“Absent But Did Not Leave” is slightly similar to being A-W-O-L. I did slip away (sort of) but I didn’t need permission from anyone to leave and I don’t have to look over my shoulder to see if someone is chasing me or if anyone even noticed! I think I am in the clear. Several years ago I walked away from people who I believed made it their life’s ambition to control my actions because I was not only in the public eye but a public servant as well. The truth is all they really did was annoy me!
For most of my professional life I held positions of public trust, first as a broadcaster, then playing various roles in law enforcement; deputy sheriff, police officer, and finally Chief of Police. Anyone willing to pin on a badge and swear to uphold local, state and federal laws should be held to a higher standard and I did my best to keep those promises until I realized my own life’s work was getting in the way of something far more important to me; my own self worth, and my obligations to my family and to me.
We tell ourselves there is no higher calling than to serve our fellow man and we go home each day feeling satisfied that we did our best to do that and that we’ve earned the right to feel good about ourselves. We also know that others respect and admire us for our deeds which allows us to feel a sense of pride. But how much admiration or satisfaction do any of us really need, or for that matter deserve if it all comes at the cost of constantly doing what others expect or simply to fuel a personal ego that needs fed every day?
For years I fooled myself into believing I was put on this earth to make a positive difference for others. It started with my kids and I did the best I could with them and along the way for total strangers. I suited up everyday and made myself available to anyone and everyone that I thought needed me and I felt the sense of pride all of us do when we go about our daily routines doing what is expected of us, and when we can, a lot more. Most of us are willing to do that for as long as we’re able but when we do it is easy to lose sight of some things that might be equally or more important.
Playing by the rules allowed a series of personal joys that included having the means to pursue my passion for classic cars, the home I always wanted, with a radio studio in it and even a swimming pool in the backyard. My neighbors knew what I did for a living and most of them respected me for that and some even went out of their way to kiss my ass because they coveted friendships with people they thought were important. Had I been a tinker by trade instead of a police officer most would have snubbed me and probably would have treated me with far less respect than they did.
I discovered that reality after I retired! Those I believed admired me FOR me scattered like ants running to another sweet spot after the one they congregated around was washed away. I became just another guy in blue jeans and a flannel shirt mowing his lawn or sitting on his porch. The waving and the “cheery hellos” stopped abruptly as did the phone calls and knocks on the door from many friends, acquaintances and even a number of relatives that no longer needed opinions or advice. In other words, I rolled the dice to find out how much my work actually mattered and for how long it would or how long I should keep it up.
It didn’t take long to find out. In the years since I retired I have focused a lot of attention on things I dreamed of for years; writing, spending more time with and loving my pets, restoring a few classic cars, building and working in my Internet radio studio and watching the world to see how it does without me having much of a role in it. About the only role I have played in recent years is mingling with a few thousand people on Facebook, mostly people I don’t know and who don’t know me, and all but a handful a few thousand strangers I wouldn’t want to, and for the time being I also walked away from all of them.
But I am not really gone, not all the way, not just yet. I still visit Facebook, but as an onlooker mostly. I have become like an ambulance chaser rushing to it to see crowds of people gathering and gossiping about what they just saw or think they saw. I watch them scramble to be heard or only noticed by the cameras they know will see them as if they are being interviewed by the interviewer who is them. “What did you see, what is your opinion, what is your role in all of this?” And they give it. Posting and interacting with others seems to give many people the same satisfaction I must have felt when I believed I was special also. But wait, my own Facebook pages have not existed without a similar desire to be seen and heard, only in a somewhat different way.
Most of mine through the years have been about promoting books I have written, cars that I have owned, my feelings for my pets, being the parent of kids that continue to do amazing things and promoting my Internet radio stations. But like everything else in my life the time came when I realized that most of those things really only mattered to me. I started to feel like the prostitute I used to be, prostituting my abilities for the need to know that someone else actually cares or at least appreciates my efforts.
I questioned the real importance in knowing one way or another if anyone reads my books or listens to my radio shows; I stopped being impressed by someone else’s car or their home or status in the community, and I stopped worrying about others political opinions or wondering if they agreed with mine. Instead I focused on my own terms for how I want to live. No longer do I care what others think of me or if they approve of what makes me happy. I’m here now for a dog, a few cats and less than half of a half dozen people who actually count on me for anything.
The rest is just time spent living my life on my own terms, looking for ways to be different, not the same as everyone else because being different actually requires more thought and a better sense of being grounded in my own reality instead of someone else’s.
No one knows or cares more about me than me. The things I like or anything I might be curious about, how I choose to spend my time and for whatever my personal reasons might be. And in that regard it should surprise no one that my outlook on most things have both softened and hardened. What now matters less to me has allowed more important things to matter more. If there is to be one more more thing I should do I will, and whatever it is it won’t matter if no one approves or even understands. I may be absent but I haven’t left.
