Sunday, March 30, 2008

Look ma....no voice!

So, let's say you draw....cartoons for a living. You have several newspapers or periodicals who use your work on a fairly regular basis throughout the week. You're expected to deliver every couple of days (or in some cases, every day) You awaken on a...Tuesday, for instance. And you can't move your hand. Perhaps you slept on it in an awkward position, or maybe your ever-increasing arthritis has decided to muster warp-speed. Regardless the reason, you can't comb your hair, much less produce a drawing for that day.

What do you do?

That's how I feel, several times a year. It could be a head-cold, allergies, some weird phenomenon affecting my asthma....or whatever. Regardless of the reason, the 'chords just ain't workin! Now what!?

Now THAT is frustration! Nothing pains me more than not being able to speak. (my wife has an alternate opinion on that, I'm sure) It doesn't seem to matter how many times I clear my throat or how many cups of "Throat Coat" tea I make, the upcoming White Stripes concert ticket giveaway lines that were sent to me are just NOT going to come out of this throat today! Then, the painful note to clients declaring the bad news has to get written.

There's no rhyme or reason to it. Like you, perhaps, I sometimes feel it coming on. It starts as a small "burning sensation". It could take a day to materialize, or it could take several. There's just no way to know for sure when it's going to hit.

It happened Thursday. I knew from the moment I woke up that something wasn't quite right. But, like the cartoonist with severe arthritis flare-up, I hoped and prayed that it was temporary thing that would vacate the premises by 10:00 or so. But that's not what happened. What CAN you do!? I've even gone as far as to re-trace old audio files in an attempt to "piece-meal" together some semblance of a promo. But that generally doesn't work, in most cases.

Thank G-d for the weekend! The old snout feels like it has a mitten on the end of it, so I'm downing Nyquil, Tylenol, Sudafed....hell, anything I can get my hands on. I'm sure my wife is fatigued at hearing me scream, "Do we have ANYTHING else in this cabinet that I can take?"

I thought I read something in the New England Journal of Medicine about a correlation between the elimination of the common cold and single-malt scotch, so I'm off to the "medicine cabinet" again. It doesn't say whether it should be islay or speyside. (you Scotch-devotees will understand) Better try both.

-30-

* Why not grab your favorite beverage, cop a squat, and groove to some DEMOS at www.mattmultimedia.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Easter Egg Enigma

What a strange Easter weekend!

My wife's mother in Ohio has been ill off-and-on for some time, and she suddenly took a turn for the worse on the day before Holy Thursday. So, Donna needed to head home, just in case. (ever try to find a cheap flight 8 hours before you need it? There goes my Tab Funkenwerk preamp!)
So as I was recording some things for KBGG in Des Moines, she called me later on Thursday to say that she wanted to hang around until the Tuesday or Wednesday after Easter.

I'm not sure if you've ever had the experience of being away from family during a Holiday, but it's a sometimes-surreal event. It had been quite awhile since I "missed" a Holiday with family. I believe the last time was during my seminary days. But "radio", and the hop-scotch, bouncing from-market-to-market mentality that can sometimes be associated with it (I've done my share!) puts a different, sometimes twisted, take on the Holiday experience. But even in my radio travels, I've had the advantage of cushioning the blow by having my wife with me, as well as, perhaps, a few acquaintances/friends from the radio station. (especially true during our time in Knoxville...our radio station compadres were invaluable during Holidays!)

However, we came to this area for different reasons. My wife works with, and for, her son. But, her son and family were in Florida for the Easter weekend, and now D was on the big bird headed towards BuckeyeLand. All of this, combined with the fact that there really aren't any "friends" as of yet in the area, made for a contemplative, bizarre, slightly disconcerting weekend.

Matt, the dog (Maggie May), the cat (Ruby Tuesday), Charter On-Demand, several bottles of Bear Republic "Hop Rod Rye Ale", and a few Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs. Now, THAT'S a Holiday weekend!

