Radio

The World’s Crappiest Radio Fan

One of the worst things about having a job as a radio personality is when you lose that job. Close friends and family tend to find out from each other, but the burden of filling in the rest of the world usually falls on you. This leads to some uncomfortable situations, but the good news is that it usually passes within a matter of months.
Unless you’re ME, that is.
See, I just ran into someone who thought I was still co-hosting a morning radio show that’s been defunct for 2.5 years.
I see this woman all the time. I don’t even recall how we became friendly, but she’s always quick with a hug and “Hello,” so it’s easy to like her. Our friendship has never gone beyond these pleasantries until recently, when we happened to be leaving a movie at the same time. We were waving our good-byes when she said, “I can’t wait to hear what you say about it on the radio tomorrow!”
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Tana Goodwin
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For Tana: Fuck Cancer

“You don’t know me, but I think we’re best friends.”

That’s one of the biggest compliments you can get as a radio personality, topped only by, “I think you’re my sister, who somehow got separated at birth.” When someone tells you that, it means that something you said cut through the white noise of RADIO and actually affected them. It’s one of the things I miss most about being on-the-air.

Fans like that usually slip away when you’re no longer ON the radio, but some of them don’t. That’s when they stop being “fans” and become FRIENDS. It’s also how Tana came into my life.

She showed up first in my Twitter feed, “liking” and then retweeting the random B.S. I was putting out there. Then she was on the Morning Show’s Facebook page and then one day, she just showed up. We had invited listeners to join us for lunch, so Tana did and warned me through Twitter that she would be there.

We, these sisters from completely different parents, were finally going to meet.

Tana was sweet and funny, but she wasn’t the lighthearted girl I’d expected. She told me, in the same breath, that she was the mother of 8 children AND that she was battling breast cancer. It wasn’t a poor-me kind of statement either. More along the lines of, “Can you believe this shit?” She told me that her husband was very helpful, and that the older kids in their twenties were good about helping the little ones. She even had an infant on her lap that day. The idea of it all made my head swim, but Tana still found a way to laugh while we ate our sandwiches.

Tana was pissed when I lost my job and reached out the first day she didn’t hear my voice on the radio. She didn’t go away after that though, and checked in on me regularly. It was easy to keep up with her because Tana was good about posting health updates on social media. Maybe a little too good, as her friends and family were constantly screaming “TMI TANA! T-M-I!”

Here’s the thing about having friends with cancer, though. If they have it long enough, you stop taking it seriously. If you don’t see them on a regular basis, you start assuming they’ve beaten it.

But they haven’t.

It didn’t occur to me that Tana’s Facebook page had been quiet until I saw the picture her sister posted. It was a smiling Tana with her niece and nephew and the words underneath mentioned “happier times.” I got worried and sent Tana a message, hoping I’d get one of her dry but reassuring responses. Instead, her husband wrote me back.

He told me that the cancer had spread and was now in Tana’s brain. He wasn’t sure just how much time she had left, but she was still lucid and happy to have visitors so I planned to come by Monday. It was Friday, after all, and seemed like there was plenty of time. I asked what I could bring and he said she liked flowers. I planned to bring Tropicana Roses, because they were my Mom’s favorites.

Tana didn’t make it through the weekend though. She started a rapid decline Saturday and died Sunday morning. I didn’t get to take those roses to her and I feel horrible about it. There were some things I really wanted to say to Tana and since that won’t be possible, I guess I’ll just put them here.

Thank you for being the friend-I-didn’t-see-coming, Tana. Thank you for reaching out and letting me know that we were probably sisters who had been separated at birth. Thank you for being outraged when I lost my job, but continuing to be my friend afterwards. Thank you most of all Tana, for breaking down the wall between “radio” and “listener,” if only to let me know that YOU HEARD ME.
And also Tana, forever and ever, Fuck Cancer.

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PODCAST: My Review of “The Jungle Book” on Power Hits 97.5

I welcomed a new show to my family of stations today. Robert Elfman from Power Hits 97.5 in Junction City, KS had me on to review The Jungle Book, but he said the segment would need to be 90 seconds long. As you know, brevity isn’t my THING but I think I pulled it off. Thanks to my new friends at KJCK for having me on. I look forward to chatting movies with you again, and to talking really fast!