See you on the radio!
Hickory 4 (Or Hi-4)
Rick Minerd 4-10-2010
I still say it anytime I am asked for my phone number. In fact, I still have the same number I passed out to my friends as far back as 1958! Back then almost everyone spoke it or wrote it that way when asked for their home phone number.
(For some living nearby it was Hickory-3).
It was way before we needed to dial the area code before our seven-digit numbers, and way before phones were used or needed for anything but conversation; when telephones had two cords, a straight one that connected to a tiny box mounted on a baseboard near the floor and another squiggly one from the phone to a receiver.
Try explaining that to a generation that grew up never seeing one mounted on a wall or a bigger, heavier one sitting on a table beside a lamp. It would be like explaining the music we play on Hearlites or why we like it. “Hickory” was in many people’s daily vocabulary here in the south end of Columbus, but in other parts of the world words like Plaza, Boulevard, Dixie, Jersey and probably a thousand others were used in place of the first two digits when reciting ones phone number. Another telephone prefix I will always remember was the one many of us called to request a song or just to talk to the local radio disc jockey; “Capital”
Ca- 1-7811 was the number to the WCOL studio for that, and Ca-1-6843 was the contest line we needed to dial anytime there was a chance to win a prize. Repeated often by guys like Mike Adams, Bob Harrington, and all those Johnnies; Buck, Lane, Hill and probably a few more back in the era. I can still hear their voices inviting listeners to call… Capital-1 etc.
But by the time I grew up and later became a DJ there the number had changed to 821-9265 (821-WCOL). Funny, I don’t remember the phone numbers for other places I have worked, or for that matter anyplace I ever lived besides where I am right now. I am home, I mean really home. After living in numerous apartments and houses through the years I came home in the late 1990s and bought the one I grew up in, and the phone line here that was once in my parent’s name is now in mine; different phone, same number for nearly 62 years!
The old WCOL left it’s digs at 22 South Young Street a number of years ago and today I have no idea what their phone number is. The music on the station we listened to back then has also moved. It’s been decades since they played the songs we now play on Heartlites. Most of those old-time radio entertainers are gone too. A few are still with us but like me they are inching closer and closer to the end of their run. The run that was the entirety of our lives, and how us lucky ones earned a living. The world is slowly forgetting and caring less and less about that time when all anyone needed was a simple radio and someone on it to keep us informed or entertained, or maybe just company when there was no one else around.
In that regard radios have joined the ranks of old telephones. Fewer people have one that can’t be carried in a pocket and used as a mailbox or a television and a host of other purposes. The new phones are capable of actually engaging in verbal conversations with others but fewer people use them for that purpose. For many it is like having Western Union at their fingertips to send messages instead of calling anyone they want to communicate with. It is their hand-held Encyclopedia Britannica, a dictionary, garage door opener, remote car starter, camera and record and movie library. And when someone calls them it doesn’t ring, it makes any one of a hundred different programmable sounds, or it vibrates, not unlike a battery powered sex toy. I guess it could be used for that too!
I don’t have one of those and I’m okay with it. Because even though my phone is still tethered to the wall with a cord it does what I need it to. And I have something else most don’t; the same number I memorized and started sharing with others when I was in the first grade, and I have the music that became famous when it was all being played on WCOL!
I am home in every way anyone could be. Lucky Me.
The Old Crow Who Lived In A Shoe
Rick Minerd 3-21-2020
There once was an old crow who lived in a shoe. She was so full of hatred and fear she didn’t know WHAT to do! So she wasted all of her time bitching, blaming and complaining to all who would listen until all that was left to hear her was a flock of other old crows just as miserable as she was.
One day some of these old crows noticed people swarming hardware stores and home improvement centers and buying up all the wooden poles and straw they could carry, using them to build crude looking human figures and dressing them up with hats and flannel shirts and standing them in fields, front yards and everywhere the crows wanted to go to spread their hate and their hopes of destroying everything and anyone that wasn’t as bitter and as toxic as they were.
But the old crows began showing up more and more anyway, determined to never allow anyone that didn’t hate themselves and the world around them to have a moment’s peace or enjoy the things they worked hard for to have.
They couldn’t understand how anyone could muster enough gall to disagree or worse yet ignore them. They were all so full of incurable hatred and self misery that anyone who WASN’T suffering as they were should be shamed and attacked relentlessly even if it was abundantly clear to them that good and decent people would never surrender to their own fears or otherwise be changed into cowardly crows like them.
What many didn’t know was the one and only thing in life these crows did not fear was a scarecrow. Instead of fearing it they flocked to it believing it was built for their comfort and theirs alone. They came in droves, landing on it and using it for a pulpit to spit even more hatred, and as a toilet where they would leave their crow droppings all over it and on the ground it stood on.
The mess they created and left behind only made them angrier and more resentful of everyone else for taking too long to pick up after them, unaware and totally clueless that all of their statements, regardless of which end they came from only disgusted everyone else.
The old crow who lived in a shoe that the other crows trusted and held in high esteem was actually a fraud! The truth about her was that she wasn’t a she after all, she was a he! Just a weak, bitter old crow masquerading as a female! The bird equivalent of many liberal men, by and large referred to as “man-chicks”.
He surrounded himself with other angry and spineless old crows, half of them males, half females but all with a common purpose; to express hatred for, and defiance against everyone and everything that stood taller, was stronger, or were better hunters more capable of providing for their families. They even fought with other birds that were prettier than them simply because they were prettier!
The fighting became so fierce that one day the old shoe dweller became more scared than all the rest; he flew back to his safe place, a stylish and rather expensive sneaker given to him by another crow that believed if you find two comfortable sneakers tied together you should untie them and give one away!
Safely nestled inside, away from the real world the old crow would peek out every day and shout hateful comments to be enjoyed and shared by others who agreed with all of his useless snark and bitterness, feeling satisfied that he was still admired and respected, if only by a few slower and dumber birds than he.
It was rumored that old crow once mattered to more birds than he ever would again, and that was one of many reason he became what he had. Discarded in his old age and drowning in self pity that his tail feathers were thinning and sagging, and that his bird legs were beginning to bow and his bird feet and toes had gotten ugly and had begun to curl and become weak.
Some thought it was also because he had to look a little harder and fly a little further to find free bird seed because farmers were planting less corn or because climate change made the crops of free corn smaller.
Most would say it was because of all these things. Those unafraid to speak their mind would, and HAVE called that cranky little creature just another insignificant pest that doesn’t contribute anything of substance to the world and refuses to accept what’s best for everyone instead of only for himself.
Maybe it really was all of these things that made him so nasty and unlikable but we believe it might also have been possible that his behavior was taught. Maybe he was someone’s pet long ago. Perhaps cared for and brainwashed by a retired old liberal school teacher, or maybe some burned out liberal media person who one day just got tired of him being around and simply set him free.
Rick Minerd 3-13-2020
We’re getting a good look at who we really are in these first few weeks of the worldwide crisis that has made its way to our nation’s unprotected borders and through our unlocked doors. In this case, doors that cannot be locked to keep a new and very dangerous intruder out and no one is immune from becoming its prey.
This latest one is a serious illness imported by people that don’t like us much, and whether its delivery was intentional or not it has claimed many lives, and will claim many more. It has placed communities and entire countries on lock-down, and it is one that reveals day-by-day many indications of being perhaps the most significant emergency many of us will ever experience.
It is an emergency not unlike some the world has experienced throughout time, including previous pandemics, environmental disasters and wars; previous disasters that caught people off guard causing sudden panic and leaving many scrambling to react the best they knew how, some totally unprepared with no plan for survival and then discovering too late that it was too late.
I have an uneasy feeling about this latest pandemic; that in a very short time all will be affected; that we will lose more people than the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization could possibly predict, and before we and our loved ones can breathe freely again without fear of killing one another we will witness the best and the worst of people’s behavior and intentions.
Some of them will be people we thought we knew but whose true selves will be exposed. They will be the ones we can count on or who count on us to get through this, or they will be the mockers and the untrained experts in matters they really know nothing about that only make things worse for everyone else.
I’ll do my best to remain cautiously optimistic that this too will pass sooner than later, and I will be doing what I can to avoid places and people that just a few weeks ago weren’t labeled possibly hazardous to our health. I will continue to rely on common sense and further knowledge about these dangerous times as it is doled out by the real experts.
Sadly many others will ignore what might be best for everyone including themselves, and they will find comfort in believing that the rest of us are overreacting leaving them to enjoy the spoils of our concerns and sacrifices while bitching about the cautions they should practice or things they may have to do without.
The warnings are not camouflaged nor being kept from anyone, they are explained daily using professionally drawn charts and expert testimony for everyone to heed or ignore regardless of what they choose to believe. Like watching generals point to maps while discussing battle strategies to defeat a common enemy. We all have a front row seat in that room if we care enough to put normal routines on pause and pay attention to the adjustments we may need to make in our lives.
Those who can should probably self quarantine whenever possible even if by doing so they will miss some ball games, a few adult beverages or more photo ops in the sand to share on social network sites.
But even if some could but won’t, maybe they will at least try to act like responsible adults; stop politicizing everything they don’t like or scares them, and not make light of what surely has all the earmarks of being another episode in world history that will be remembered and talked about long after this current run of world population has expired.
Living on Jacks and Queens…
Rick Minerd 3-8-2020
More than twenty years into the 21st Century and it is still a strange place to be in for a “Maverick” like me. The term is often used to describe someone who is unconventional, a non conformer or a counter-culturalist and I wear it proudly. Some would say with reckless abandon and without any measure of guilt or shame and I wouldn’t argue it!
If that is what a “Maverick” is then you can call me Brett, Bart or Beau. If you didn’t already know or if you have forgotten, those guys were television western gamblers known for playing against the odds but somehow always okay with the results, win or lose. They ended every adventure with a smile, often more of a smirk in nature, satisfied that they gambled on fate instead of fearing what it might lead to.
The truth is we are all gamblers of sorts. We have bet our respective futures using as chips what we were willing to do to reach our goals and to become the people and have what we hoped we would. Some never stop gambling regardless of the stakes. They are the people that never seem to have enough of anything.
The past stays in the past for them as they focus on the here and the now and what lies ahead. Waking up every day and going to bed every night with a never subsiding zeal for popularity, being admired and having more, or at least staying within striking distance of those who have the most.
Relevancy can be habit forming but it can be and typically is fleeting. No one rises above their most recent press clippings or temporary moments in the spotlight, and in time the admirers become fewer and fewer until eventually the lights are dimmed forever and younger people with more extravagant dreams steal it.
It is at that point when more Mavericks like me begin to emerge. Those unwilling to conform to the new ways of new times simply because someone else expects them to. Anyone previously covered in glitter and standing out in every crowd suddenly becoming the new Bohemians who find themselves viewed now as unwilling to accept the patterns or thoughts of others that might take them out of their comfort zones.
I know because I rarely leave mine. Living now as an old man who has managed to hold onto a chest of outdated toys and trinkets that I still find interesting and a joy to play with. It is full of music, photographs and scripts that I memorized and used long ago when I still felt a need to be relevant.
No one but me cares about the contents of that old box and it is to my advantage that they don’t. I’m still a gambler gambling on a belief that I raised the stakes when I needed to and folded when the time was right.
But the games aren’t over just yet. Now it is down to how I play this new one, not how anyone else wants or expects me to. This edition has me playing roles that are similar to some I previously excelled in but with rules I wrote. Stayed tuned.
So long, but so short…
Rick Minerd 2-27-2020
Life in general.
Stereo 104 “The Hood”
Rick Minerd 2-19-2020
This is a tale of two schools of music preferences. It is a fully functional radio studio in the south end of Columbus, Ohio that is capable of broadcasting two distinctively different vintage radio formats. We think it is impressive and worthy of a few more self inflicted button popping opportunities.
are on the air 24 hours of everyday sharing the same console, sound equipment and passion for American radio history. The music keeps alive memories of happier times before our world wasn’t ours anymore.
It is for listeners who can no longer justify reasons to compete with a younger generation for the best seats in beer joints, theaters, stadiums, or for the best jobs, or for that matter any job! It’s their world now and the changes they have made to it aren’t tailored to anyone that appreciates the one that used to be ours too.
Their priorities usually don’t reflect ours anymore than the music they listen to does. They took that away too, and what they didn’t take is harder to find than it was when all we needed was a radio to hear it. Something called the Internet has all but completely replaced the way we used to entertain or simply communicate with one another. So we bought into it. On the air I am no longer Rick, I am “The Hood” a culmination of life style, experiences and technology.
Without access to a .com much of what some of us practiced, studied, honed, and dedicated our youth to would be gone. “Senior” radio broadcasters have lived long enough to become irrelevant in this world that is no longer ours, as irrelevant as everyone else who has lived long enough to remember when radio mattered more than it ever will again.
The people who were our teachers, the cops and firefighters, doctors, nurses and everyone else now retired or nearing it, and sadly even the parents of a few that are still with us, mostly irrelevant in this world that once was ours too.
Irrelevant but not going all the way down and completely out of here without tipping our hats to a generation that spawned the one that replaced us and the one before us. The latter entertained, informed, and taught us what we learned about radio and it’s something we’re proud to have shared with the world that was ours.
It’s the same world but run and enjoyed mostly by new people; we’re just playing music in it for people like us. The songs we offer are two and three minute reminders of what was here before we planted all those seeds that grew and covered us up!
(The road less traveled)
With Rick Minerd 2-15-2020
The long and winding road heading south out of Columbus was called “hunerd and 4” by the old-timers that drove it when I was a boy. Drivers like my dad and my uncles who spoke with a southern draw who preferred it over the straight road “Route 23” that ran parallel about a mile or so (as the crow flies) to the east. “23” had fewer curves and was less “hilly” but also more state highway patrol cars with radar guns and twice the traffic!
By comparison “hunerd and 4” could rival a roller coaster ride when driven faster than the speed limit signs “suggested” but destinations required less time for drivers and passengers who were willing to throw caution to the wind and risk getting a little car sick.
