Not a Newsletter 007: Radio nowhere

milesspidey_readingWhen I was a kid, working in radio seemed like such a cool job. Every station had to be like WKRP in Cincinnati, right?

That delusion was first dispelled when I won a prize from the old WIQB (Rock 103!) in Ann Arbor and drove to the station to pick it up. Rather than a respectable office with the magic happening behind the glass, WIQB was basically a shack out in Saline.

As I grew older and got to know people in the radio business, I learned how brutal it could be. Many of them had been ruthlessly fired. (My podcast co-host was one of them.) Plenty of people in other lines of work have been let go because of salary cuts or job duties changing. But radio was supposed to be the cool job.

I was reminded again of how cruel working in radio could be earlier this week when a host I’ve worked with for years was fired. Here in Asheville, Bill McClement was a co-host on the sports talk show I’ve contributed to for nearly five years. I’ve talked to him two to three times a week throughout that time. I’ve sat in with him as a co-host a handful of times and always had great fun doing so.


Working at home, I’m not always the most social guy, so there have probably been many weeks when Bill was one of the few people with whom I had a conversation — even if it was about baseball for a segment on a sports talk radio show.

No, I don’t know all the details and probably never will. It’s not my business. But watching someone lose his job after 15 years with a company (and 40-plus years in the industry) is heartbreaking. It sure seems like he deserved better.

I’m grateful for the opportunities Bill provided for me. He was the one who responded to the email I wrote shortly after moving to Asheville, asking the local radio station if they needed anyone to talk baseball. They had a regular contributor at the time, but Bill said they’d keep me in mind if they ever needed someone to fill in and I substituted several times before becoming a regular myself in 2014. When they needed someone to fill in as co-host, Bill often called to see if I could do it. I wish I could have done so more often.

I hope he lands somewhere and gets to finish his career in radio the way he wanted, rather than having it finished for him. And I need to try and express my sympathies — and gratitude — in person with Bill sometime in the near future.

Reading More

** “We need to write now, write well—tell the truth in all its messy complexity.” [TIME]

** As amazing as Barry Sanders’ NFL career with the Detroit Lions was, there were things he did in 1988 for Oklahoma State — during his Heisman Trophy-winning season — that he never did in the pros. And back then, we couldn’t watch all of his games on TV. [ESPN]

** “Bottomless Pinocchio” is a new category for the Washington Post Fact Checker. It’s also a good nickname for Donald Trump. I also like “Individual-1.” [Washington Post]

** North Carolina politics are a cesspool, thanks to GOP dirty pool. But this farewell column from longtime columnist Rob Christensen provided plenty to think about in explaining the views of people here and how I should consider that as a transplant. [News & Observer]


** I would’ve guessed that actors hate being digitally scanned because they have to wear motion-capture suits or have those tracking dots all over their faces. Never occurred to me that they might be worried how their likenesses are used. [Vulture]

** I am a big fan of ambiguous endings, like the one in The Wrestler. (Unfortunately, my attempts at them with fiction writing didn’t always go over so well in writing workshops.) Thinking about how a story may have ended or talking about different endings with a companion adds to the moviegoing experience to me. [Collider]

** If Disney, Fox and Warner Brothers eventually pull content from Netflix for their own respective streaming services, that would reduce Netflix’s catalog by 20 percent. [recode]

** I almost always prefer toast over biscuits at breakfast. (I know! I shouldn’t eat either of them.) But living in the South, many restaurants make a very compelling argument for biscuits. I’d agree they’re better down here, but why? [The Atlantic]

** One of the writers on the Daredevil staff thought the show “was too big to fail.” Maybe someday, we’ll learn what the writers room had in store for Season 4 of the series. [io9]

** My mother and I have a running bet on whether or not Joe Biden will be the Democratic candidate for president in 2020. I say yes, she says no. Am I going to win that bet? [Intelligencer]

** Though I’m reading quite a few comic books nowadays, I miss a lot of what’s out there — especially outside Marvel, DC and Image. (As with music, I lean toward what I’m familiar with.) So I appreciate “Best of 2018” lists like this one. [Paste]

** Has the world ever seemed more insane, more detached from reality than with the “Pizzagate” scandal two years ago? Some people still believe this stuff? [Rolling Stone]

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