Oh, and check out me and Maggie on the big screen! Cinema St. Louis and the Animal Protective Association of Missouri are sponsoring a short film festival. What does a guy who does digital editing for a living do when he gest tired of the "audio" portion of Sony Vegas? Why, he tries to utilize the "video" portion of Sony Vegas! Check us out:



Was Maggie making a general statement about her SEC preferences? Was she merely expressing displeasure at the collegiate atmosphere in general? Or, by reacting the way she did, was she invoking a higher calling that seems innately prevalent in all of us? Only the true film and art-house pundits will know for sure. You be the judge.

See what happens when you have too much weekend time on your hands...or have ingested too many of those Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs?

-30-

* Why not grab your favorite beverage, cop a squat, and groove to some DEMOS at www.mattmultimedia.com












Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Love them Tar Heels!

With the advent of March Madness upon us, you probably think today's title would indicate that I'm flaunting some type of Tyler Hansbrough jersey. Well, I'm not. Personally, I'm going with my some-what-of-an-alma mater of Kent State. (Go Golden Flashes!) And, then, once they pack their suitcases and head home, I'm pulling out Vol "orange". Of course, as Pitt will tell you, never count out, completely, the Mid-American Conference. They can help toss a team's dreams right in the wastebasket.

No, I'm feeling "love" for the Tar Heel State because the Matt-Man has joined the Fayetteville team at Classic Hits "96-5 The Drive". Yeah! Dave Stone gave me the good word this week, so we're all ready to "get busy" . Who knows, Stoney may have fondness for the Dukies...or some other team in the ACC. I should probably find that out. In a hoops-crazed state like North Carolina, one has to be careful as to what colors one sports on "Tobacco Road".

I continue to be fascinated by the stories behind "rivalries" and team affiliations. Primarily, aside from the soft spot I have for Notre Dame because of my father's intense love of the Irish, I always grew up more of a professional sports fan. Although I flirted with a few rogue teams during adolescence, I'm a "Cleveland" guy, through and through. It wasn't until I started working in Knoxville back in the late 90's that I really tasted what collegiate sports are all about. (I mean, there was a guy who lived in Oak Ridge, not too far from Knoxville, who actually...taped his ankles...prior to Vol kick-off!? O.......kay.) I remember sitting at a Tennessee basketball game with Tim Sheehan, another fellow northerner who came to the mid-South to help wreak havoc on east Tennessee radio. (Tim and I have reunited again, this time on the mighty I-95 in Danbury, Connecticut!) We were both sitting in our orange seats, draped in orange sweat-shirts, surrounded by 17,000 other people who were adorned in orange gear, staring out at an orange court, and he turned to me and said, "You know, there's no other place on the planet where you would be caught dead wearing this shade of orange on anything!" He's right.

I voiced a few commercials for the Fox crew at WCOV-TV in Montgomery, Alabama yesterday and Jacob, one of the talented video guys in the creative services department, complimented me on the fact that I pronounced something in similar fashion as they would pronounce it in the South. I mentioned something to the effect that some of that time spent in Knoxville helped. Mere nanoseconds passed and an email arrived: "You didn't really buy anything defiled with univ of tennessee colors, logos etc did you? if so, you just lost mucho coolness points!" Oops. I didn't ask him whether he was "Roll Tide" or "War Eagle", but I had committed a horrible faux pas and as a non-rookie, I knew better. I mentioned that I "lately had just been wearing t-shirts with the SEC logo on it" in a valiant attempt to save face, to which he replied, "that would be the only thing that would save a TN lover".

I love it. I've been to Tuscaloosa to see the Tide go at it against the Bayou Bengals, and he's right: the SEC is the best conference. I'm sure the Big Ten think so by now.

So as not to upset my new friend in Fayetteville, I have removed all vestiges of orange, Kent State, and Notre Dame and am sporting only the "ACC" logo. There's safety in numbers.

-30-

* Why not grab your favorite beverage, cop a squat, and groove to some DEMOS at www.mattmultimedia.com

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Meeting the hand that feeds you...