It might have been on those road trips between Columbus and Chillicothe I became enamoured with the car radio because I went on many with my dad to visit his old stomping grounds and the people he knew down in Ross County. It was the late 1950s through the mid ’60s and all I knew about radio was it was a source for music played by men who told us what time it was and the titles of the songs we were listening to.
The radio station we heard for about 30 miles on the way down was WCOL (Columbus) before it faded and then dad would mess with the tuner until we were hearing WNRE (Circleville) all the way to our favorite fishing hole or to grandma’s house in the country. That meant pop-music (or Top-40) radio halfway and then country music the rest of the way.
At the end of the day, heading home on the same long and winding road, up one hill and down the next the brand of music on the car radio went from country back to pop. So I am reminded of old WNRE when I am working over on our sister station “bestoldiesradio.com” and old WCOL here on “heartlitesradio.com”- both broadcasting from Columbus’ south side, the ‘hood! Music has a way of stirring up some of my fondest memories, none fonder than those trips back and forth on a hunerd and 4.
From the Archives; Friday, February 19, 2016
Legend Has It…
When I made the decision to slow down and simplify my life I decided that from here until it ends I will surround myself with only people and things that have a connection to the world many of us old-timers remember as a better one than we will ever see again. The 21st Century isn’t the future I envisioned and for many of us it has only been one fast-paced disappointment after another.
There is a reason that nostalgia is so popular for so many people, it brings comfort and it allows our minds to revisit the best places and times of our lives and when we had more energy and reasons to hope each new day would only get better. When I compare the people and things that surrounded me when I was young with what I have and see every day now I find myself longing for something that nothing I can do and no amount of money can ever bring back.
Maybe it is a photograph from long ago, that when I look at it I wish I could climb inside of it and stay there; be again with the people in the picture or touch an object that is seen in it, or stand in the spot the photographer stood when he or she captured that moment in time.
If we could some of us might want to climb in and stay there forever! That’s how it is for me anytime I look at old images of the people and the world that I believed was better and made more sense than it does now; before so much time passed and chipped away most of the reasons I was full of hope for the future and was more energetic than I am now. Even some of the people that are still here, many that I wanted to know and did know back then are no longer pleasingly familiar to me because they changed and I changed. I watch them doing all they can to blend in with people and surroundings that none of us could have imagined before and I wonder why they feel a need to do that as much as they might wonder why I don’t.
The music I listen to now is the same mix that provided the soundtrack for almost everyone once upon a time, and more and more I find myself searching for ways to keep reminding myself of how lucky I was before most of that luck ran out! Don’t get me wrong; I still believe that I am the luckiest man alive and my reasons for believing that have filled the pages of several books I have written and published. But writing and sharing those stories has only been an abbreviated recording of what I was able to experience along the way and I don’t think there has ever been a writer that could document all of the reasons I feel as I do about most things. I lived it and I know I can’t translate all of it into words!
My books and blogs barely touch the surface of my very complex brain that sees and feels only what it wants to now. I cannot write anything that penetrates deeper into it to fully expose who I think I am or that person I believe I was before I dropped out and walked away from anything and everyone that I don’t want to be a part of any longer. I find myself watching this “future” from a very comfortable personal zone that I have created for myself; it is as if I am in my own zip-code away from ugly realities and anything else I don’t find pleasure in, but I like it here!
I see the world and study its people from a place called Facebook where nearly everyone there is eager to tell everyone how things are going for them; what angers them, their pains and sorrows, and it provides me a schematic to follow when I want to avoid all the people and circumstances around the world that I am better off away from. I see what pleases them and what doesn’t on television and in publications and I needn’t walk or drive much more than a few blocks from my personal zone to be reminded of the reasons I have chosen a mild form of solitude over chaos. My lifestyle wouldn’t quench the thirst for belonging and mattering to others that most people have but I like it and I embrace it!
I think of myself as a part-time participant in life; I engage when I feel like it and I back away when I know it is in my best interest. Learning how and when to do that allows more freedom to do the really important things I feel really are to me; things like quality time with my dogs, filling my days with small achievements that are more important to me than someone else and keeping my blood pressure and emotions at an easily managed level by not allowing anyone or anything to dictate what I should be doing or how I should feel. I choose my own pleasures and decide for myself what angers me and I react to all of it with little or no regard for what anyone else thinks about it. I can afford to do that now so I take advantage of it every chance I get!
In other words, there isn’t anything that could be described as orthodox about the guy who is writing this post! It began with a picture of my car and I needn’t tell anyone that saw it what it is or what car company manufactured it. Anyone who is old enough to understand anything I have ever written knows what it is and I included it here to make that very point!
It is a 21st Century version of what it started out as way back in 1964. It looks similar to the first one that rolled off the assembly line back then but it blends in nicely with every car on the road today. I want to believe I am something like that car! It is an expression more than it is anything else to me. There are better and more expensive vehicles out there crowding the roads and highways but to me there aren’t many that make the same statement that mine does. It hearkens back to a better world and when cars had more personality than most new ones do now. That time when it was easier to identify stark differences between a Ford, a Chevrolet or a Dodge.
It was built several years after my parents passed away, and after many more people that were special in my life died but they wouldn’t have to ask what it is if they could come back and see it today. That gives me an undeniable sense of peace and comfort because it is something they would expect me to own and drive in the 21st Century. My dogs aren’t much different than any of my other pets through the years and I don’t think I am, so it only makes sense to me that my car should also be another familiar extension of everything else I want around me.
Maybe it would appear to some that I live in the past or that I drag it around as if I am fastened to it by imaginary ropes or chains, but I think I stay connected through what has become a necessary osmosis for me; like a prescription I need to take to keep feeling younger than I am before I get old and feeble minded and can no longer feel anything at all!
If anyone thinks I am already tetched in the head then so be it, because remember, I chose the time and the place for this mental transformation, I didn’t wait for the natural order of life to do me in!
That is what this post is about; holding onto something when we don’t want to let go and when we don’t have to. We let go of things either because someone else thinks we should or when we no longer have a need for something, or when we want to make others believe we fit in with them by being like them. But most of the people I am really like are gone now and what they knew and who they were is as precious to me as anyone or anything around me now. So I hold on, and I keep dreams and legends alive in ways that may only mean something special to me.
The garage that car is parked in was the shelter for my dad’s cars and it is where he and I shared so many memorable times together, either tinkering with tools to fix or build something or just getting to know and understand one another better. Through the years there have been other cars with horses in the center of the grill and even a few blue ones; in fact, the first one was a 1966 and it too was blue and when I squint my eyes I can fool my brain into seeing its ghost or reincarnation.
What I and many others would give to be able to travel back to 1966! Of course we can’t do that, but what I am able to do is take advantage of an imagination and my own spirit that time hasn’t been able to erase to keep alive, if only for me, something worth keeping.
Because like I have been trying to explain, legend has it that I lived a pretty good life. I saw what now seems like a perfect world before it stopped seeming perfect and that keeps me feeling like I am the luckiest man alive. I fill books with stories like this one and from time-to-time I see a monetary reward for my efforts. But making money out words that I am able to string together isn’t why I do that, I have enough money to see me through this day and some more. Money cannot buy back or add to what I really want anyway, it can only pay the rent and cover the other expenses of what I already have and keep it all going for a little while longer.
The “T” word
With Rick Minerd 01-12-2020
Therapy is something I never imagined I would need, or if I have I wasn’t aware of it. If someone were to ever imply that I might benefit from it I would have dismissed the suggestion without hesitation. Me, in some form of therapy? Not a chance. I know a lot of people that have sought help from others and many more that probably should to work out whatever issues are troubling them, but not me.
For the record I will admit that I have anger issues, indeed I have several, but the concept of working through them with aid from someone that might understand them but who really doesn’t know anything else about who I am is an absurd thought. My business and especially my personal thoughts are just that and rarely do I seek advice from strangers on how I should feel or how best to react to anything. After all, even if they are well educated in this field and trained to deal with a variety of other people’s problems they are still strangers.
I happen to covet my anger issues, I feed on them and I speak and act accordingly when I feel the need to. I can cite several but for purposes of where this is headed I will spare the reader some time and address just a few. People that intentionally harm weaker people than themselves make me angry and I never want to lose that. I also never want to stop despising anyone that would neglect or otherwise abuse animals in any way. Those people should be subjected to similar fates, worse if possible. I hope I never stop feeling that way.
Some clever therapist might try to change how I feel about such things so I dare not trust any of them. I also wouldn’t want any to try to help me understand why other lowlifes like thieves, con men and many politicians do what they do to benefit their own lives at the expense of people that can ill afford to lose what they have worked hard for, deserve, and need. I hate those bastards also and I hope I never stop being angry at what they get away with.
The other anger issues I might have aren’t anything I can’t work through on my own by simply disengaging myself from them. I avoid people I don’t like and who don’t like me. I have also removed myself from topical debates that I determine to be meaningless, or no longer interesting to me. Someone else’s political leanings mean nothing to me anymore. It is not my job to change them, nor is it likely they could possibly change how I feel about anything I believe in.
I am a very passionate man when it comes to what I believe or want from life, and passion, like conviction is something not easy to bend or break when it’s real. I also don’t care about another’s favorite sports teams, not their religious beliefs, ethnicity, finances, nor their social graces, or lack of any.
If I think someone is batshit crazy I assume they are fine with it and I leave them to be who they have chosen to be. But I caution them that is best for us both to pester someone else instead of me and when they are willing to do that there isn’t a problem. If on the other hand I am in anyway challenged by anyone who was previously advised to leave me alone I want to have anger at the ready to explain something more clearly to them than I must have.
