A lot of time has passed between my college years and now. It is only 11 years, but it seems much longer. In that time, I have worked in my chosen profession and done pretty well at it, but I have always yearned to get back into my true passion in college: radio.
I was a Sports Director at Lehigh University's campus radio station (WLVR) back in 1997-98 and put in over 2 years at the station, broadcasting games, manning the board for a weekly 2-hour oldies and 80's music show, and in '97-'98, hosting a 30-to-60 minute Sports Reporters-like round-table show with the WLVR sports broadcasters. After finishing college and actually using my major (yes, doing this actually is a novelty -- a Computer Science degree yielding a job in computers!), my radio days appeared farther and farther behind me in my rear-view mirror.
This was a memory best left to be a memory, lest I be one of those hangers-on to college. What if I tried on a professional level and failed? What if I realized this was not for me after all? After a few times visiting the old school and saying hello in the radio booth at a couple of football games, the time had passed and I was on to different -- if not, better -- things. But, I always wondered...until now.
I will admit, the thought of the concept of talking on the phone or through my computer does not strike me as terrestrial radio at its best, and it is not. Think terrestrial radio with unlimited channels, shows, and time slots. If you do, you have BlogTalkRadio.com. My cousin, Wills, told me about it in February, and I immediately registered. The only question was: how can I get started?
I figured out it was as easy as scheduling a show and calling into a conference line with a phone. That's it. You can talk through your computer and it would probably enhance the quality, but before I sink some dough into getting a podcasting microphone or invest in any other equipment or VoIP service, I wanted to get ahead of this and, ahem, start the show.
I wanted to start fresh with the start of the baseball season (you know, hope springs eternal, renewal of spring, every team is 0-0, blah, blah, blah). So, I wanted to launch my show the night before Opening Day, Sunday, April 5th. Up until a few days before last night, I was still unsure whether I would do it. The old jitters started coming back. The old questions started to re-appear.
But, although I may try to make it sound professional, it is a little fireside chat with few people, if anyone. I am not on anyone's payroll and it was free to do this. And, there is only one way to find out if I still have what I think it might take to do this someday.
I scheduled the show at 6pm for an hour. My one guest, Heather Yunger, may not be joining me, so I was thinking of cutting the show to 30 minutes. Nope, let's go for it. I decided to try to fill it myself. Half of me wanted to run out to a dump to see if I could find the old Merv Griffin set and dress up like Kramer. Really.
At 6pm, I was on the air and even the on-air feelings came back. This has to be real, right? It isn't the glorified "imaginary tea party" my guest (who ended up accidentally standing me up) termed it to be. Well, it is an imaginary tea party and my imaginary friends had a good time! I had a hard time stopping at 60 minutes, but I did. I wanted to talk baseball, hockey, fantasy baseball, and fantasy hockey, and I only had time for MLB and NHL talk. I did not even have time for predictions. But, since no one was probably listening, there's always next week.
A difference between WLVR and BlogTalkRadio is that all episodes are archived in MP3 format, so you are immortalized forever. Any mistake can be replayed a hundred times. As a perfectionist, I have already done that, 18 hours after the show. At WLVR, once you made the mistake, it was out there and gone, just like that. That is, except for the occasional comment that sticks in your colleagues' heads, like trying to take time out for a 2-minute warning in college football (oh, yeah, there is no 2-minute warning in college football). Sometimes, learning the hard way is the best way.
I am already looking forward to my next episode next weekend. In time, I hope those imaginary friends make some room for some new friends...and enjoy the tea.
To check out my show, visit my show page at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/The-StatMan. Episode No. 1 can be heard in its entirety right there or you can download it and play it on iTunes. Let me know what you think in Comments.