Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Little Conundrum

VOTE!  Let your voice be heard!
On a weekly basis, Dave Ruden at the Hearst Connecticut Media Group (specifically the Stamford Advocate) posts a group of nominees to win an award: the Overtime FCIAC Team of the Week ("Overtime" being the name of Rudens' blog).

I was intrigued to see that the Westhill football team won the award, for their 37-30 overtime win against Trumbull.

Westhill's victory is a good one.  It ended a 20-game losing streak and was the first victory for the Vikings over the Eagles ever (Westhill opened in 1972).  For a program that is trying to make something of itself, it is a nice story.

There were other nominees: Wilton field hockey, Greenwich volleyball, Trinity Catholic football, Darien volleyball, Stamford field hockey, and Fairfield Warde girls soccer.  I can't speak for any of the other teams, except to say that the Greenwich volleyball team will, hopefully, be on "The Press Box" soon, and they were campaigning for votes.

That's the thing right there.  The winner is determined via online voting and I have no problem with that.  So, really, this isn't a knock on Dave Ruden, Hearst, the Advocate, the sponsors, or the teams.  I suppose the thing is that, like an all-star game, the ballot box can be stuffed.  Maybe, just maybe, the wrong team can win.

Honestly, this isn't a complaint at all.  It's all good.  I just found myself a little flummoxed in that I thought - by far - the clear winner would be the Trinity Catholic football team.  If you heard the story last week, you know that the Crusaders beat New Canaan in overtime, 31-28 (add in Stamford beating Norwalk and it was a great weekend around "The City that Works").  Trinity Catholic had not beaten the Rams, well technically, ever (since they were previously known as Stamford Catholic).  But in reality, the former Stamford Catholic team beat New Canaan on September 22, 1984...28 years to the day.  Plus their quarterback was a kid named Pete Stokes...who is now the Crusaders' head coach.

Jason Intrieri and I were calling the Brunswick/Taft game on WGCH when I found the score via Twiter, and we were both stunned.  It might not be the greatest upset ever (say, Jets/Colts in Super Bowl III or Tyson/Douglas), but it certainly sits in the pantheon of great stories and big-time wins (Marlins over the Yankees in 2003?).  It sort-of set the FCIAC on its ear, and made everyone take note of Trinity Catholic.

Cool stuff, right? By the way, Ruden's article on the game is here.

So I guess what this all comes down to is bravo to the Westhill fans for rocking the vote.  They become the victors.  It's democracy at work.

Speaking of Stamford football (SHAMELESS PLUS ALERT), Chris Kaelin, Ryan DeMaria, and I will have the call as Stamford High School football debuts on WGCH.  We'll be back at Lancaster Field at Tiger Hollow in Ridgefield as the 2-0 Black Knights visit the 1-1 Tigers.  Air time is 6:40 PM.

A Little Nod to Andy Williams

So square.  The sweaters.  The turtlenecks.  Hell, he introduced us to the Osmonds.

Andy Williams passed away yesterday at the age of 84.  He had a magical voice and his popularity was broad.  For a time, he was a star on the charts.  He also had a popular TV show on NBC and, when that was canceled, it turned into an annual holiday show (oh, hell, Christmas show).

He was never super-duper-uber cool.  In some ways that he was a parody, sure, but being square was sort-of his thing.  It worked for him.

We'll likely always remember him for his rendition of "Moon River", the timeless classic that Audrey Hepburn crooned in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Yet, in a nod to his possibly being a "hip cat" (ha ha ha), here's our guy Andy singing "Music to Watch Girls By" with a video that includes lots of clips from different movies in the 1960's.  It's all good for a laugh.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rule 55 (aka Get Over It!)

And so it is with the gift that you see above - one of the (arguably) five worst calls in the history of professional sports (Jim Joyce and Don Denkinger included) - that Seattle Seahawks fans can, officially, shut the eff up about Super Bowl XL.  For those who don't recall, and it's amazing that you wouldn't because 'Hawks fans have been whining about it ever since, there were a few controversial plays in that game.  In the end, the Steelers won 21-10.

It was not because the NFL wanted Jerome Bettis to win a ring, or that the NFL wanted to Rooneys to win.  Some of the calls were borderline at best and all could have gone either way.  That's the nature of calls - human error and all.

This one was more than just human error.  This was incompetence, combined with replacement officials who are doing their best, but are in over their heads.