I probably have a tendency to pontificate a bit too much on the seemingly warp-speed changes that occur in our chosen profession; unfortunately, many of them are not favorable. One of the things that I grapple with is the "less-than-personal" aura that things have taken on, due to technology, etc. So, I always get a small rush whenever I get to actually meet a client of mine from some long-distance locale.

I've been the voice of WJBC in Bloomington, Illinois for several years now. R.C. McBride is the program director and he is one of those guys with whom I simply felt at ease around, even over the phone. Having worked at KDKA for 5 years, I certainly have a "thing" for the long-standing, community-minded full-service radio station. WJBC is every bit of that and more. And for a young guy like R.C. to harbor many of the same feelings that I have about a station's role in the community, its importance, and its overall effect on news and talk in a particular town, I immediately sensed back in 2004 that we were going to hit it off. It also doesn't hurt that he's a DIE-HARD Cubs fan, and any fan of baseball is a fan of mine . (or "mine" of "his", or something like that.)

But, we've never met. Until yesterday. R.C. is also an accomplished play-by-play man, and amongst his many duties at "The Voice of McLean County" he's also behind the microphone for the Illinois State Redbird women's basketball team. The Missouri Valley Conference tournament was held this weekend in my neck 'o the woods, so we finally hooked up! It was great to link up a face with a phone-voice!

In talking to him about WJBC, I'm reminded that, aside from traffic situations and, to a certain extent, salary...there isn't much difference between WJBC and KDKA. He would often-times pick my brain while I was at KDKA about promo ideas and such, almost in a sense "deferring" to me, due to the fact that I was in "the big city" and he was in "little Bloomington-Normal". And after talking with him over the past several years, I still stand by what I said to him during our initial conversations: market-size is simply irrelevant. The weather information that's important to some grad student driving from his apartment over to Illinois Wesleyan University is the same info that's important to some credit manager driving in from Monroeville through the Squirrel Hill Tunnel into downtown. (although as any Pittsburgher would tell you, there's generally not a whole lot of movement in the Squirrel Hill Tunnel during rush hour!) I know he probably doesn't believe me now just as he didn't believe me then, but I would not hesitate to say that the folks at KDKA could learn a thing or two from WJBC. It's a sharp operation, and R.C. is a sharp programmer.

Oh, and my "less-than-personal" aura also became disrupted by a phone call from Chris Stevens, the programming grand poobah at Rock 105 in Joplin, Missouri! He called to (and you'll like this) "just say hi and to see what was going on". Wh- wh- what!!?? "Muttley" is knockin' 'em dead in the southwestern part of the "Show Me" state, so that's good news. (and bad news for other Joplin-area stations!) It was very nice to hear from him!

Two in one week? Whoa! Maybe I need an "aura-adjustment".

It's only 11 o'clock and I'm already salivating over this 22-ounce "bomber" of Hoppin Frog I.P.A. from my adopted hometown of Akron, Ohio. (how they achieved distribution in this part of the globe, I'll never know, but I'm a better man because of it.) Everything they brew is solid. I wish the job-prognosis was as good for the Rubber City as the beer.

Two weeks till Opening Day. Yes!

-30-

* Why not grab your favorite beverage, cop a squat, and groove to some DEMOS at www.mattmultimedia.com

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Contemplations on the demise of the 7-inch reel....

I've had the pleasure lately of working with both KNEN-FM in Norfolk, Nebraska (man, they LOVE their Huskers there!) and WZLK-FM in Pikeville, a part of the East Kentucky Broadcasting group. I was telling my wife about the latest round of imaging pieces and I was immediately reminded of how the whole process has changed. It really wasn't that long ago that, while throwing in South Park drops into promo-pieces for "The X" in Knoxville, I secured my first client-station. Whoa....I am the "voice" of a station? Me? I'll always be grateful to Harry Kozlowski at WJYY in Concord, NH (who has a far better voice than I do!) for giving me my first station. As I was uploading the finished pieces to Walt May at EKB, I was really rather flabbergasted by what has transpired, technically, in the last 10 years.

