Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Big Breezy Day In May

reminding me of the only time I was ever paid for doing a free form show at WFMU, in 1997, in East Orange (unfortunately a pre-archive show). Upsala College had closed for good, so WFMU rented a basement for a week in the church across the street from our studios - no space for this in the house, moved over all the fundraising marathon tee shirts, prizes & premiums - hundreds of large boxes that had been stored in a trailer behind the station, stacks of CDs, records, books, envelopes, cardboard mailers, invoices, endless rolls of pre-printed address stickers, packing tape dispensers, a closely monitored but cranky postage meter - & set up a large, temporary shipping room to get all of this stuff out. Throwing lots of swag at contributors is a WFMU tradition. As an inducement to help, DJs who could work several 8 hour days got an hourly wage & a free lunch. There were four or five of us who took the deal. It was worth the expense, because Station Manager Ken & shipping boss Scott could train us once, & give the one day walk-in volunteers simpler tasks or let us train them.

On Friday, Ken was pushing to finish up, have everything sealed & delivered to the post office by 5, & vacate the church basement. But he'd have to skip his weekly afternoon program, head over to the church, pitch in wherever needed, & especially be there to grease any glitches immediately before they stalled the assembly lines. A quick head count in the kitchen at lunch told me I was the only DJ on the premises who was available & experienced enough to throw together a radio show fast. I was also needing every hour of that paycheck. I'd been out of work, just completed a short computer course, been rehired at Pearl Arts Supply store, but that wouldn't start for another week & I was broke. So when Ken asked me, I said sure, if I stayed on the clock. I probably didn't have to say anything, but in my mind I'd already put those three hours into my gas tank. I wasn't gonna fill-in unless I was certain I could filler-up.

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