Which led to this fascinatingly funny picture courtesy of Deadspin.  Those of who are defending Roger Goodell probably should read the article by Drew Magary that accompanies it.
And, golly, isn't a little ol' coincidence that reports are beginning to surface regarding an agreement between the officials and the NFL.  Way to go there, Rog.  Amazing how you got that done, isn't it?
Over at Behind the Steel Curtain, Anthony Defeo questions if Seahawks fans have gotten over it as a result of Monday night (I say "no", by the way).

So it is, as a "Rule 55", we flash back to Super Bowl XL, with Hines Ward making his bid for the MVP.

And as a special bonus, here's Willie Parker going 75 yards, with the call of Bill Hilgrove and Tunch Ilkin. 

Funny, I don't see the officials impacting either of these plays.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The NHL is Only Hurting Itself...and Us

I don't want to hear it.

"The current situation is no good for the players."  "No good for the owners."  Blah-de-freaking-blah.

Let me tell you something, Mr. Bettman (and listen up, Bud, David, and my buddy Emperor Roger):

The only people who make money during a lockout of strike in sports are you...the players...the owners...and the effing lawyers.  Oh, and course, Donald Fehr (guess he sort-of counts as a lawyer, no?).

The front office people are already taking a paycut.  The concessionaires get nothing.  The broadcasters are out of work.  The parking people.  The day-to-day operations.  All get screwed.

But who hurts the most?  Of course it's the FANS.

We don't care who is right.  We don't.  All we want is our team; our game.  Right now, Islanders fans are sitting in the same boat with Devils fans, who are hanging with Rangers fans (and there's no mutiny).  And Bruins fans and Canadiens fans and Maple Leafs fans are all on the same team (scary, right?).

As we come off a year in which the Rangers nearly returned to the Finals, in which Los Angeles not only made the finals as an eight seed but WON THE STANLEY CUP, thus giving LA a few minutes to care about the sport, we find ourselves in a lockout.  Preseason games in September have already been canceled, and the season is in jeopardy.

I know, I know.  The sport will survive because the die-hard fans will, foolishly, return (present company likely included).  You can tell me about the number of fans baseball lost in 1994.  That's fair, but many came back, and attendance numbers are just fine and dandy.  Hockey also returned after their apocalypse.

Point is, we're just as guilty.  Yet with the stoppage, any building of a deeper fan base gets hurt.  The casual fan, galvanized by the run of the Rangers last year (or the Kings) will be turned off.  They might get turned back on next spring, assuming the Rangers have the type of season that many think they will.  But who is to say?  It does take time for fans to return.  It's fair to say that we get just a touch angry.

The other annoyance is that hockey critics can further rip the game with a "who cares?" attitude.  I've seen it, and heard it.  It gives people like Mike Francesa more reasons to ignore the sport.

It also gets easy to not miss it.  I didn't totally miss the NBA during its work stoppage last year.  You learn to find other ways to occupy the mind.

Yes.  It's business.  Definitely.  Since the first work stoppage (by the NFL in 1968), I think that has been totally understood.  What gets further understood - each time - is that the various leagues do not care about their fan base, but will act like they do when everybody returns.  Hey!  We need you now!

And so it is that we - the public - should go support the lower leagues if we love our sports enough.  Now, I'm not telling you how to spend your dollars, but it seems to me that a great way to spend an evening of afternoon, would be to go to a place like Bridgeport, where the Sound Tigers would be more than happy to entertain you.  Make sure to yell a "HELLO!" up to their "voice", Phil Giubileo.  They'll treat you right there.

There's a great innocence in the minors.  At the high schools.  Heck, even at times at colleges.

Still, when all is said and done, it is beyond annoying.  We want to see greatness.  We want to see the pros.

They should iron out their differences and play the games.

Thanks for Trying

I kept this one under wraps, hoping to not jinx it.  A few weeks ago, in some ways, to cheer me up from my job layoff, a friend asked me if I would like to conduct an interview he was trying to set up.  A long-shot, maybe, but one that seemed hopeful.

Vin Scully.

The friend said that he would like me to do the interview and write about it.  I, in turn, would have almost definitely played the interview on "The Press Box."

We found out yesterday that Mr. Scully politely declined.

Nick Angotto once tried to get Mr. Scully on the old national "Press Box."  It didn't happen then either.

I understand.  The man will be 85 in November and I'm sure he gets a ton of interview requests.  He can't do them all, of course, but he does do the bigger ones (Michael Kay - a fellow Fordham grad; Mike Francesa, CBS Sunday Morning).  We were hopeful that maybe - just maybe - we could get a few minutes of his time.

It would have jumped near the top of my favorite interviews; if not at the very top.  We're talking the Terry Bradshaw/Kay Murcer stratosphere.

