Monday, August 20, 2012
It could be Torrance all over again.
I’ve touched on this before but during my radio daze I would often have to do live remotes. These were broadcasts from stores designed to bring in customers. In almost one hundred years of radio broadcasting, station personnel have still not realized that watching some schmendrick sit in a store window playing records is not a big draw. Even the lure of free bumper stickers and discount coupons for lube jobs are not enough to get warm bodies into your store. These remotes usually make the stations look bad and force the disc jockeys to violate their restraining orders requiring them to be at least ten yards from any minor.
I’ve done these remotes in hardware stores, tuxedo rental shops, record stores, a Denny’s, and an exclusive country club. That was fun, telling the thirty-five people in Los Angeles who were even eligible to come on by.
When the Dodgers were on XTRA 1150 I co-hosted a pre-game show with Ben Maller (now with Fox Sports Radio). One time we had to do the show from a tire store in Torrance. But since it was a day game from the east and we were on west coast time, the show started at 8:00. The store wasn’t even open until 10:00. We sat there alone in the parking lot, looking like a couple of complete idiots. You can see why I wouldn’t want to repeat that lovely episode.
(Later that same year we did our broadcast from a car dealership in Anaheim, again set up in the parking lot. The dealer also happened to have his gardener there that day. All the listeners heard for a half an hour was a deafeningly loud leaf blower.)
When I had a book come out in 1993 (IT’S GONE… NO, WAIT A MINUTE) I didn’t have any book signings. My publisher (Villard) said no one knows who the hell I am so it makes no sense. My team, ladies and gentlemen! If you have one of those I'll be happy to sign it too.
Then when I came out with my travel book last year (WHERE THE HELL AM I? TRIPS I HAVE SURVIVED) it turns out there were no more bookstores. Damn! Why didn't I write it thirty years earlier?
I have a few friends who ghost-wrote books for celebrities and athletes. If they have a signing I always try to go. One was particularly great. It was for a noted athlete. As is usually the case, the author will read a portion of his book. This athlete stumbled and bumbled and couldn’t pronounce half the words he uh… wrote. I can only imagine the audiobook. Mine is almost eight hours long. His must be thirty.
And then there’s the story about basketball legend, Charles Barkley. When someone criticized something in his book he claimed he was misquoted in his autobiography.
I will do my best to get through my passages tonight. And worse comes to worst I’ll just lapse into Mariners play-by-play.
See you all at 5. Well, maybe not all of you. Many of you. Some of you. Hopefully more than Torrance.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM