The winter of 2008-2009 was where I learned the art of radio broadcasting. It isn’t as difficult as one would think. My show was live, no preproduction save for the writing of the show to guide me through time slot. PJ would open the show and I would do a couple of segments with music, news or an interview. This is where I met Chris Damico of Great Blue.
It is never what you know, it is who you know.
Chris had this great band called The Great Blue. He also ran a recording company called Rivet Productions and was close friends with my sons. He and his band appeared on the show several times to play. In return I got to cut some promotional cd’s for the show. It took two hours to make a thirty second bit. Anyone who does recording knows what I mean.
This is also where I began to run into the drunken obnoxiousness of the guy on before us. I told you about those characters. PJ noticed it also and would get testy about getting on air on time. It rarely happened. I was in no position to say anything about it while there but I would easily lend my opinion to PJ after they left.
Hey, I like to partake but business is business and as much as I would have something of my own, I was gearing up for the show and always had my material in order. It was all fun and games while ramping up to the moment, but then we would stand there for the last five minutes while the clock ticked down and we had not been given the chance to seat ourselves and get our show uploaded. It drove PJ nuts!
You have to picture in your mind how this was. Imagine you have taken all your music collection and tossed it onto a table and just spread it out. Now open all those cases and toss that around. That’s what the console looked like. Fine, that’s his style. However, it was still lying around there as we were going live. We had to clear a ‘spot’ just for ourselves.
Oh, but it gets better (or, worse): Then as we are live, he would be shuffling around in the studio getting his act together snapping cases and packing in the backround. This continued well into my tenure and would grow in scope and become downright unprofessional.
Things were about to get worse for Captain PJ. He would enter a spate of bad luck I would not wish on anyone.
During one of our shows in Jan of 09 PJ asked me to take the music and our bags to the car and get it started. The show was wrapping down to its last ten minutes and it was cold out. I agreed, good idea.
So I go outside and walk around to the driver’s side door. The car is parallel parked along the curb right at the studio frontdoor. The streets are deserted except for one car coming down Main Street my way. I got the key into the door and looked down the road one more time to see if I could get into the car fast enough before this guy was passing me. Good thing I did. The first thing I noticed was that he was speeding up and veering slowly into a direct line to me. I let go of the key and looked the other way. Don’t want to get hit trying to avoid getting hit. I step back with the bags and now I can see that this idiot is going to crash into PJ’s car. I got about to the middle of the road right over the double yellow line when..WHAM!!!
Bits of plastic and glass mushroomed right in front of me. Good thing I wear glasses. I got peppered. The two cars heaved forward from the front door across an intersection a distance of over sixty feet. They both stopped with PJ’s car fish tailing into the street kitty-corner and the two idiots hitting the stop sign at the intersection. A guy had been coming the other way and was now stopped opposite the scene.
“Did you see that?!” I said.
“ I saw that, don’t look good.”
I walked over to the opposite curb and put down the bags.
“Dude, you got a phone? Can you call 911?” I said.
“Already on it. You OK?” I looked towards him and nodded then headed slowly towards the wreckage.
I really thought these guys were dead. They had to hit going at least fifty. I looked into the car and could see two bloody heads buried in now deflating airbags. In the distance I could hear sirens from the city. I suddenly thought of PJ. He had not come out. He was unaware of this whole thing and was going to lose his shit when he comes out.
Emergency vehicles were everywhere, lights, sound, Jaws of Life, onlookers, the whole nine yards. All we were missing was a news chopper. The idiots were (actually) OK, just wasted. One of them was using his cell phone to tell some one that “..yeah, yeah, we’re on our way..” The other one was accusing me of cutting him off. It was an amazing moment. The cops placed them all under arrest right on the scene.
Then PJ came out of the studio.
“My caaa! My fucking caa! (his thick Mass accent). “What the fuck happened to my fucking caa!”
What could I do? The cops were great and helped calm him down. I felt really bad and kind of blamed myself. I have horrible luck and most things go in a generally bad direction for me. This was not the first time I’ve had experiences like this.
All we could do was sit there and watch. The cops took our statements and in under an hour the streets were quiet again. Although we were fine there was one unresolved issue. We were now without transportation, we were both broke and it was three am. I soon learned how comfortable a desk chair can be for sleeping and the reviews are not good.
We ended up going home around seven with the Latin Christian DJ who did a religious show. He lived in our town and would be going that way anyhow. He was amazed over the story. Needless to say nothing got done that day.
For a couple of weeks my wife and I drove PJ to and from work. I was feeling really bad the whole time. I also drove to the station even though I had a revoked license. We even took a trip tot the junkyard to sawsall his trunk open to get his clothes and tools.
One day in February I get a phone call from his sister. PJ was in the hospital with pneumonia and diabetes. That week’s show was cancelled as well as the next. I went to visit him over this time. He looked like hell but was responding and alert, so I felt happy for him and told him so. I was given instructions on what to do and he told me that I was taking over that slot. He was going to be in the hospital for weeks and he told me that it was time to take over.
In February of 2009 The Meat and Potatoes Show went full on air.