Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Face for Radio

Pardon the dust - it's been awhile since the cleaning lady has come by. Most of the time, my days and weeks fly along with a pretty constant signal-to-noise ratio. Going to work, doing the home-things that need doing, remembering who goes where on any given night - it all whizzes by, the Remarkable made Unremarkable by time and speed.

But last week was different. Through the good and generous graces of my friend, Sean Twist, I was afforded the singular experience of becoming a radio personality for just a few minutes on busy Thursday night. While he's the linch-pin of the cult-classic podcast, All Your Basecast, Sean also graces the radio airwaves of London, Ontario every Thursday at 4:40pm on CJBK radio headlining a segment called Geek Corner - highlighting the latest in video games, comics, movies, and other concerns of geekdom.

Here's how it all came down:

Monday Night: Sean mentions to myself and AYB co-conspirator, Brian, that the three of us might have a chance to do a year-end, extended version of Geek Corner. We're game, of course, since it all sounds a bit abstract.

Wednesday Afternoon: The abstract becomes concrete as Sean emails/Twitters that the year-end Geek Corner show is going to happen the following afternoon. The time and duration are TBD, but Sean has a show outline that Brian and I need to plan around. Phone calls and emails are exchanged. Commitments are made. I have the sweats. Podcasting for a small number of listeners is one thing, yammering live on the radio for real people listening in real-time is something else.

Thursday Morning: I start cobbling together my thoughts according to Sean's outline: best game of 2010, biggest gaming surprise of 2010, and the like. I feel better about pulling this off, and then it dawns on me that I need to tell people to listen: my family, some co-workers, some friends. The sweats return and they bring their friends, the fanged butterflies, to gnaw at my guts for a bit.

Thursday Afternoon: Sean gives us the official showtime: starting at 4:20pm, ending around 5:00pm, be at the studio by 4:00pm. I send updates to all those people I told to listen in and begin my deep breathing exercises. I'm on the road to the studio by 3:30pm, fighting traffic all the way to arrive by 4:00pm, only to discover I'm the first to arrive. To my relief, Brian pulls into the parking lot behind me. Sean is tied up in traffic and arrives just as we head into the studio.

Showtime: After some introductions and waiting around a bit, the three of us are sitting on one side of the studio while Mike and Al, the radio pros who run the CJBK afternoon show, occupy the other side of the studio. Mike and Al are obviously in charge - just great guys who keep everything running smooth-as-glass while making sure us amateurs are fitting in properly. Mike does the intros, Sean sets the stage, and then we're off. Some 40 minutes later, we're outside the studio shaking hands with our hosts and talking about Epic Mickey.

The first 10 minutes of Geek Corner were slightly terrifying. I'm glad I made notes for myself because it was altogether too easy to go blank or get tongue-tied - problems I never seem to have when sitting in a bar with friends. Go figure. But Mike and Al (as well as Sean and Brian) are just so good about keeping things moving and keeping things lively. By the end of the segment, I was having a blast and would love to have kept things going.

Upon arriving home that night, I discovered no adoring crowds waiting in my driveway nor was a salutory telegram from The Mayor sitting in my mailbox. I did get a few phone calls and emails from surprised friends and family - all saying we sounded great.

My son, ever the realist, was disappointed that no one talked about the upcoming Nintendo 3DS and cautioned that my voice sounded a little weak at times. But he dutifully recorded Geek Corner for me so that I might store it away in my scrapbook. Against my better judgement, I listened to that recording and, predictably, I thought of approximately 1,000 things I could have done better. That's par for the course.

It's now Sunday and my 15 Warholian minutes have just about counted down to zero. Monday night we'll be recording another episode of All Your Basecast, and we're bound to re-hash our Geek Corner experiences. I may also get a few extended seconds come Tuesday night when I waltz into the dressing room over at Kinsman Arena and lace on my skates for another clash between Team White and Team Black. I'll suffer some good-natured barbs as I tell this story again. Somebody might even buy me a beer.

But soon it will be just a cool memory - something Remarkable that rises above that daily thrum of being a guy from the 'burbs who drives a beige minivan. My sincere thanks go to Sean, Brian, Mike, and Al. Thanks for allowing me to have so much fun and for adding a pretty interesting page into my mental scrapbook. Maybe same time next year, eh?


David said...

Fuckity fuck. Of all the days to miss Geek Corner. Fucking radio and its ephemeral qualities. Did I say fuck yet? I am the worst fan/friend ever.

Crazylegs said...

No, you're not. You're a guy with stuff to do. But the Internet - it's here for you, man. It wants to take care of things. And I hear from a reliable source that an MP3 is available - either in your Inbox or (soon) via iTunes (All Your Basecast).