t do a very good job, but there were slots that needed filling because radio is a business of copying success and redoing it elsewhere.

Mancow made a lot of money for many years, even though everyone I knew who was in the business couldn’t stand him on air or off. He was brash and rude and treated people as if he was better than them, and just became a total pain in the ass to deal with. But, he had those almighty ratings, and that meant he was able to keep up the illusion for a long time.

When I worked at The Loop in Chicago, the station was sold to the same company that Mancow was working for, Emmis Communications. We were forced to go to a ‘Welcome to Emmis’ party and it was a horrific experience. We all felt like step children and it what made it worse was it was on their turf. We were in their building and it was humiliating.

The new GM introduced Mancow who pompously got up and said a few words and we felt even worse when he came up to us afterward and allowed us to kiss his ring. Nobody likes to be talked down to, and that’s exactly what he did. We knew our days were few.

A few weeks later when those fine folks at Emmis blew us out the door the week before Christmas, Mancow went on the air and apparently started bashing us mercilessly with no real reason for it. We were already gone, and the threat to his little babblefest was over.

I never listened to it because I never found his verbal diarrhea worth wasting my ears on, but I heard it from a lot of people so I don’t doubt it happened. I know my partners Spike and Max didn’t appreciate it very much and there really was no reason for it except spite.

I remember mentioning it to our then ‘boss’ at Emmis, who only served as that to blow us out the door, and he just laughed and said “Hey, that’s ‘Cow.” I wanted to jump over his desk and strangle him, but I needed the severance pay. He was fooled by the illusion.

Spike and Max and I got boned, and it changed all of our lives for the worse. We’re still recovering from it several years later, but we’re all still in there slugging and living life as best we can. We all resented how Mancow’s antics went unpunished, but we moved on.

Then, conservative talk radio became the hot thing and Mancow once again lacking any vision of his own decided to copy that trend and try to ride Rush Limbaugh’s coat tails so he stumbled in that direction. He’d blown his morning show with Emmis and was trying a new direction. As fate would have it, he ended up replacing Jerry Agar’s shift on WLS.

We’d all heard some rumors about how he got that shift, but nobody would confirm any of them. What was confirmed was that Jerry was out of the dream job he’d spent years of his life working to get. He had ratings and seemed to be on his way, but he too ended up a victim of the Mancow’s mean spirit. Mancow bashed him on the air too, and it got ugly.

Jerry said he called him and they talked about it, but then Mancow denied that and said all kinds of things that apparently weren’t true. I have no reason to doubt Jerry’s word, as we’ve known each other over twenty years. The whole thing stinks, and it’s a very similar stench to the one that happened years ago at the Loop. And again, none of it was needed.

I’ve talked about my competitors in radio on the air quite a bit. It’s a strategy. It’s like a professional wrestler trying to drum up business for an upcoming match. I’ve blurted out all kinds of things over the years, but it was part of the game. I had no malice toward any of the people personally, it was an act. And, in the end, I lost. They had jobs, I got fired.

This is not the same thing. I’m not the only one who has a Mancow story and neither is Jerry. Time after time he would get a little too personal, and it was ALWAYS when there was no chance of retaliation. Jerry and I were already fired. There’s no reason to do that.

I guess I blame the stations to some extent, but as a human being there’s no reason to be that damn mean spirited, especially to those who can’t fight back. Jerry got screwed over big time, and he still hasn’t recovered from it. He’s piecing each month together and has a family and a mortgage, just like my partners Spike and Max did at the Loop. Life is hard.

All that being said, I heard the news today that Mancow was fired after his shift at WLS and I can’t say it made me sad, even a little. I know I shouldn’t rejoice in the downfall of others, but he’s a guy that’s had it coming for a long time, not only in my opinion but SO many others in radio who have had to endure his cocky prattle for so long. Karma lives!

I don’t wish the guy bad, but I absolutely DO wish him to have to feel what it’s like to have to struggle to pay the mortgage every month and have the experience the stress of a wife and kids breathing down his neck wondering when and where that next gig will be.

Mancow is a mean spirited bully, just as my father was. At one time, my old man was a  big mean evil ogre that everyone was afraid of. Then, he died a shriveled up pathetic loser and there weren’t enough people who cared to have a funeral. He’s gone and isn’t missed.

I doubt if very many people are taking Mancow out for dinner tonight to lament his fate, and as for me I wouldn’t piss on his teeth if his mouth was on fire. I have enough faults of my own to work on and I’m not claiming perfection, but this news was LONG overdue.