A headline today in The Jacksonville Observer that Mark Foley is getting a radio show in Miami. Foley, who insists he did nothing illegal when he sent sexually explicit text messages to a congressional page but resigned to set some kind of example, is now a radio host.
Now, I don’t begrudge someone getting a second start, and Foley’s show is only one day a week, but why is it that it seems that everyone who doesn’t have anything else to do suddenly decides they can be on the radio?
This has been going on for years. G. Gordon Liddy was among the first. Al Franken comes to mind, when he stopped being funny writing for SNL. He’s one of the few who have gone from bad radio to a political career. The list goes on and on and on.
I spent 30 years building a radio career. It was a single-minded focus for the bulk of my working life. I guess I and the other radio professionals made it sound so easy that everybody thinks they can do it. But seriously, what’s up with that.
Just like the ability to type on the Internet makes people think they’re journalists, something about the ability to listen to the radio must make people think they’re qualified to be ON the radio.
I guess I’m just a little bit resentful that something I care so deeply about seems to be treated so dismissively by wanna-be talk show hosts. There are a lot of good ones out there, to be sure, but there are some real hacks as well, and I’m just kind of tired of every time somebody runs out of career steam they wind up getting a radio show. I’m here to tell you, it’s not that easy.
It won’t stop, of course. I don’t know if Mark Foley has ever been on the radio before, but at just one day a week it takes a long time to build an audience no matter how good you are. I know you don’t leave politics, or any other career for that matter, and start up in the NFL. But why is it always a radio show. You can’t put 10,000 monkeys in a room with word processors and come up with Shakespeare, and you can’t take 10,000 congressmen out of Washington and expect them to be good radio hosts. Just once, I’d like to hear that they’ve started a career as an electrician, or insurance representative, or a Wal Mart Greeter, anything but a radio host.
I guess somebody thinks it’s glamorous.