Somewhere along the way I have learned the art of personal therapy. By being my own therapist I am saving a lot of money and a lot of someone else’s time simply by being who I am and using some other skills I’ve picked over the years to wade through all sorts of personal issues without professional help.
I’m in therapy here. Writing this blog and paying attention to a couple of radio programs that have kept me distracted for several years from people and things that make me angry. The personal efforts that have resulted in the sum and substance of it all helps to avoid allowing my anger issues to get the best of me or get myself in trouble!
Give me an inch and I’ll take a mile
With Rick Minerd 01-11-2020
It’s what happens anytime I am expected to be content with just one and then left unsupervised. One measly inch, come on, who settles for that? I sincerely doubt that I am alone here. Those who can relate might agree that fruitful existence is about taking chances or not. The truth is everyone can lay claim to a life that can be defined by a series of adventures and misadventures, and we’ve all tripped over a few mistakes along the way but also found happiness when we succeed.
The way it felt the first time a customer showed up thirsty to our lemonade stand, followed by another and then another until at the end of the day we were holding more money than we ever held at one time. Money earned from having enough determination and arrogance to believe we could accomplish something we’ve never tried before.
For me the best things happened when I experimented with something different when having more wasn’t on the table. Sometimes more was better but usually only in the short run and the sum of it might have put me in danger of changing into someone I probably wouldn’t have been happy with. Being what or who I was expected to be by someone else wasn’t the formula I used to get what I really wanted or needed.
Borrow less, owe less, even if you might be challenged in ways others typically aren’t.
More times than I should probably admit it seemed what ever I was doing was barely under control, like an old car with bald tires going south on a slippery slope. But luckily most of those hills weren’t as steep as they looked from the top, and they all eventually leveled off leaving me feeling pretty good about myself that I didn’t skid into disaster on the way down.
Sometimes it isn’t about going higher to accomplish something or to determine who we are. The view from the bottom is the same distance it is from the the top. I know because I was up there a few times. But I also knew the time would come when I would have to come back down and find simpler ways to make the most of where I finish my journey.
Among those lofty perches I previously occupied were in a few highly rated radio stations and a couple of police agencies . Places where supervision was tight and expectations were high, and where forgiveness rarely came without a few strings to untangle. So, this is where I have chosen to make what will probably be my last lemonade stand. Where an inch of freedom has become a mile of mixing words in a blog and hundreds of song titles scattered between two internet radio stations!
If ever I have left evidence or fingerprints of me anywhere, it is right here!
Open wide and say “ahhh” Understanding a few tricks of the trade
With Rick Minerd 01-09-200
Photos of radio and television personalities often depict a common theme; the “star” in the captured moment seems to be caught without warning in what appears to be an expression of shocked euphoria that someone wants to take their picture. Eyes popping, their mouth wide open as if sitting in a dentist chair prepared for the inevitable. The same look you and I might have if we just opened our front door to see a cameraman standing behind a crew from Publishers Clearing House holding a giant check with our name on it.
In a moment like that our probable embarrassed expression would be real. But theirs is staged, over and over, and over, with the same enthusiastic and meticulous planning of every amateur “self photographer” shooting entire layouts of “selfies” to choose from for posting on their favorite social media sites. After all, what would be the use of having your picture taken or taking your own if all anyone is going to see is what you look like when there isn’t a camera aimed at you?
Let’s face it, photos of people who aren’t doing something goofy, or when they are not all dolled up are just other faces in a crowd, some prettier than the rest, or not as. The whole idea of striking an intentional pose even when you are your own photographer is to incite others into believing they are seeing someone who is pretty amazing and fun to look at all the time.
That whole eye popping-mouth-wide-open performance seen on the faces of radio and television personalities when having their picture taken is the final scene of a well rehearsed act. It is another self orchestrated opportunity to extend (away from the microphones and studio cameras) the persona they want to project, the image they are selling to those who are expected to adore them.
C’mon, photos are supposed to be fun, I get that. And with the advances in dental science and technology that now makes it possible for teeth so white they look as if they are lit from the inside with bright fluorescents it’s more money’s worth to open wide and show them off. As for me, there are no photos anywhere of me with popping eyes and a forced smile that requires my mouth to be open as wide as I can get it.
No, seriously, I have never done that, and at least for now you have my word I probably never will. Besides, my teeth are nearly as old as I am and to have a set worthy of exposing them every time I am in the finding end of a camera lens I would probably need to have them expensively customized or replaced with shiny new ones, man-made.
But I did say I probably never will, didn’t I?
Being someone generally cautious enough to avoid saying never, if there is even the slightest chance I might, an image of me acting like that for a camera shot could be possible if the camera holder is a dog. If that ever happens, the look on my face of shock and surprise will be real. Dogs do have a way of making me smile even if I wasn’t planning to.