As of right now, it isn't going to happen.  But it was nice of my friend to think of me.


It's THAT Time Again

So here we are again.  Anybody care to remember 2008?  Personally, for a bunch of reasons, I don't.  I said it then and will say it now: it was one of the lowest points in the history of the American media, which had a clear agenda (on both sides).  Various talking heads - supposedly unbiased - embarrassed themselves with a clear cut bias.

But that was then.  It's a new day, right?

Now we head into the 2012 elections and the rampant lunacy of political commentary is beginning to ramp up on the social media sites.  That behavior in 2008 didn't sit well with me then, and it's not sitting well with me now.

See, here's the thing.  We're not exactly in grand shape here in the good ol' U-S-of-A.  The job market...still...blows.  Gas prices?  Wow.  Crime - violent crime - is up in some places.  The messes of the Bush Administration haven't exactly been ratcheted up under President Obama.

Change.  Hmm.  Maybe not so much.

So what it comes to do to is, while you're little ol' game of partisan politics continues to play, we - THE AMERICAN PEOPLE - are continuing to get hammered.  And the band plays on.  In reality, there should be ONE PARTY: the aforementioned American People

I said it then: I just want the best person for the job.  Don't care who they are or what their background is.  Don't care about how they look.  Just don't want them to be, well, nuts.

I like President Obama.  I just read a pretty good article on him in Vanity Fair, written by Michael Lewis.  I think the President would be fun to talk with.  Maybe grab a beer and watch some college hoops with, or debate baseball or football.  Maybe just talk about his job.

That, of course, doesn't mean he's the best person to be President.  He's done good things, and some not-so-good.  That's the way it goes with the Presidency.

That being said, I'm not tipping my hat for whom I am voting.  This is not that kind of post.  I've made it clear: I'm an independent.  A kid who registered Republican and 18, and sees faults with BOTH parties.  So I vote with my conscience (I know: novel, right?). 

Back on topic, what I'm not looking forward to, as a person who has become a bit of a student of social media, is the continued political stuff.   The so-called "facts."  The negativity.  I'm holding both sides' feet to the fire here.  And let's be quite clear - free speech is necessary, and welcome.  Further, I won't be making any mass purges of my friends, whom I've made clear that I love to death.  I don't even care if your opinion is "right" or "wrong."  I just might, however, be changing the detail of stuff that I see you write.  If you don't think I haven't done it already (and maybe some of you have done it to me), well, think again.

In some ways, it's just good for my blood pressure.

Prattle on, my political peeps.  You won't have Adams to kick around anymore.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

From the Press Box

Paul Silverfarb at the Greenwich Post asked us the Press Box Playmakers to contribute and online column to the Post's website.  Our first effort, written by me, is up today.  I was disappointed in the result for the Greenwich "whiteout" the other night at Ridgefield.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mike Tomlin

I saw Scott Van Pelt tweet today that Mike "Tomlin is favorite coach in sports."

With a full bias, I quite agree.  Look, I've been so fortunate as a Steelers fan.  In my lifetime - almost forty-four years - the Steelers have had four coaches.


Bill Austin (whose last season was 1968), Chuck Noll (1969-1991, with four Super Bowl wins), Bill Cowher (1992-2006, with one Super Bowl win), and Mike Tomlin (2007-present, with one Super Bowl win).

Tomlin just seems to get it.  He has character, standards, and wins.  In short, he's everything you want in a coach.  There has been no handshake controversy (Jim Harbaugh/Jim Schwartz), or brash shenanigans (Rex Ryan).  He just does his job.

The Steelers beat the Jets today, 27-10, and after their last touchdown, CBS cameras caught Tomlin celebrating with his team (thanks, Behind the Steel Curtain).  I love the enthusiasm.  It's not cocky.  It's not obnoxious.  It's just pure joy and satisfaction.

The joys of winning.

Profiling the Master

Sean popped into my room to visit with me on this Sunday morning.  It's a chilly day in the "hood" and Sean is going cartoon-free today (part of the result of a punishment) so he came in to draw and hang out with his Daddy.  I stepped out of the room for a moment, leaving the TV on with CBS's Sunday Morning on.

It was then that I realized, once again, I've schooled my son quite well.

"Daddy", he said, "Vin Scully is your favorite baseball announcer, right?"

"Yes", I responded.

"He's about to be on TV."

The Great Scully was profiled, magnificently, by Lee Cowan in this piece on Sunday Morning, the text of which you can read here (as of this moment, the video is not online).

