Tuesday, December 06, 2005

In Your Ear

I'll be putting an "In Your Ear" on our podcast very soon.

In Your Ear was my attempt at an intelligent call-in radio talk show on WXCI. I think we did pretty good for not knowing what the heck we were doing.

I knew that my interviewing skills sucked. At the time, I didn't know what the problem was - but after about 15 years or so I recognize it as an inability to SHUT UP and let my guest say stuff.

Yeah, it seems simple. But at the time, I couldn't see it. Now I can understand that a good interviewer says NOTHING until he or she absolutely has to, and then it's the kind of question or topic that either creates conflict or passion or both.

Some time in 1989 - when Rush Limbaugh was starting to become popular, and DOORS had been off the air for a while, I thought I'd try my hand at producing a public affairs show. I told Hugh about my idea to call it "In Your Ear" and he furrowed his eyebrows... "In your ear? In your rear?"

Honestly, I hadn't seen that ... but having it pointed out to me, made me like it even more.
So, I wanted to do a talkshow... and recognizing my own weakness and asked a friend Chris Cronin if he would be host. He was an intelligent guy on campus who seemed to know a little about a lot of things (especially in areas of abstract thinking and stuff that made me go 'hmmmmm'), so I thought he could make radio that I wouldn't mind listening to for an hour.

Personally, I think it worked. During that hour, it was his job to chat with the guest, and callers and make things interesting. My job was to answer phones, hold up signs showing the person's first name and topic, listen to the live feed and get ready to dump the delay if someone said a bad word. On some shows, I'm not sure who had the harder job.

I can't remember the exact time period we aired, but two recordings survive on tape. One from about May 1990, and another from January 15th, 1991.

If I were to guess, I belive that it ran from about January 1990 to March or April of 91.
In January of 91, Chris Cronin was unable to do it as much. All the details are lost to the windmills of my mind. But I taped the Jan 15, 1991 show, and it's a different host. That day, apart from being Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday - was the deadline that Bush 1 had given Iraq for invasion.

This is the show I'm going to podcast first, and marks a change for the show in many ways.
Tensions were high on campus. It was the prelude to war, and Chris Cronin was unavailable (though he was one of the first to call in).

I knew I couldn't do it alone, so I asked Chris Kelman, the Managing editor of the ECHO if he would step in. He invited a number of people into the prod room. Brian Kelly, John Laub, and Brett Landy were among them, and they did a pretty good job at such short notice. They all had deeply held opinions, and were outspoken about them - so talking about stuff wasn't as much a problem for them, as it was for some of the callers. They were a bit more 'in your face' than Chris Cronin's laid back style, but it certainly generated calls.

I think he continued as host until March or so. It may have run longer... I can't remember. I may have moved away from being primary engineer, and the show evolved into a more aggressive style than it started. I also had the pressure of graduating... and had to move on.
Shortly afterwards, that version of a WXCI call in talkshow faded into the ether

Was there another?

Someone will have to tell me, and maybe send a tape. (hint hint)


PS - One side note - Chris Cronin is actually doing something very similar to what we started very long ago - he does podcasts and commentary here: http://www.americandissentradio.com/ It was great to hear from him again, and you know... I found that I could listen to him again, the same as so many years ago. WOW! Great stuff Chris!


Blogger M. Wright said...

I always wondered where Chris wound up. Now I know.

I'll be listening to this one.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's good. His delivery is more polished (you'd expect that after a decade and then some) - but despite the improvements (???) it's like going back again.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This podcast has been removed. A new IN YOUR EAR will be up at one point soon.

9:52 AM  

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