The south end and the birth of Top-40 radio in Columbus, Ohio
With Rick Minerd 01-08-2020
Top-40 Radio as we knew it from the middle 1950s until it stopped being a part of our regular listening habit actually has its roots here in the old south end of Columbus!
It began one evening in August, 1956 in the second floor studios of WCOL while that station was still playing a regular format of adult oriented music; the likes of Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Lawrence Welk and other music giants in the “pop Music” of the times.
That is until a man named Hoyt Locke, a local record store owner happened to be at the station one night to record a series of commercials for his store on E. Main Street. As the story was told to me in a live on-air interview in 1984 with Hoyt’s brother Edgar, the regular scheduled DJ that was supposed to start his program was either fired or he quit leaving no one to do the show.
Hoyt, even with no previous broadcasting experience was asked to sit behind the microphone and talk about the records he was featuring in his commercials. He began playing a style of music WCOL listeners weren’t familiar with, including the likes of artists such as Sam Cooke, Little Richard, Fats Domino and the other early stars of what became known as Rock & Roll!
The night was such a huge success the station hired him as their new night-time disc jockey. From that point on WCOL listeners quickly learned who Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and a slew of other new up and coming stars in the pop music field were. A new radio format never heard here before that mixed R & B, adult standards, Rock & Roll and ultimately all the stars appearing on television’s American Bandstand.
This new hip, flamboyant DJ adopted the on-air name of Doctor Bop. He dressed in a doctor’s white coat with a steth-o-scope around his neck, white pants and white bucks (shoes). With the new radio sound the old WCOL became known as “The New WCOL” and over the years became and stayed the #1 radio station in Columbus!
Then there is the south end connection to all of this. Hoyt Locke grew up down here where he and his brother attended Reeb Avenue School. When the boys were very small in the late teens and early 1920s they shined shoes and sold newspapers along Parsons Avenue! When they were young adults they pooled their money and opened “Bop’s Record Shop” downtown.
After years of struggling to make a go of it Edgar took a job with the post office to help support it while Hoyt was using some of their meager profits to purchase commercial air-time on WCOL. As Edgar explained, they were about to call it quits in the music selling business when Hoyt landed the radio job. In short time Doctor Bop became the most popular and celebrated personality in Columbus.
He was 46 years old in August, 1956 but to his listeners he was a peer. Doc stayed with the station until 1959 when he was hired across town at a new up and coming pop-music station, WMNI. That job lasted about a year before he packed his bags and moved to Milwaukee Wisconsin to program and star on radio station WAWA. It was while workingthere he died of a sudden heart attack in 1976, then brought home for his final rest and is buried in the south end at Greenlawn Cemetary.
Heartlites Radio was created in 2011, rising from the ashes of one of the earliest internet radio stations on the world wide web, then known as “Stardust”. Located in the south end of Columbus, Ohio, steps from the historic German Village community we are the only known locally produced, owned and operated oldies specific music provider broadcasting worldover.
“Heartlites” shares the same studio with our sister station “Best Oldies Radio” , each offering different but similar formats, both classic or vintage in nature.
While “Heartlites” continues to focus on “Pop Gold” or “Top-40” as we knew it in the 1950s through the 1970s, “Best Oldies Radio” pays homage to the country and western music of those decades!
A lot of thought and no small measure of passion goes into producing and presenting the best radio we know how to. The “we” is me! The passion began way back in 1971 when I was 19 years old. Tired of sweeping floors overnights in a discount store I got the brash notion that if I believed strongly enough that I could make a living as a radio DJ I would find a way.
That first “way” was enrolling into Career Academy School of Broadcasting to study radio and television broadcasting. After believing I had learned all the school was able to teach I landed a radio job at WTVN AM & FM here in Columbus.
In the years that followed I would skip across town to WNCI, then to WRFD, WMNI and eventually ten years with WCOL where at the age of 34 I put the dreams of becoming a rich and famous broadcaster to rest. I left the uncertain world of radio for new challenges in law enforcement. First as a Franklin County deputy sheriff and then a city cop, retiring in 2005 as the Village Marshal and Chief of Police in Obetz, Ohio.
From then on I flirted with the possibility of returning to radio broadcasting but instead I focused on another dormant passion, writing! if anyone is curious how that worked out you can check my published accomplishments on Amazon, Trafford Publishing, Xlibris and Lulu Publishing.
And then came internet broadcasting, or as I like to call it, 20th Century Radio in the 21st Century. My earliest dreams have come full circle! This project has been evolving for more than a decade and will continue to evolve until all of my passions relating to it are gone. That won’t happen until I am satisfied that everything I have learned about following dreams is within earshot of the world wide web for all to hear!
Put another way I still strive to put my best into everything I do.