Thursday, April 15, 2010

Radio Daze

Man, I am sleepy. Every day this week, I have hopped out of bed somewhere around 5:00 in the morning to do sportscasts on a local radio station. I'm filling in for a former long-time co-worker, Al LeGrand, who is on a business trip. Aside from the general kick-in-the-pants I get from being live on the radio again, there is also the honor of working with local broadcasting legend Larry Ryan.

Larry is an institution in town. Except for a brief period of insanity when he left to work in Chicago and Milwaukee, he has been on the radio here for as long as I can remember. Although our paths have crossed many times over the years, until this opportunity to sit in for Al presented itself, I had never shared airtime with Mr. Ryan.
As an illustration of how significant a presence he is in the control room, you need only to look at the control board. Right there, under "Mic 3," there is an label that says "Larry." To his credit, he and his crew have welcomed me warmly, treating me with kindness and professional courtesy. They have included me in their on-air conversations, well beyond the scope of twice-hourly sportscasts. I hope I have been sufficiently witty. It's not so easy to be the odd man in on a collective sense of humor that broadcast partners like Larry, Al, and "Mr. Weather" have been polishing for decades. All I can really do is be aware of their general demeanor and remember we're doing an oldies show.

This is not the first time I've worked in this format. In the early 90's, I did this morning show every day. That is, until my broadcast partner and I were cancelled without notice because the new owner was bringing in local radio legend Larry Ryan. That's the nature of radio. We actually talked about it a little this week. Trust me, Larry remembered. For me, it was a part-time job, so it really wasn't that big of a thing. This is his living. Besides, he's much better at it than I am. The owner brought me back, anyway, and gave me a talk show I hosted for more than a decade. So, it all worked out.

The morning slot is the most prized shift in radio. There is prestige that comes with hosting "morning drive." There's also a certain amount of pressure. First of all, you have to arrive before sunrise and presumably prepare your presentation. You need to be engaging, informative, witty and personable. For some people, it just comes naturally. Others are able to create a character who embodies all those traits. After all these years on the air, I think the guys on the Ryan Radio Program are a little of both. Their jingle says "Mornings are more fun with Larry, Al and Mr. Weather." I'm inclined to agree with that. I hope the next time Al is gone, they invite me back.
For now, though, I'm going to have my own kind of fun sleeping in for a few days.

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

For those of us who grew up listening to "Lovable Larry Ryan" every single morning on the way to school, I can see why it would have been fun for you to share the broadcast with him. AM radio was IT back then, unless your car had an 8 track player, lol.