Lain's Log

Dead Air

June 10/11

While awaiting things to unfold with the house sale, thought I'd sit down and write about dead air. It's a subject I feel really passionate about. I know exactly why, when and how that passion began.

When I joined CFTR radio in 1976 - (now 680 news), it was a high flying, loud rock station with brief newscasts weaved around the music. We were always instructed there could be NO dead air. EVER. The poor ops were paranoid of not hitting a cart on time or a song coming to an end before someone made it into the news booth or anyone forgetting to turn the mic on! OUR job was to FILL that air with sound, music or voice at ALL times. It was drummed into us by the news director, Robert Holiday and by the station manager and program director. NO DEAD AIR - EVER!!!!!!!!!!! - Got that??

I just loved the concept. Action central. (the same motto I've lived by my whole life - NEVER a dull moment!)

Years ago, I was invited to make a speech to a small group of students in my son, Max's class. I think the kids were about 12. I chose to talk about dead air and the art of filling it - not just on the radio, but in life. We talked about the ebb and flow of conversation and how to keep it going at all times, when speaking to a friend or anyone!

For years, I was paid to interview people, ask questions, obtain information and I always tried to do it in a natural, conversational way. The research part took most of the time and hard work, but the interview itself was always fun. Having a natural curiousity - and a gift for gab, usually made it easy for me, and there was never any dead air. (when you're given only five minutes for an interview, you learn to talk fast!) Plus, I pretty much NEVER run out of topics to chat about!

I'm not saying there isn't a time for silence, peace or quiet, but just not on the radio - or when you're having an intense, one-on-one conversation! Yakking with a person who has this same respect for and love of communicating, is a blast.

I still listen to 680, but now prefer NEWSTALK 1010, for this very reason. Everyone on that station SATURATES the space and time with informative, interesting, funny, amusing, shocking, sensational, controversial, conversational info. Best newscasters, (especially Dave - which may confound you, since almost all the newscasters they HAVE are named Dave! - but if you know ANYTHING about news at ALL, you'll know who I mean! - he's the best in the country). Hint, he's up for a big national RTNDA award in two weeks, and I KNOW he will win! - News you can use, take in, learn from, think over.

As I mentioned once before, I'm addicted to the antics of Mike Bullard (I actually waited in my car in a parking lot today, to be SURE to hear him yell, "Itttttttttttttttt's FRIDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDAAAAAY!" LOVE the way he does that and it kicks off/launches/revs up my weekend!

Also thoroughly enjoy the brilliance and humour of Jim Richards. SO glad the ratings on Friday showed they're doing great! My favourite part of Mike's show is "The Crossover" when Jim comes in and joins him for a few minutes of off-the-cuff banter. The two of them together? Dynamite. And definitely no dead air.

Earlier today, wasn't one of my better mornings. Feeling down. But things picked up considerably when I received two phone calls from old friends, (both of whom have never HEARD of dead air!)

The first call was from Randy Stevens. (actually Randy Maxwell, but he went by Stevens in his radio days). He was a reporter at CFTR - best they had. Ever-aggressive, so intelligent and never failed to get the story. He could talk up a storm. We dated for quite a while and it was never boring! I'm amazed either of us could get a word in edgewise, the way the conversation flowed with him!

Randy (my boyfriend at the time!) took this pic of me. I was about 21. Think I was trying to look sexy. Funny

Haven't seen Randy in a very long time, but he knew about my breast cancer and wanted to check in. He's still a hard working guy in a different business altogether now. He asked me lots of questions, (which reminded me of the old days!), and I felt SO much better after speaking with him.

This is something else I've learned during my current journey, (and that I'm going to remember for future reference). If you have a friend with cancer, check in with them once in a while. Email, phone call, Facebook pop-up, whatever. You never know if that person is in need of a little support/pick-me-up, and how much a call could lift their spirits! (note to self: call my friends more!)

It happened again a little later, when my old pal, Bruce Kirschbaum called from L.A. (he's the Emmy award winning TV script writer, married to my close friend, Joanne). Wrote on Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and on and on). Hysterically funny guy, as you can imagine from the credit list! He phones to check in every few weeks and the call is never shorter than an hour! The ground we can cover is mind-bending.

Bruce worked for years as a writer on Seinfeld. Here are some young pics of him on the set of the coffee shop (Monk's) and Jerry's living room! - Cool, eh?

He's the most articulate man you could ever converse with but he's also a great listener too. Best of both worlds. He really helped me (as he always does), with his interesting take on everything. I'm stunned that he reads the blog daily and loves it! Coming from him, what a compliment!

He told me that with everything I've been through in the past year, it's understandable I'd have days I feel I'm coming apart. He made me feel OK again about myself and stressed to me that I have to remember what I've ALREADY survived. He reminded me of my fears and anxiety over surgery, pain and everything else (during my "Cowardly Lion blog mascot days") and that I DID it anyway and I'm still here. He encouraged me, made me laugh (as always) and again, I hung up, feeling better.

So, what am I saying here? I guess that friends matter to me. They matter a LOT, and when they call or write or email or pop-up message, I see that I mean something to THEM too! It helps to hear from friends. And most especially the ones who really know how to fill dead air! Those conversations are always the best!

Thanks guys! Keep on talkin' at me!

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