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Grass Tunes..."Live" Mistake...National Radio Day

Aug 20 | Posted by: Bill Whyte |

Thursday morning and boy has the humidity lowered in Nashville.  So pleasant outdoors right now.



I had a great day writing with Josh Shilling who had sent me a chorus and melody idea that had been running around in his cranium that was so good.  I had spent some time trying to find a verse or two that made sense with his chorus and I think we did just that.  This one has a bluegrass flavor, but I always remind myself that Josh can go any direction…jazz, blues country you name it.  He’s truly gifted as a keyboard player AND vocalist AND guitar player.  I hate guys like him!  Josh cut his teeth on Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett and folks with soul in their voices.  Yet he’s part of a very progressive bluegrass group Mountain Heart


I know I’ve posted this before but if you want to see what I’m talking about watch this 8 minute or so jam of Mountain Heart on the song “Whipping Post” that features Josh on the lead vocal and keys. The guy can just wail.  Always a pleasure creating something with Josh.



My Cincinnati Reds had a bout with Covid…missed a couple of games but started playing again.  Last night they had a double header and I watched a lot of it but did not catch the awful mistake Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman made that may end his career as the Reds TV announcer…or announcer for anyone or anything for a long while. 


In the second game of the doubleheader in KC against the Royals Thom committed the Cardinal sin (not St. Louis) for all broadcasters.  Thinking his microphone was off he made a homophobic slur that went out on the air.  Shortly after he was removed from the broadcast and very well may never be able to return. 


Couple of thoughts. I’ve listened a lot to Thom through the years.  Reds broadcasts, NFL, MLB you name it.  His dad Marty Brennaman is in the Hall of Fame and just retired from the Reds radio booth this past year. The Brennaman’s are part of the fabric of Cincinnati…for years and years.  Heck, I even played a celebrity baseball game once when Thom was on my team.  So, I hate it for him


But, in broadcasting you’re told early and often to never assume your microphone is off.  He’s going to pay a hefty price for that.


Long ago radio got away from being truly “live’…like a lot of TV broadcasts to avoid train wrecks that can happen. I’ve got a couple of stories myself. Nothing of that magnitude, but I’ll share one that put my heart in my throat.


Years ago, when I was doing the morning show for WUBE I Cincinnati Jimmy Buffett had just played a concert at Riverbend…the big outdoor amphitheater.  He was doing multiple shows, so I thought, let’s send our producer out, wake somebody up sleeping the campgrounds and have them give us a review of the concert the night before. Keep in mind, the rule was to record all interviews, edit them, and then air that interview.  But I loved “live’ radio…and the unpredictability of “live” and not reducing it to a homogenized edited interview that sounded “perfect” instead of organic.  Big mistake for ignoring the rule and putting the guy that woke up hungover in his camper on the air.  And even though our producer told him, “you’re about to go on air “live” so don’t cuss.  The guy says, “cool”.  So, I introduce him and say, “how was the Jimmy Buffett show last night?  The dude shouts, “it was f&$###ng great”!  I had a silent heart attack. I slammed his volume down and went to music hoping to get away with it. I didn’t.  A couple of days later I had an interesting conversation with my Program Director.  And that was the last “live” phone call interview I ever put on the air.


Act like your microphone is on ALL the time.  And never take a “live” phone call and put it on the air.



And on the heels of that story…today is National Radio Day. Eric Babin who runs Radio Trop Rock with his wife Gina sent me a note last night wondering if I had a song about radio?  Do I.  So, I sent him “Face For Radio” and then got another note telling me they will air what I just linked for you to watch here today on their internet radio station.  Thank you Eric.



I scan through the timeline of my Facebook a lot when I’m on the couch watching TV. I stopped to watch some Carol Burnett bloopers last night and laughed out loud a couple of times.  And I don’t care how many times I watch the “elephant” joke during the “Mama’s” segment with Tim Conway slaying Carol, Dick Van Dyke and Vickie Lawrence?  I laugh so hard every time. And as funny as Tim Conway is in this segment?  Vickie Lawrence “Mama” delivers the funniest line at the end putting the cast on the floor…literally. 



This kind of sums up the economic impact being felt in Nashville from closing the bars and a large part of this music town to visitors.  Music City is losing 100 million dollars a week!  Lower Broadway’s most famous bar “Tootsies” just got a full-service license to be a restaurant now so that they can open and make more money. Wouldn’t be the place I’d go out of my way for to have dinner…but for those die-hard honkytonk lovers.  Maybe so.


Of all places, the “Cheers” Bar in Boston was shut down for Covid.  It’s not just “Norm”! and the gang that goes through those doors.  A LOT of tourists every year.


A new study is saying the risk of getting the virus on an airplane is extremely small. Good news for struggling airlines I would think.  I’m surprised the flight attendants have not added “if you refuse to wear a mask, a mask will drop down out of the ceiling”.


And now they tell us urinals are dangerous and we should wear masks to protect from “upward virus particles”. Great. I see a lot more green trees in the future.



Now researchers are saying 2 or more cups of coffee per day may save hundreds of thousands of liver-related deaths each year. Wow. If that’s really the case my liver should outlive me by 1,000 years easily.



My wife is so healthy.  Everything she eats is that way. Me?  Not so much. She asked me to taste some DAIRY FREE ice cream…from the So Brand of ice cream.  This flavor was Salted Caramel. Skeptical, I took a bite. And now I’m hooked.  Dairy free, low calories and really really good.  I’m just putting that out there for other folks like me who think that’s not possible…to have that good a taste and low calories.


I read an article that listed a lot of things retirees waste their money on. Some you would guess. Not taking advantage of Senior discounts and not switching to generic drugs are a couple.  But the one that got my attention was “giving too many gifts to the grandkids”. I have grand-cats…so I can say I have not done that. Okay, a couple of toys at Christmas maybe…but that’s it!



Rascal Flatts was set to do a big farewell tour when the pandemic hit. But they are winding down and the three guys in the group will be doing some different things in their life.  Jay DeMarcus, the bass player has already done so by launching his family into a reality TV show on Netflix “DeMarcus Family Rules”.  In case you’re interested…here’s a peek at that.



But not on the ocean. Apparently, surf is up enough in Sheboygan, Wisconsin that folks grab their boards.  Sheyboygan is up towards Green Bay on Lake Michigan.  It’s the Bratwurst capital of the world. But I had zero idea one could SURF in Sheboygan.  Wonder if anyone up there has designed a surfboard in the shape of a brat?



I’m writing with my east coast buddies Ayla Brown and her boyfriend Rob Bellamy. I’ve got a duet idea for them that we’re going to tackle today.  Looking forward to that.


Have a great Thursday!



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