I can recall getting a call from Harry about a promo that had to be voiced. 'JYY had access to some concert tickets and wanted to promote it during Morning Drive the next day. Here, in 2008...no problem! "Hey, just email those lines and I'll jump on 'em and have 'em posted.....oh, in about an hour? Will that work?" But in 1998, well, it was a different story.

First, Harry had to fax the lines. Then, I had to record the lines a couple of times into this new device called a "digital audio workstation". I looked up at the clock. "Hmmm...4:10 p.m. The last Fed Ex pick-up is at 4:45 p.m." That meant I had to ask permission to borrow some clean quarter-inch tape from the station, play the finished "takes" back in reel time (get it? "reel" time?), listen back to the reel in real time to make sure things sounded fine, address the Fed Ex package, and then...literally...RUN downstairs to the front desk so that Mr. Federal Express person could whisk my little reel away to the state where Magic Hat brewery resides.

The only downside to that process is that Mr. Federal Express person had already "picked up"...and he was driving away! So, I had no other recourse but...to run after him! And that's what I did. I ran down Kingston Pike, screaming at the top of my lungs for Mr. Federal Express person to stop his truck. Amidst traffic, as well as the pulmonary dilemmas due to being overweight, I managed to get him to finally slam on the brakes. Soppping wet in the east Tennessee humidity, I thrust my little reel at him, huffing and puffing a "can ya take this one, too?", and collapsed in a heap, right there in front of Long's Drug Store. Whew!! Concord morning-show listeners would get to win their concert tickets after all. And to think that some wish their "voice-guy" would "go the extra mile"? Hmmm....

Just to be clear: I DO NOT miss analog editing, by any stretch! And I do NOT miss tangled reels, splicing tape, dull razor blades, or typing labels for the top of the reel box AT ALL! However, I do sometimes wonder how many more things in our industry will go by the wayside because of the digital realm. The 7-inch reel is a museum piece. And, of course, the "Overnight Jock", in most places, is certainly a relic. Here at MAMM World Headquarters, I keep a small "token" from yesteryear, given to me by one of the engineers ("engineer....what's that?" you ask) at Sports Talk 980 in Washington, DC. It's an I-T cart machine that sits on the top shelf, and inside of it resides one Scotch cart with a label that reads "Legal ID". At times like this, when I get a hankerin' to take a meter-reading and I'm feeling all nostalgic, I reach up, pull that Scotch cart out of the deck...and then jam that sucker back in quickly so that it makes that unmistakable "plastic-hitting-metal" sound and line up my next two songs because, "hey, dude, gotta hang up. My Zeppelin Two-Fer is fading out and it's the top of the hour, so I gotta go, bro. Catch ya later!"
I'm getting all misty-eyed here.

In a little under six weeks, I'll be journeying towards the Buckeye State for a visit with the folks. It will also give me a chance to load up on Great Lakes Commodore Perry IPA, as well as Weyerbacher's Blithering Idiot, just two of many offerings unavailable here in America's Heartland. I wish there was as much beer selection as there are cornfields here. A man needs proper nourishment.

18 days until the bat hits the ball and Grady Sizemore is standing at 2nd, unscathed.

-30-

* Why not grab your favorite beverage, cop a squat, and groove to some DEMOS at www.mattmultimedia.com

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Where did I put my darned coffee?

Good grief....it's Tuesday? Where did Monday go? I suppose that NOT having time to pontificate about something means that I've...been busy with new client "schtuff"? This is good...this is good. Matt gets to eat, Donna gets to send the check for the mortgage, and the final episode of The Wire that I've been saving on the DVR won't get erased.

Don't tell me what happens. I'm still in shock that, arguably, the finest show on television is going adios. Pass the Kleenex.

-30-

* Why not grab your favorite beverage, cop a squat, and groove to some DEMOS at www.mattmultimedia.com

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Talk Boxes, Telephones, Tommyknockers, and Two-Base Hits!