But...I found video...of something I've never seen.  Vin Scully won the Ford Frick Award in 1982, which is the equivalent of induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  I'm pleased to post it here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hudson Valley Renegades: Champions

I'm crazy tight on time today with, you know, this little football game to call tonight on WGCH at 7:00 (6:40 pregame show), but I can't let today go by without congratulating the Hudson Valley Renegades, who won the 2012 New York-Penn League Championship last night at Dutchess Stadium.

I'm so very happy for everyone in the Gades organization, from GM Eben Yager on down.  I didn't do any games with them on the radio this year, but loved every minute of my time with the team, beginning in 2001.

I won't lie.  I'm jealous.  I would have loved to have been a part of it, but it's OK.  I listened to some of the action on the radio, with envy and joy all at the same time.

Enjoy the celebration, Gades.

Sean McMahon at the Poughkeepsie Journal put together a video of last nights' big moment.

OK, back to prepping for the game.  Oh, and be sure to listen online, in the stadium (we'll let you know what frequency), and, from Lisa was telling me, on the TuneIn radio app on your iPhone and Android.  Greenwich...Ridgefield...coming up!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Listen to Us Live at the Game!

That device you see above is the Ramsey Electronics FM100B.  It allows audio to be run through it and rebroadcast to a small radius.

Like a football field.

Starting this year, Greenwich Cardinals football games on WGCH can be heard in whatever stadium we are broadcasting from.  Upon arriving at each game site, we will determine the best open FM frequency to send our signal over.  You see, this is legal up to a point (like the transmitters you can use in a car for an iPad or whatever).  The FCC (nice folks, them) aren't all that fond of another broadcaster jamming the frequency of an existing broadcaster.  That will get one in trouble.

The idea for this is so that Chris Kaelin (and anyone else on our staff) can have two-way communication with us in the booth.  In the past, I would have to use walkie talkies or, worse, hand signals to communicate with Nick Angotto, Matt Hamilton, and others on the sideline.  With this, Kato can be hear what we're saying and things will flow more smoothly.  It will allow him to bring out his inner "Goose" and instantaneously be better than the Fox TV sideline stooge.

For you, the intrepid listener, we need to figure out a system to let you know what signal we will be on, say, this Friday at Ridgefield.  If you're interested in this, please let us know and we'll pass that information along.

UPDATE: We will put the frequency up on Twitter (mine and Press Box) and Facebook (me and Press Box).  We could also go with word of mouth, text, and a sign.  Carrier pigeon will not be available.

In other news, Jason Intrieri will be joining us hopefully on each broadcast for the new "FCIAC Insider" segment.  Too many times over the years, Jason has proven to me that he's got that knack for news that Jay Glazer and Adam Schefter have.  I came up with the idea of having him aboard, and he's open to it.  Additionally, Jason and Pat Pickens have offered to serve as reporters from game sites to send along scores of other games.  If you're interested in doing that, and joining the fun, let me know!

Lastly, if it all comes together, WGCH's morning news reporter Matt Byrne will be on board as well.

It's an exciting time, as we're now just over 48 hours away from kickoff.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Billy Joel at The Concert For New York

You might remember "The Concert for New York", which took place in October, 2001 at Madison Square Garden.  I remember not being all that into it leading up to the event, but I found myself listening to it on the way home from calling a Greenwich football game that day.  Some of the standouts included Elton John, Adam Sandler as "Operaman", and David Bowie.  To be honest, the true stars of the night were The Who, who rocked a set with John Entwistle ("The Ox") on bass for the final time.  He died eight months later.

Paul McCartney organized the event but, to be honest, his performance left me flat.  I remembered not feeling great about it.

In the end, the concert has become known as one of the bigger moments in rock history, and Madison Square Garden history.  It, along with the Yankees playoff run (which was ongoing at the time) was an important part of helping New York blow off some steam.  Of course, I'm not forgetting the Mets first game back after 9/11, with Mike Piazza's dramatic home run off of Steve Karsay, or the Giants and Jets (and eventually the Rangers and Knicks and Nets and Devils and Islanders), who each helped entertain the millions around New York at that time.

But back to the concert.  For me, Billy Joel blew me away.  I know someone who doesn't like his music and, if this doesn't do it, nothing ever will.  Take the purely incredible music, combined with playing it in front of his hometown crowd (he's from Long Island, but let's not split hairs, he's still a New Yorker), and the emotion of the night.  Add it all up and you have a winner.


Bruce Springsteen, "The Rising", Me, and Sean

I'm continuing my September 11th tradition of listening to Bruce Springsteen's The Rising.  To be honest, it's a tough album to listen to because of the topic but I've found myself getting more attached to it in recent years.

