We all know about podcasting. BlogTalkRadio (www.blogtalkradio.com) takes podcasting a step further by creating a virtual radio station for all to use. On April 12th, my first show, “Coaches’ Corner,” will be live, at 11 p.m. EST. Callers are welcome. [Call in number: (646) 929-2893]
There’s some history here, and I thought I’d share my story.
In 1992, I was exploring my life’s purpose. I’d dabbled in writing, comedy and music. I’d just taken a “men’s weekend,” and was looking at what might be next. One night, I had an epiphany: I should be on the radio! All of a sudden I had my life’s purpose. I’d be the next Howard Stern. I
felt the most powerful surge through my entire body with this epiphany. Why hadn’t I thought of this sooner? Of course! It was so obvious! I was delirious with joy at this newfound understanding of my life’s purpose. The next day I called the Columbia School of Broadcasting and set up an audition and interview. I journeyed deep into Bergen County, New Jersey to the school. I was soon sitting behind the kind of radio console you would see in a full-fledged studio, following a script to read a commercial and a news flash, and then dashed back to Manhattan to go to work. The admissions director called me later that day to tell me the good news. I was accepted, and had a partial scholarship. My future was here!
That evening, I excitedly sent an e-mail to a friend of mine, Tracy Carman, who was a “radio buff” who was involved to a great extent with radio archiving. Tracy told me I needed to talk to a professional in the business, and gave me the name and number of a former on-air talent who was now a professor, but whose name is long gone to my memory. I called the fellow the next day and told him my big dream. He asked, “How old are you?” “Thirty-five,” I replied. “Thirty-five? You’re too old! You should have thought of this years ago. You don’t have a chance! I mean, sure, if your dream in life is to make $15-20,000 a year working for some 5-watt station in the middle of nowhere, then by all means, go for it. I’d just stick with whatever I was doing if I were you.”
I felt like a giant prick had just deflated my balloon. I totally bought into this “dream stealer’s” advice, and in an instant, my dream was over. That was it. Finito. Of course, I know now that this was a test, and I had not passed it. I quit at the very first bump in the road.
Seventeen years later, a fellow coach, Crystal Williamson, e-mailed me asking if I’d like to be a guest on her BlogTalkRadio show. I responded, “Your what?” Crystal then explained to me that BlogTalkRadio is a website where anyone could create their own virtual radio show. You needed no experience or very much in the way of technical skills. They provide a virtual switchboard, and if you have a computer and a phone, you’re in. I quickly accepted her offer, and the next week called into the show as her special guest.
It was a great experience, and I was reminded of my old dream. I realized that an opportunity was here – perhaps a small version of the original dream, yet an opportunity to realize it. I signed up for an account. Last week, I did a test show, just to get a feel for what it would be like. I did this on the spur of the moment, signing up for the next available slot, at 11 p.m. I took a 15-minute segment, and went on Facebook to let my world know what I was up to, inviting people to call in. One friend, Debbie, posted, “I’m staying up late for this!”
The show was strictly a test. I had no guest, and I had trouble finding the switchboard at first. I fumbled around, struggling to find something to talk about. The feeling was like being on the phone and leaving a message on an answering machine – there was nobody there to respond. Eventually, a topic came into my mind, and I just went with it.
I ended the test two minutes early. A few minutes later, my phone rang. It was Debbie. “I listened! You were good.” I thought she was joking, and asked her to tell me what I was talking about on the air. She gave me a pretty good recap. My first listener!