It's Saturday, and I'm still reeling from the fact that I received an email from Bob Heil! Yeah, THE "Bob Heil"...of Heil Sound...of Heil Microphones...of the "Heil Talk Box" of Frampton Comes Alive fame. Yes! Turns out, he lives in the same area that I live in! This is pretty cool!

Like most production/imaging folks, and those of us who enjoy yakking in front of a microphone, we're ALWAYS in search of the perfect sound, the perfect set-up, the perfect "chain"...or the one that we can afford, anyway. The electronics industry, and the broadcast part of it, to be exact, has been flooded with inexpensive Chinese-built microphones that claim to be exact replicas of those made by Neumann or Soundelux or Brauner or others. A couple of years ago, everyone wanted an Apex tube microphone (I have one) and now...well, there are too many to mention, really. But, my friend Troy Duran told me that KMOX had replaced many of its on-air microphones with Heil products, and I was intrigued. So, I jotted a note to the "info@" address...and, lo and behold, a note from the MAN himself! Hopefully, I can meet him at his place and get some of his input on our next purchase for the studio here.

"Email" has really altered the landscape in so many ways. I recently joined the local Chamber of Commerce and had been asked to attend a luncheon and give a five-minute presentation on exactly what it is that I do. (That took some planning, since I've really tried to branch out into other "audio" areas not specifically confined to "radio"...and the fact that I had grappled with exactly how to phrase "watch Sports Center while waiting for Rock 108's weekend concert copy to hit the in-box!) I mentioned during the talk that I thought it was an interesting environment, in that most of the encounters I have with prospective clients...are through email. We simply don't get nearly as many opportunities to come face-to-face with people, simply by virtue of the fact that it's just easier to hit "send". I've really tried to occasionally call clients just to let them know that I'm more than just a "matt@" figure out here in cyberspace. A couple of years ago, a PD, now a former client, said to me, "Hey, it's cool you called....but I'm in the middle of a contest on-air and my weekend-er just called off. Send me an email". Hey, I know the feeling. It reminded me that sometimes it's just more productive and more convenient....to hit "send".

While I both pondered the art of communication and gloated over my newest email pal, I felt it right and proper to contemplate it all over a dopplebock. Bocks and Double-Bocks are some of my favorite beer styles, and Tommyknocker Butt Head Bock is truly mystical! Rich, malty sweetness, well-balanced, a true joy just to look at, with it's deep ruby hues...and at 8.2%, contemplation never felt so good.

My wife gave me an early birthday gift, too. (watch it...this is a family blog!) She saved her pennies and forked over the first payment on the MLB Package. Sweet! I can't wait for Travis Hafner moon shots in high def!

-30-

* Why not grab your favorite beverage, cop a squat, and groove to some DEMOS at www.mattmultimedia.com

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Tom Petty was right...

...the "waiting" IS the hardest part!

As many of my voiceover-compadres know (well, with the exception of folks like Brian James, who, I'm guessing, don't have to do a whole lot of waiting around!) waiting for a decision from the powers-that-be can be mildly disconcerting. I auditioned the other day for a Classic Hits station in the southeast, as well as for a Country station in Hawaii. I even asked my wife to tutor me on the correct "mainland-er" pronunciation of the state's name. ("Huh-WAH'-ee", she says. "Not huh-WHY'-ee!") She lived there for 3 years in another lifetime and, believe me, if she had her way that's where we'd be. I subtly reminded here that I'm in the "radio" business and wasn't all that interested in going back to a 1-bedroom apartment for $1500.00 per-month, sun or no sun.

