The end of the year is always a time of extra reflection for me.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, The New Year (and possibly a birthday) cause me to stop and take inventory a little more than I normally do.
But I may even be a little more retrospective this year than usual. Why? Well, for two related reasons.
First, October 3 marked the one year anniversary of my show being on the radio. Before then, my show was a only a podcast. (In fact, it started in our bedroom closet!) I'm very humble and grateful to Freedom 95 for giving me this opportunity, and hope to add new stations in 2018.
Second, November 8 will mark the one year anniversary of the first time I was ever LIVE on the radio. I've been thinking specifically about this recently because that was such a monumental day in American politics (because of Trump's victory over Hillary), and for me personally. Let me tell you a little about it and share something I've never shared.
In the Spring of 2016, I decided it was time to try to get my show on the radio. While I sent letters to several stations in Indiana, I decided to call and focus on one specifically: Freedom 95.
I picked up the phone and placed a call to Freedom 95 and asked for the Program Director, Jeremy Beutel. Candidly, that first phone call didn't go very well - but it's something we all get a good chuckle about today!
I had only been on the air a few weeks when I decided to ask Jeremy if I could come in to the studio LIVE on Election night and cover the Election returns. After some consideration, Jeremy thought it made good sense to have me come in and broadcast that night, if I could agree to the format.
I wouldn't be able to broadcast an entire show (although this stipulation took an interesting turn on Election night, as we discuss below), but instead would be given time during the commercial breaks to update the listeners on the Election. Here's the actual program clock we used that night. I kept it to remember the great opportunity I had that evening.
I'll be honest: I was nervous. In fact, you could hear it in my voice. And I never saw the program clock move slower than it did that first segment Election night. There really weren't any returns to report yet, and the format was foreign to me. During a normal program, I am free to use my time however I wanted, adjusting my segments to fit the flow of my content. But that wasn't the case this night. And that, combined with the fact that no news really started coming out until I was on air that night, had me feeling a little awkward!
But I limped through. And after a couple of segments, I felt comfortable and confident about what I was there to do that night.
I broadcast the first hour, from 8pm until 9pm, during Mark Levin's program.
Then throughout the second hour, from 9pm until 10pm, I provided updates during Michael Savage's program.
But then something odd happened. At 10pm, Jeremy walked into the studio and asked, "Can you take the whole thing?"
Not exactly sure what he was asking me, I replied, "What do you mean: take the whole hour?"
Jeremy responded, "Yes. My feed to Savage just went down. This never happens."
In my mind, this was the busiest night of the year for political talk radio, and maybe for Freedom 95, too. In fact, possibly the biggest night in several years.
And it was also a big night for me.
As Jeremy's words began to make sense to me, all I could think about were things. First, I pictured dead air for Freedom 95. I envisioned a station that had silence going out over the airwaves, and I wanted to stop that. Now, I don't know what was actually the case in reality, but that is exactly what I was imagining.
Second, I knew this was a huge opportunity for me - and I had to take it. Things like this just don't happen every day in talk radio, and I needed to trust my instincts and take advantage of whatever opportunity presented itself to me.
So I said, "Yes, I can take the entire hour."
Jeremy quickly retorted, "How long do you need?"
"Sixty seconds?," I said, probably in a tone that more closely resembled a question than an actual statement.
And with that, Jeremy walked back to the sound board and started playing the intro music into my earpiece. I now had free reign for the next hour. Game on.
The third hour ran from 10pm until 11pm. But this hour was different than my previous 2 hours. No longer were we simply trying to update listeners on the Election returns during commercial breaks. We now provided full content in real-time on Election night. And it was a lot of fun!
It must've gone well, too, because Jeremy asked us after the third hour if we'd like to take one more hour. Of course we said, "yes!"
So we concluded the broadcast with a fourth and final hour from 11pm until 12am. (Technically, I think it technically ended at 12:06am on November 9.)
I wasn't able to call the Election for Trump before signing off slightly after midnight, but I realized he was almost certainly destined to win sometime during those last 2 hours. (You'll recall that the Associated Press (AP) called the race for Trump at 2:41am on Wednesday, November 9.)
After we had signed off and were wrapping up for the night, Jeremy walked into the studio and said, "I feel like that was meant to be." I felt the same. Breaking into talk radio is difficult. There are a lot of challenges to deal with, and sometimes catching a break can be the difference between success and failure. We caught a break that night. I trust we'll catch more in the future.