7-30 ''I'll do better next time''

I'm not sure where to start. I doubt I'll be able to keep this blog under 4 pages, but I'll try to be as concise as possible. Yesterday 98 Rock cancelled 'Irresponsible Radio'.

It was cancelled because it was doing poorly in the ratings compared to the rest of the station. I called Justin Schlegel to let him know and he compared it to the cancellation of 'Arrested Development'.


However, the show became something I was quite proud of. It started slowly and was very inconsistent. However, over the past 5 months we had established regular segments, regular characters, recurring storylines, regular guests, etc. Over the last 5 months it became very, very good. Sadly, no one heard it. I'm not surprised the show was poorly rated. My friends did not listen, they were not fans of the music which was 65% of the show. My wife didn't listen, she was busy running the house in my absence. Our boss didn't listen, he was more concerned with the revenue producing day parts. I am not being critical of any of these people. My point is that if the people who have a vested interest in me or the show aren't listening, how can I expect the masses to do so?

Thirteen weeks ago we went with the station again to Cancun for ''Spring Fling''. I was excited because I felt this was an opportunity to show the station what we were doing at night. The promotions people, the rest of the on-air staff, management would hear what we were doing. It went exactly as I had hoped. We had a great week of shows and everyone (including 2 hours of drive time) was able to hear what we had become. I was positive we had the best show on the station and I felt we had just proven it in front of the entire station.

However, the day we returned, I was informed that my pay was being cut. It came as a serious blow to my psyche as I thought we had just put ourselves in a much different position. My choice was to accept this or quit. Again, I am not being critical. Our job was to increase listenership. We hadn't done so. I agreed to the pay cut under the following conditions: I needed to know that the station believed in our show, and I needed it understood that if my pay wasn't returned by September 17th (1 year) that I would be leaving. It wasn't about the money, but if I was going to work 17 hour days and only see my wife and children on Saturday and Sunday I needed validation. Demotions and pay cuts weren't going to get me there, but the truth is I loved the show and believed in it. The program director told me that he also believed in the show and understood that I couldn't stay after September under the new salary.

Since that time, the show has become a beast content wise. Every segment had become tighter and funnier. Every idea was clicking. Our chemistry was at an all-time high. Did we have misses? Of course, but they were fewer and fewer, and most of them stemmed out of obligations that weren't part of our own creativity.

I'm not in denial. I recognized the show wasn't good for the first few months. I was learning how to do radio. I was struggling with the content. I was establishing a chemistry with my broadcast partner. But we got there.

So why did it fail? Well, let's start by saying if the show wasn't funny, then I'm oblivious to that. If that is the reason, then I'll never get radio. However, I think that we had an odd format for nights. Some people want comedy and some want music. The people wanting music may not want two guys talking for 20 minutes an hour. The people wanting comedy may not want to wait 15 minutes until we're back on trying to make you laugh. It's also possible that the people who gave this show a chance early on decided it wasn't funny and never came back. It may be that my comedy is not conducive to the 98 Rock audience. I hope this is not the case, but I know there are a lot of things that we wouldn't do that I know the listeners like (farting, twisted tunes, etc.). At the end of the day, I think it is a combination of the first two, but I am grateful that Dave Hill (Program Director @ 98 Rock) took a chance on this format and I'm sorry we didn't hit the ground running.

I have some regrets. First, I wish I could have left on my terms. I have never in my life been fired from a job. The money wasn't going to be there in September so if I could have made it 5 more weeks I would have been leaving anyway. You get a lot more respect from your peers when you leave versus being fired. Now I'll be viewed as the Michael Dukakis of 98 Rock. I also know what it's like when someone leaves a workplace. The next two years they are held responsible for every issue that arises. I hate knowing that I'll be that guy. Secondly, I hate failing. I can't go into detail without sounding a way I don't want to sound, but I am unaccustomed to not having success, especially professionally. Next, I wish I had stood up to the problems with the show early on, but I was so worried about chemistry that I let it affect the content. Finally, I regret that my wife had to go through people judging her because her husband was out until midnight every weekday night. As if she was some frail victim and I was out living the life of Hunter S. Thompson. People are stupid. They'll take any opportunity to feel better about themselves by taking the success of others and explaining why 'they would never live their lives that way' . Well, they won't because they can't. When they get offered a radio show and turn it down, then they can judge us.

The majority of my experience was positive. I made a lifelong friend in my broadcast partner Theo. I'll miss seeing him every day. My brother is an incredible producer, and that effort came without getting paid. He was most passionate about the show, and I am sad that he won't have that in his life moving forward. I have over 200 broadcasts under my belt. I met some great people at the station. I got to work regularly with comics Justin Schlegel, Andy Kline, Rob Maher and Danny Rouhier. They did my show every week for free. They gave of their time creatively and drove to Baltimore from Virginia/New York/Rockville weekly for almost a year. They did this for no other reason than the love of comedy and our friendship. I appreciate it.

At the end of the day, for the past 10 months I was getting paid to make people laugh. This is a privilege. Less than 1% of people doing comedy ever get here. I appreciate that 98 Rock and Dave Hill gave me that chance. I want to thank the listeners who supported us. I wish there were more of you.

I'll go back to doing stand-up again which I missed immensely. You can see me this weekend at the Baltimore Comedy Factory. I'll be the guy in the back crying.