Moving from working-for-somebody-else status to entrepreneurship makes you look at things in a fairly radically different light. Losing out on the chance to be a part of a station's imaging wasn't so crucial when I knew that I still had a paycheck rolling in. Now, it seems like more of a life-or-death situation, in some respects. The few good friends that I do have know that my wife was involved in a car accident almost 8 years ago. We were en route to a new position I had taken with a station in Washington, DC and somebody rear-ended her on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. That accident has really curtailed her ability to do what she's always done (O.R. surgical nurse) so being employed AND having a healthy roster of freelance clients was a gift from the Divine. Then, when my position was eliminated at the end of 2006, our situation changed yet again. So, yes...the results of this "waiting" have proven to be even more crucial.

While decision-makers huddle in offices across America (and in the U.S. islands to the west of the mainland!) I've decided to do a little reconfiguration to my TV demos. I haven't had a large amount of luck being a part of TV stations as an imaging-voice, and I'd like to correct that this year. So, back to the digital editor!

Oh....26 days till Opening Day! (or, as it's known in downtown Cleveland, "White Sox Butt-Kicking Day"!)

-30-

* Why not grab your favorite beverage, cop a squat, and groove to some DEMOS at www.mattmultimedia.com

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Turning the ship around...

The weather here today is, in my humble opinion, about as crappy as winter weather can get. We had sleet and freezing rain late afternoon and into the evening, coupled with ferociously biting wind and below-freezing temperatures. This morning, there were a couple of inches of snow on the ground, and then it started to spray freezing rain again. Now the sleet is making its presence known, and we're getting reports of 4 more inches of snow throughout the day. Overcast, gray, gloomy...yuck.

So, then, this is perfect weather for auditioning and NOT getting the job! This seems to have happened a good deal to me lately. When I was job-hunting all over the country as an Ar Talent or Production Director, looking for 5k more a year, I used to hum this mantra to myself: "If you can get an interview or audition, you'll get the job". And it usually worked. In the world of "voiceover", it's a far different tale. If I'm lucky enough to be contacted by a station for an audition ("Hey, Matt, we're an Oldies station that's about to go Classic Hits. Can ya read a few lines so we can get together for a meeting later to make our decision?"), my excitement is a bit tempered, because, simply by the sheer number of people doing voiceovers, I know that my chances are fairly remote. Am I blaming it on the "numbers"? Hmmm...maybe. It could be that I just, you know....suck. But the sheer number of people hanging out their own shingle to do voiceover work is pretty staggering!

In the last month alone, I've had the chance to audition for a MAJOR Rock station in the Midwest, a full-service AM in the heart of the Corn Belt, and a Country station in the Deep South. And, like 4 MORE people last week on American Idol, I was sent packing. I'm guessing that the reasons are many....price, style, or perhaps what a PD heard on the demo didn't sound exactly as he or she imagined it would sound when I gave them the audition lines. Or, it could be that I....ya know....suck. Whatever the reason, it's always a little disheartening. Ok, so I just looked at my cable bill. It's ALOT disheartening. Maybe I don't need ESPN Classic.

So, like everyone who splatters saliva into a microphone for a living, my goal is to turn the ship around! I've included my demo on a few compilation CD's that are slated to hit the desks of OM's this week. I do the All Access thing, the Voice Island thing, and am contemplating the Small Market Radio Newsletter. I've also reconfigured a few demos and am finishing up an alternate site that caters to more than just "voiceover", with emphasis on full-blown imaging and commercial production. So, to a certain extent, I think I'm doing my part. Now, if Mother Nature would cooperate a bit to provide a little...ambiance...if you will. Hold on, let me peek outside...

Damn. Still snowing.

-30-

* Why not grab your favorite beverage, cop a squat, and groove to some DEMOS at www.mattmultimedia.com

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Goin hard to the rack in Des Moines!

I have the pleasure of being a part of the capital city's newest Sports station, KBGG-AM! The Hawkeye State has been good to the MAMM team, to be sure. I also get a chance to work again with Tim Fisher. Tim was at WJBC in Bloomington, IL when I first got the chance to be a part of the mighty 1230. Thanks for the opportunity, Tim and Jack!