Music, as we know, is all about opinion.  It's in the ear of the beholder, of course, but it can also be about where you were when you heard a particular song, or perhaps you're reminded of a person, a place, and event, and so on.

Sandi was pregnant with Sean when September 11th happened.  That was one of the driving forces that just made me want to get home that day.  Our son was both five months later.  The Rising came out that July.  My "Tee Time" colleague, Michael Breed, and I are both Springsteen nuts, and we played it a lot on the show that year.

Flash forward a few years.  Sean and I were in the car when the title track came on the radio - a good reason for me to pump up the volume.  The tune had us both be rocking (Sean has some serious music chops) and when the real sing-along part came along, you know, "Na na nananana na na", Sean was right there.  He sang his little heart out - couldn't have been more than two or three at the time - and officially, a Bruce fan was born.

At the end of the song, I taught him one of the true trademarks of being a Springsteen fan, by yelling "Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuce."  He took to that naturally, and he was off and running.

To be honest, Sean is much more of a Beatles fan, but he'll still let go with a "Bruuuuuuuce" on occasion.  Yet I can still remember the countless days that I would pick him up at daycare and, not longer after he got into the car, he would ask the following:

"Daddy, can you play 'Rosie?'"

"Regular 'Rosie' or live 'Rosie?'", I would say.  Of course we had options!

The song, of course, was "Rosalita."

Even now, we can be found playing "air" instruments (he mostly played keyboards and piano, while I strummed guitar or pounded the drums) if the song comes on.

Music can do that.  It can strengthen your love of a song or artist, if only because of the simple moments of a father and son rocking out.  It might not have made me a bigger fan of Bruce Springsteen, but it definitely added a different level to it.

So now, when I defend "The Boss" so vociferously, you just might understand why.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tomorrow, As Always, With Sadness

Eleven years later, we all still remember the events of September 11, 2001.  I've written a post for it on an annual basis.  The tears and memories remain pretty fresh, and become even more vivid as we relive it every year.

The archive: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011.

This year, I found a different approach.  I came across the broadcast of our golf show, "Tee Time", which ran on WGCH.  It was hosted by Michael Breed, a golf pro and instructor who has done pretty well for himself as a writer and broadcaster, and recently appeared via footage of his Golf Channel show in the Meryl Streep/Tommy Lee Jones movie, "Hope Springs."

Just a note: I had no clue Michael was in that movie, and Lisa and I went to see it last week.  I was quite shocked when I saw him.

With September 11, 2001 falling on a Tuesday, nobody knew how to proceed on Wednesday the 12th, which was our day to do "Tee Time."  We went ahead with the show, and just talked.  I put together a small piece that ran as well.  It's a show I'm very proud of.

As we pause to remember those lost on that day, we are reminded that this war - on terror - is not over.  It's just not.  We are reminded of the sadness and just how we felt the day before; the minutes before.  And then, almost in an instant, it changed.  As always, I'll listen to the audio of that day and ponder things with Bruce Springsteen's The Rising playing. 

Listen here to Michael Breed and I, as we hosted "Tee Time" on September 12, 2001.

If you want to hear the broadcast audio montage of September 11, 2001, it is here.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

The 2012 Greenwich Cardinals on WGCH

Rob Adams and Chris Erway, 2010
We are just under a week away from kickoff of the 2012 high school football season in Connecticut.  That means it is time for Greenwich Carrdinals Football!

Once again, WGCH will be the home of Cardinals football, as it has been for as long as I can remember (there are those that say it dates back to the birth of the station in September, 1964, but I have no proof of that).  Bill Daughtry, Mark Yusko, Pete Gersec, and former Jet Skip Lane are among the names that brought the sounds of the Cardinals to your radio.

Next Friday, I will begin my 13th year as the radio voice of Greenwich football.  Joining me as the lead analyst will be Chris Erway.  CJ joined the station as an intern in 2006, handling the morning sports reports on the NewsCenter with Tony Savino.  That is where I first met him, when I subbed for Tony.  He rejoined WGCH in 2009 and begins his fourth season on Greenwich football, and first as the lead analyst.  He replaces Sean Kilkelly, who is moving back to the studio.

Also in the booth will be Ryan DeMaria.  The Deemer is back for his second year, and first full year as the statistician and second analyst.  Ryan joined WGCH in 2009, when he worked with me on our national version of "The Press Box", which was airing on the Lifestyle Talk Radio Network.  Ryan will miss the opening broadcast due to a conflict (hey, he's going to see UConn at Randy Edsall and Maryland.  Can't blame him for that, I guess).  In week two, Ryan will join me in the lead chair as Greenwich travels to Bridgeport to play Bassick on Friday, September 21st at 4:30.  Sadly, that is a conflict for many on our team.

