friend·ship noun \?fren(d)-?ship is the state of being friends.
This is how the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines friendship. Of course, there are other words to describe this state, including amity, benevolence, goodwill, charity, cordiality, fellowship, goodwill and kindliness.
We all have our own ways of expressing friendship that include something as simple as a smile or a handshake, or slightly more intimate such as a hug or a kiss. If you’re lucky, both are involved. Then there are friends with benefits, but that’s another story. Just ask Ashton Kutcher or my friend Mike.
In person, it is so easy to show and express friendship, just by using the examples above. When I talk to my wife about my radio friends, she asks if I ever had a meal with them. Evidently, her definition of friends includes food. That’s fine, but not always possible.
Do we actually have to have met someone to be his or her friend? Is being in physical contact a prerequisite for being friends? If you are friends with someone on Facebook, does that make you actual friends? I tell Marcy that I use Facebook for networking among radio people, and it’s a great way to keep my hand and heart in the business.
One of my oldest radio friends is Allen Beebe, whom I’ve known since he arrived in New York in August 1977 when WNBC changed formats under new Program Director Bob Pittman. Beebe left New York in 1985 or so, and we lost touch for many years. I finally found him again in 2003, and we’ve been in touch ever since.
Now I don’t profess to know every detail of Beebe’s life, but I know the basics such has he’s divorced, has kids and grandkids. I also know he’s a very personable jock, using the signature line, “I AM BEEBE!” It seems everyone in radio knows that line! He and Mark Driscoll once had a contest at WNBC to see who could hold the “N” in WNNNNNNNNNNNNBC the longest. I think it was a tie.
Beebe has a girlfriend, Kim Diamond whom I have never met. Because we have Beebe in common, we’ve become friends, albeit on the phone. Kim was also in radio for many years on some great stations that included the late, great KFRC-FM in San Francisco. In my book, anyone who worked there is also a good jock. She and Beebe met when in Biloxi, MS where they still live. Beebe works at WMJY-FM, while Kim is looking for a radio job. Kim is just another example of a good talent that is out of work.
My oldest friend is from when I lived in Spring Valley, NY in my teens. I met Roland in 7th grade, and even after I moved, we remained friends. We may not have spoken all that often, but we knew we were there. We lost touch for a few years, but one day I called and it was as no time had passed.
Last July 2010, Marcy and I were planning our annual barbecue, and we always invited Roland. I called and left a message, but didn’t hear anything that month. I tried again in August, several times in fact and left messages each time. Still, there was no call back. By now, I’m wondering what’s what. I send him an e-mail.
Fast forward to December and still no sign of Roland. I try to call again, and leave yet another message. This goes on for the next two months, until finally I call on a Sunday night in late January. Imagine my surprise when Roland actually picks up the phone. I was almost speechless! The first words out of my mouth were, “Thank gawd you’re not dead!”
I think Roland was speechless at my statement. I certainly would have been. So I asked where’s he’s been and what he’s been doing. I got the answer I expected, which was he was very busy at work, and trying to maintain a long distance marriage. His wife is in California. Depending on your point of view, that’s either a blessing, or a curse.
We play catch up, comparing stories and events since we last spoke. It was almost as if many months hadn’t passed. That’s how it is with long time, good friends.
Then, of course, there are different types of friends. We have work friends, neighbor friends, family friends, friends of friends, online friends and friends who think they are our friends, but really aren’t.
I prefer real life friends, someone we can call up and say, “Hey, let’s have lunch next week,” or “Come over to dinner on Saturday night.” There we go having friends with food again. I guess that’s okay, as long as the friends aren’t the food. If they bring some food, that’s even better. I like cheesecake.
Now combine radio and friendship. That’s a hard combination: radio people don’t often stay in one place for a long time. Other than Allen Beebe and Kim Diamond, I have some other great radio friends, some of which I’ve met, some I haven’t.
The one fellow I haven’t met, but truly hope to meet is Dick Summer. I’ve always been aware of Dick on the radio, but only contacted him in 2003. Since then, we’ve been friends, but without the food. As it turns out, we have many mutual friends, including radio sister Robin Marshall. I miss my breakfasts with Robin, but she is only a phone call or email away.
I could go on and on, listing more names than we need to drop, but I won’t. It’s not necessary. Those friends know who they are. Heck, I even consider the Grubstreet publisher a friend, even though we’ve never met. But then again, he pays me to say this stuff.
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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