I like Sports stations a great deal. That's probably due to the fact that I like sports a great deal. I'm not a "stats freak" necessarily....and I don't involve myself in Fantasy Leagues...but I grew up around sports (my father played in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization for a short time) and, although not excessively talented, I always enjoyed playing. I also feel naturally inclined towards sports stations, and especially the full-service AM stations that are flagships or affiliates for sports teams. I imaged Sports Talk 980 in Washington, DC at the start of Y2K. And, of course, I spent almost 5 years at KDKA in Pittsburgh.

I look forward to being on the big 1600! I really like voicing Sports stations that have a sense of humor, as well as the assertive, balls-to-the-walls approach, especially towards football and hockey. However, baseball is truly my sport, and during my tenure at 'KD, I had lots of opportunities to write and produce promos and imaging pieces that focused on the more "spiritual" aspects of the greatest game ever invented. (plus, I got to work with a person whom I consider one of the most gifted voice-guys in the land: Jim Conrad.)

One of the coolest sports imaging guys who I've had the pleasure of working with is Blair Trosper. What's particularly interesting about BT is that he doesn't, admittedly, consider himself a very big sports fan. He programmed WUMP in Huntsville and he wrote some of the most clever copy...copy that, in a way, "married" the aggressive overtones of sports and sports talk with a playful, clever sense of humor. Blair now puts Adobe Audition through its paces at WBT in Charlotte, another station with some legendary call letters.

So....I look forward to much fun and frivolity in Des Moines. Thanks for having me!

Oh, did I mention that it's 29 days till Opening Day? Not that I'm counting or anything.

-30-

* Why not grab your favorite beverage, cop a squat, and groove to some DEMOS at www.mattmultimedia.com

Saturday, March 1, 2008

And the hits just keep on coming...

There were more "down-sizing" moves within the Citadel group yesterday. I work with several Citadel stations, so, obviously, I'm hoping that the "status quo" remains with the people for whom I work.

My position was eliminated at the end of 2006, so I know how it feels. I was the imaging director for a station in Atlanta. Somewhat of a "luxury" was afforded me in that I had some advanced warning that things could go awry. But when your walking papers are handed to you and the reality hits, it doesn't seem to matter whether you had been forewarned or not.

It's not pleasant to read about others' misfortune within our business. It's even worse when a PD or OM with whom I work with calls or drops a note saying that he/she just got out of a meeting...and it wasn't a good one. It really bums me out. Even though I'm not "in the building" working with them, I feel like I have more contact via email/text/phone than if I were right down the hallway, so I feel that, in many ways, I get to know these people. Some become pretty good friends.

There was a situation in 2007 where a station I worked with in the southeast decided to "adjust" the format. The PD included me on a note one afternoon to say that he had been canned. I started to respond to his note to say how sorry I was to hear what had happened to him, and before I could finish the note, I received a phone call saying that the station image-voice situation was also being "adjusted". We finally connected on the phone and I mentioned to him that I knew some folks in the industry and would be glad to try to "hook him up". And he said, "Matt, I'm done. This is the third time this has happened. I've had it with doing everything I can do to implement someone else's programming plan...and then when it doesn't work, I'm the one who gets blamed and then fired. I have no idea what I'm going to do, but it isn't going to be radio."

I wonder how many people who have been let go this week wonder the same thing. When do you throw in the towel? How many times do you have to be "down-sized" before you say "enough is enough"? And if "enough is enough", then what do you do? Go back to school? Open a business? What? For me, aside from a brief journey into studying for the Catholic priesthood, being behind a microphone is really all that I've ever wanted to do. Other than knowing how to distinguish a pale ale from a stout, it's really the only thing I know how to do.

Like the PD with whom I worked at the station down South, there are many, many talented people out there who confront the same question today. And tomorrow. And certainly on Monday. Unfortunately, it's only going to get worse. As Darryl Parks in Cincinnati told me via email last week, "Times are weird indeed".

Indeed. Like the slogan of my favorite record store and head shop in Canton, Ohio (no longer in existence, also a by-product of "adjustment") used to proclaim, "Onward through the fog".