Working the sidelines is Christopher Kaelin.  A fellow Connecticut School of Broadcasting guy, "Kato" is in his fourth year with us, having joined WGCH in 2009.  Kato also handles interviews throughout the broadcast, and is famous for having thrown me under the bus while I was trying to take a bite of pizza in 2010.  He has never let me forget it.

As I've already mentioned, our Studio Host will be Sean Kilkelly.  My first call when I became Sports Director in 2000 was to Sean, asking him to join me on Cardinals football.  Steady and authoritative, Sean has been both the lead analyst and the Studio Host, and his presence at the controls is welcomed.  Sean will bring his "Halftime Extravaganza" along for each broadcast.
Rob Adams, Chris Kaelin, and Ryan DeMaria - at Danbury, 2011 (Paul Silverfarb photo)
Paul Silverfarb, our friend and the Sports Editor of the Greenwich Post, has offered his services to our broadcasts, and I'm expecting to use Paul as a reporter occasionally.  There may still be a few other things up my sleeve.

Each broadcast will begin with our pregame coverage - a minimum of 10 minutes or more (if Kato can get us some interviews).  We will also have postgame interviews and analysis.

It's a full show, and I think it's among the best in the business.  I'm proud as always, and a little nervous, but revved up for our first broadcast next Friday night!  The butterflies will be present right up until the theme plays to open the broadcast.  Then I'll open my mouth, let the words flow, and it will be business as usual.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Job Searching

Note: I wrote this yesterday afternoon and let it stew overnight because it seems so self-serving to post this.  Yet "networking" is what I'm supposed to do, and I'm hoping that by writing this, it might to lead to something.  A conversation.  An opportunity.  Who knows?  I'm still conflicted about it, but here goes anyway.
I heard my phone ring this morning, and it went to voicemail.  It was my boss, asking me to call him.  Nothing unusual.  The conversation, though, was different.

I knew immediately.

"Where you at?", he began.  We exchanged laughs before he said that he wanted to meet with me, in an hour, in Dover Plains.

"What's up", I asked.

"I got news.  It's not good."

Yep.  That confirmed it.

I looked at Lisa and relayed it to her.  She looked as sick for me as I felt.

And thus it was that, a little over an hour later, the axe had fallen, and a good man (at least I think so) was without a job.  A matter of economics in a (still) bad time.  The company has lost business and needs to make cuts.  I wasn't the only one.  It wasn't personal.  And so on.

Oh sure, I still have good ol' WGCH to go to but let's just say I've never gotten rich there.  Just reality.

There's no easy way to write this.  I've called a few of you, emailed a few others, and sent Facebook messages along to more.  On one hand, it's a private issue.  Yet "they" always say the most important thing is to network.  So by writing here (and posting it to Facebook and Twitter), I can send this information to my world and beyond.  In the end, it's on me to find work but I also know I have great friends and family who love me and will look around.  They'll let me know of any opportunities and, to that end, I've already heard a couple.

I'm resolute.  I'll be back on my feet, and fast.  I'm not entirely bulldozed by this news, and am very disappointed, but times are still not great in this economy, and don't you DARE let any elected official tell you otherwise.  If you don't think that this news doesn't make me a little angry, considering the hogwash that the blowhards in both Tampa and Charlotte spewed over the last week, then you might just be a little lost.

But my spirit is good.  I have talent, and I've deepened my skills over the last year and half in the ice cream business.  I could easily wind up back there if things improve in the spring but I can't wait for that.  So, as always, we keep moving forward.

There's no pity party here.  The facts are the facts.

And so, I sit here, in the Danbury Fair Mall (thank you for the free Wifi), searching for jobs both online and here in the mall itself.  I've had a few thoughtful phone calls (Lisa, my brother, mother, and Paul Silverfarb have been especially nice), a few more messages (thanks Mick and Tim), and a couple of texts (Kris and Lindsey).  I've gone through the range of emotion that comes with this news: fear, despair, sadness, resilience, and so on.  I feel like, somehow, I've let Lisa, and Sean down (though I know that's foolish).  No pity, other than a quick "this sucks."  But I'm not angry at the situation.  Right now, that feels worthless to me.

There's simple logic at work here.  It happened.  Nothing I can do about it.  But I have a son.  A good woman.  A mother (and two siblings).  Nieces and nephews.  A second cousin who is a brother.  Amazing, loyal friends.   Other family members.  For some unknown reason, you all seem to care.  So why give up?  The alternative isn't pleasant.  Quitting isn't an option.

