In college, I was all about broadcasting — radio and TV was my destination. My dad was in radio for a number of years (which, again, is code for “I don’t remember how many”) and I got the bug late in high school after spending most of my youth to that point obsessed with becoming an architect. I actually started designing houses in 4th grade. By 5th grade my parents had already bought me tons of drafting equipment that allowed me to extend what seemed to be some kind of natural ability. By 14 I could have sent a set of plans to a contractor and built my dream house. But the dream was not to be until much later, and even then, not as I had originally imagined.
The problem with radio in those days (the late 1800’s) was that working in small markets, which was pretty much a requirement to get started in the business, virtually guaranteed a lifestyle of poverty laced with a dose of small town fame (which softened the blow of poverty because you occasionally got free stuff from local merchants). I knew this from my dad’s experience which ultimately caused him to leave the most enjoyable work of his entire life and return to the land of the bland in search of a better financial future. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen with any degree of permanence. I’ve often thought that if he could have somehow stayed with it, he would have lived a lot longer. That idea has lived in me much of my adult life. It’s only been within the last 10 years that I’ve proactively altered the course of my own life to prove the point.
After college, and seeing the difficulty my dad was dealing with, combined with my new found desire to make money, I stepped away from the direction I was going so I could bounce around the land of the bland in search of a better financial future. This pursuit included going to law school for a year and half, selling life insurance (until I was let go for NOT selling life insurance), a year of selling Gallo Wine (where I learned to effectively compress a day’s work into 3 hours while avoiding management scrutiny), and finally a few years in the garment contracting business (where I learned how to lease 18 cars at one time*).
Eventually I found some footing and got into a business with friends that allowed me, for the first time, to use some of that natural ability I had forgotten about combined with another passion I’ve not yet mentioned… guitar. Although it was not exactly designing houses, I discovered I could design other things… like business cards, flyers, ads, album covers, brochures, etc. Having already awakened the sales gene (presumably acquired from my dad with the creative gene coming from my mom) with my previous selling experience, the hybrid me was born (metaphorically, of course).
So the hybrid me, which is basically who I am, persisted for many years, but with conflict. You see, the two genes were often operating in opposition to each other. The sales gene was all about making money, status, things and appearances. It was often the dominant driving force (with many cars). But the creative gene was always present and often, through pure cleverness, was able to make its way into my heart leaving sales outside mumbling smugly, “It’ll never work.” And sometimes it didn’t. So the battle raged on for decades resulting in exactly what you might imagine… a roller coaster ride.
Things changed about 10 or 11 years ago (which I do remember well). External conditions (described with detail in my upcoming book) forced me to convene a peace summit between the genes. The summit went on for three years. It seemed like forever at the time, but when it came to a close, I walked out of the room a different person in many ways (all good in my opinion). There was little fanfare (that anyone else noticed), but a seismic shift had taken place within me and the two genes, who worked at odds with each for so many years, had finally learned to work happily together. It’s been that way ever since. What a difference!
Over the last 10 or 15 years, I’ve worked on a number audio projects (and some video) allowing the old radio/TV ambition to resurface from time to time. A couple years ago, it became clear to me that I could now circle back to the earlier dream without fear or conflict. So that’s how Podcasting (and a few other things) became part of my ongoing endeavor.
*Don’t try this at home.