Every three years, a radio friend of mine in Connecticut, Bob Gilmore, throws a party for all his radio and television friends. I first found out about it through our mutual friend, Greg Monti, who I've known since high school.
Although Bob and I became acquainted through Greg, we became friendly though trading air checks; he also worked at WEBE 108. In 2004, I started doing fill-in shifts hosting Studio 108, on Saturday nights and he always called me to say hello.
The last radio party was in 2011 and I had taken the day off so we could attend. Marcy said it was going to rain, so we didn't go. Guess what, it didn't rain. I wasn't too happy with my wife at that point.
In 2008, I just couldn't get the time off, so I didn't go. This year, I had enough time, so I put in for the day off. Rain or shine, family or not I was going. Marcy decided the night before she wasn't going to go, so she could visit her mother in rehabilitation. I gave the kids a choice of go or not to go. They decided to go.
The party was at 3 pm, so we piled into the car at 1 pm, hooked up the GPS and off we went. The trip was uneventful except for some traffic on I-95 in Connecticut, and we almost made it without incident. Almost.
I put the wrong house number in the GPS; I put in four instead of 76 and got hopelessly turned around. I messaged Bob, on Facebook, and asked him to call me, which he did a few minutes later. He got me going the right way, and we finally made.
There were two people in particular that I finally was going to meet; our host Bob, and Steve West, the owner of Airchexx.com who I had been talking and corresponding since 2002.
Bob greeted us as we got into the house and took the wonderful Apple Crumb Pie we had brought. We went outside, and I looked for Steve. I found him right away, and put a hand on his shoulder and said, "I always thought you were taller. You look bigger on television."
He gave me a big smile and handshake, laughed and said that he had never been on television, only visited one station years ago when he lived in Memphis. That wasn't the point, I was just happy to see him! It's nice to meet someone you had become friends with over all those years. What did we talk about, air checks and radio and radio, of course.
The next old friend I saw was master air check restorian, Rob Frankel and his girlfriend Susan. I hadn't seen Rob for years, since he came over the house to pick up some tapes. What did we talk about, air checks and radio.
Then Tracy Carmen showed up, whom I hadn't seen since the great WNBC/WYNY Reunion, in 2004. We caught up on times past. What did we talk about: air checks and radio?
Greg Monti finally showed up and, since we had seen each other in June, there wasn't much to catching up to do. He got to talking with all his current and former Citadel/Cumulus/Westwood One buddies and their technical talk became too much for me.
I found Kevin Quinn, who I worked with at WEBE 108. He was the fellow who graciously gave me three hours of his show to play with. At that time, I didn't know it, but it was my on air audition and, evidently, I passed, as they had me back hosting a few times over the next year.
The highlight for me was finally meeting Alissa Balouskus. She was the programming assistant when I was at WEBE. She was the one who desperately called me at the last minute asking if I could fill in. I had no recollection of this until she brought it up. At least that's what she told Michelle and Melissa.
Alissa was only a voice on the phone, though I knew what she looked like from the WEBE website. Those pictures didn't do her any justice. She's much cuter in person. She also hasn't worked at WEBE for the last year, saying that things had changed and she wasn't happy, anymore. That's understandable with any job.
How about all those pictures I took with my phone. Bob was running around with his DSLR camera snapping away at everybody. Bob has posted a few on Facebook; with many more to come, I'm sure.
Bob and his wife, Suzanne, did an amazing job. I look forward to doing it again 2017. By then, we'll have more to talk about, though radio and air checks will always be front and center.
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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