So now I look and call and ask.  For an opportunity.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

The First Night

Me at the controls of Majic 105, probably in the Spring of 1991.  Gotta love the General Foods sweathshirt, the stonewashed jeans, and most of all, the Zubaz Steelers hat!

I loved radio from the time I was little.  I can tell you how I always listened to the radio, enjoying the work of Ron Lundy and Dan Ingram on WABC, and later Don Imus on WNBC and Scott Shannon on Z-100.  On the sports side of broadcasting, I was listening to the Yankees trio of Frank Messer, Phil Rizzuto and Bill White, and that would lead to Dick Enberg and, of course, Vin Scully.

Somewhere in my teens, as my desire to play sports in high school died, I decided that I wanted to be on the air.  If I can't play it, broadcast it!  My two boyhood heroes, Terry Bradshaw and Bobby Murcer, were both retiring to go into broadcasting.  That had to be a sign, right?

So the journey began.  I played with the notion of going to the Connecticut School of Broadcasting (CSB) out of high school, but initially opted for Westchester Community College.  When my father died, I stopped going to school completely, and continued working at General Foods (later Kraft).  But I got the urge and gave CSB a shot.  I wasn't bad at broadcasting (as I had hoped) and did pretty well in my play-by-play class.  Eventually I returned to Westchester, then Western Connecticut and earned my Bachelors Degree.

It was CSB that got me going.  I earned an interview with WMJV (Majic 105), an Adult Contemporary station located not too far from my home, in Patterson, NY.  I was offered the weekend overnight shift - Sunday morning from midnight to six.  It all seemed too good to be true.

My next step was to be trained.  I stopped by the station one evening as I was told to do.  Problem was, the on-air DJ, a guy who went by the name "John Harrison" was unaware that I was coming.  So he let me into the building and promptly called the boss, who cleared my visit.  Mr. Harrison gave me the ins and outs of the station and I left after an hour or two.

The next step would be to do it for real.  I visited the station before my first shift and picked up a copy of the programming log to see what I was supposed to play that first night.  I made notes - I wanted to be ready!  Next, I needed a pair of headphones.  A pair of Koss "cans" (a nickname for headphones) were bought for about $30 from Service Merchandise in the Jefferson Valley Mall.

I tried to get some sleep at home (yeah, right).  Then I went out with my then-girlfriend (Sandi) for dinner (I think we might have gone to Grandma's in Yorktown Heights).  She, along with members of her family and my family, tune their radios to 105.5, waiting for the big moment.

Coincidentally, that big moment would happen just after midnight on September 2nd.  That's Terry Bradshaw's birthday.

Finally, it was time.  Armed with coffee and NoDoz (I've never taken them since), I was welcomed into the station by Jim Heartman, a longtime DJ who I remembered from WVIP back in the 80's.  It should be noted that Heartman and I started out rather friendly.  That, sadly, did not end well.  Another story for another time.

I went in prepared to use the name "Robbie" Adams because, well, that was my name.  At Majic, that's what I used.  My family has called me that since birth so I went with it.  In my work life, around my school classmates, and in the rest of my adult world, I was "Rob."  When I came back into the business for good, in 1997, I stuck with "Rob."

Heartman finished his shift at midnight and offered to stay for a few minutes to get me going, but I felt that if I was really going to do this, then I needed to do it on my own.  My notes were meticulous, and I hoped I was ready.  The first song finished - nope, not ready to talk yet.

The next song, "Time For Letting Go" by Jude Cole finished, and it was time to make the big leap.  I've told the story before when teaching.  There were three choices: 1) Keep pressing "play" on the CD player all night, 2) Run, and 3) Turn on the microphone and start yakking.  I went with "3)" and have never looked back.

The result is this.

By the way, I went home and could...not...sleep.  Um...NoDoz, maybe?  So now you know why I don't drink a lot of coffee (2-3 cups MAX per day!) and I do...not...drink Red Bull and the like!

