Everyone should do it at least once in their life.
Speak on the radio, I mean.
While promoting my new book (search for my name on Amazon if you’re curious), I had the honor of being interviewed live (via telephone) on Nashville’s Super Talk 99.7.
(Not that I haven’t broadcast live from a studio before. Forty-something years ago, my career as a DJ came to a screeching halt after a single comedy-of-errors weekend. In the weeks following that catastrophe, when the word “frequency” came up locally, it had less to do with signal modulation than “Just how often will the sheriff let us tar and feather someone?”)
I’m glad I built up the nerve to do the interview.
Like many people, I am self-conscious about my voice. Sure, when my utterances go straight from my mouth to my ears, I imagine myself subbing for Patrick Stewart onstage in “Macbeth” or exchanging urbane witticisms with the fabled Algonquin Round Table. But when I hear my voice on a tape recorder or other such device, I remind myself of Huckleberry Hound with his bow tie on too tight.
Some people have a face made for radio. I have a voice made for hieroglyphs.
I’ll admit that I overprepared for the interview. Sure, the cough drops IV unit was marginally defensible, and I may yet find a venue for the six-act hand puppet biography of Guglielmo Marconi; but I could still face litigation for disabling every toilet within the range of hearing and simultaneously gagging the Ty-D-Bol Man.
The genial host invited me to relax and treat it like a normal one-on-one conversation, but my brain has a built-in translator. A benign query such as “What inspired you to write this book?” becomes as stressful as “When you sign this 40-year mortgage, you do realize we’ll know where you live, right?” or “Just what are your intentions with my virgin daughter, you young punk?”
On the other hand, it’s hard to take yourself too seriously when you know that while half the listeners are hanging on your every word, the thoughts of the other half drift toward, “Oooo, I hope they rerun the jingle with the yodeling vinyl siding today!”
All in all, it was a great experience. I hope you seize your own radio opportunities.
Voice your opinion on a political show. Phone in and prognosticate on a sports show. Compete in a trivia contest. Announce a birthday or anniversary. Publicize your civic organization. Don’t be a wallflower when an on-air personality does a remote broadcast from one of your favorite businesses.
You’ll get a priceless ego boost when friends and acquaintances laud you as a celebrity. But remain vigilant as you enjoy your 15 minutes of fame. I keep expecting the IRS to connect the dots. (“Hmm. 15 minutes of fame. Time is money. Audit time! KA-CHING!”)
And it might be even more than 15 minutes of fame. We tend to think of radio broadcasts as having less permanence than a book, but those radio waves just keep traveling through the universe.
Perhaps someday they’ll reach intelligent life thousands of light-years away.
“Dude! It’s just like those earth signals I picked up 40-something years ago. Huckleberry Hound is still their leader! Have they never heard of term limits??? Somebody just go ahead and give me an alien autopsy right now!”
Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at email@example.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”