I stayed for just about a year at Majic before I was shown the door - the victim of politics and foolishness.  I went back into focusing on being a student and full time employee at Kraft.  As for John Harrison (the other victim of the politics at Majic in the summer and fall on 1991), well we became close friends.  He followed me on air every Sunday morning, and he would do a news cast.  He allowed me to do the sports for him (I was doing sports on the radio - finally!).   I was in his wedding party and am godfather to his two children.  He also put me in touch with Bob Stanhope, another former Majic employee who was the Program Director at WREF in Ridgefield.  There, I ran the board for a few Ridgefield football games and did some more DJ work, including a regular weekend show.  I also helped them turn out the lights and was the last live voice from the Ridgefield studios in 1997 after the station was sold.  But I made two friends at WREF - Steve Goodwin and Luke Michaels (God rest his soul) - and they both suggested I come do some part-time stuff at a small AM station in Greenwich: WGCH.  Their then-Sports Director, John Connelly, liked my work and I began doing a lot of sports.  When John left in 2000, I became Sports Director.  I'm still there, doing that same position.  With it comes the honor of being the radio "voice" of the Greenwich Cardinals, especially the football team.  I'll begin year number thirteen calling Greenwich football on September 14th.

And now you know (as the late Paul Harvey would say) the rest of the story.

It's been 22 years.  I'm not tired of it yet.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Climbing the Mountain

I'm not going to lie.  When a hike is suggested, I don't automatically say, "YAY!"  I normally think, "Well, time to sweat like Patrick Ewing at the free throw line and prepare myself for pain in my back, legs, etc."

I loved Patrick Ewing (hated him in college) but the dude knew a thing or two about perspiration.
But Lisa loves to be active, and she enjoy hiking.  So Lisa becomes my inspiration (which is positively Walt "Clyde" Frazier-like: "Ewing with the perspiration, Lisa with the inspiration.").

Of course, the activity is good for me.  With that said, we left our campsite in Saugerties to climb Overlook Mountain outside Woodstock.

The buzz was that this hike would be unlike our previous efforts, to Kaaterskill Falls and North Point.  It is steep and more challenging.

Yep.  That's about right.

Sean elected to stay with the family, while Lisa and I went to the hike.  We passed that motley crew in the village of Woodstock.
That's Sean - almost to the sidewalk, wearing the hat.  I still think they look like an extended version of The Beatles crossing Abbey Road.

The drive was enough of a climb to begin with and the parking lot at the trailhead was full.  But we found a place to park and began our ascent.  The trail is everything that people said - very steep at times, and challenging on the knees, legs, and back.  It is a two-mile walk to the first reward: the ruins of the Overlook Mountain House (seen at the top of the post).

Now, fortunately, one thing I didn't know about this place was the rampant presence of timber rattlesnakes (holy f***, I got chills simply typing those words).  This guy doesn't mess with snakes.  But on this day, my slithering friends were, thankfully, nowhere to be found.  Lisa and I were able to take multiple pictures of the abandoned buildings and the nearby radio tower without any fear or delay.

One tower we would NOT be climbing.  Lisa might have, but the FCC wouldn't allow it.

We reached the abandoned hotel in about an hour and a half, but we weren't done.  Not nearly.  The fire tower at the top of Overlook Mountain awaited and I wasn't stopping without reaching the summit.

So after another half mile of walking, we hit paydirt.
Nah, it's not that bad, right?  I mean, I can handle heights.  No biggie.  I like scenic overlooks and have no problem with visiting observation decks, like the Empire State Building.
Hmm.  Umm.  Yeah.  It looks a little, er, high.  And I don't like open heights, like ladders.  But these are stairs!  Still, Lisa wasn't initially thrilled.  She doesn't love heights either.  So, um, we weren't going, right?

Well, we tried.  We went up a few levels.  Things didn't seem all that sturdy.  No, maybe that was enough.  In fact, a few levels from the top, we seemed to have the epiphany that we had reached our limit.  So that was good, right?
F*** NO!  Without a word, I...just...went.  I would have gone even higher if the room at the top was open (I actually hit my head on the trap door above my in that shot).  I also took a picture of Lisa at the top but, of course, I don't have approval to post said shot.  So here's a picture at the top that includes her shoulder.  That will do.
But wait!  There was more.  We made our way down from the top of the tower (but not until a, say, three year-old kid got out of our way!) and went to the scenic overlook.  Word of careful of the edge!
If you ever go there, check out the engravings on the rocks - some say they date to 1899!
The obligatory picture of your weary explorers.
The walk down was not as easy as it seemed.  The steepness of the mountain was tough on my calves (I seriously wondered if this would be the day in which I would pull a hamstring or something).  But, I'm proud to say, we made it without a scratch.  This was the first hike that I really felt after we were done (my legs and back were sore).

Indeed, I don't go into these hikes all gung-ho, but I'm always very proud and excited once we're done.  Each one has had a wonderful payoff - from waterfalls to scenic views.  They're also very good bonding times for Lisa and I and that might be the best payoff of all.

We also visited the intriguing Opus 40 sculpture (inspired by Overlook Mountain) on this trip.
All of the pictures are on Flickr!