You Have a Face for Radio

Being a writer has taken me into some interesting situations.  Last February, poet Dick Bakken and I were invited to be interviewed on Bisbee radio station KBRP (impossible not to think of it as K-Burp).

Dick was to be the poetry presenter at the Cochise Community Creative Writing Celebration about six weeks later. I had opened my big mouth and told Leslie Clark, who was on the Celebration committee, that the one thing lacking was an open-mic reading. She instantly volunteered me to set up a couple of them to promote the event.

The military folks among our readers will recognize my tactical blunder. Isn’t “never volunteer” a military mantra?

I hadn’t been on radio before and felt nervous when we went on the air live. Dick had been on lots of times, though, and our DJ hostess, Chris Dowling, had everything under control. Between them, I started to feel at ease and have some fun.

Too much fun, apparently. Chris had asked us to bring our own poems to read. I had practiced mine at home with a micro-cassette recorder, working on just the right inflections. Never did I dream that there were still words you weren’t supposed to say on the air. It was 2011, after all.

By the time I caught sight of Dick’s and Chris’s faces, it was too late. That four-letter gaffe had already gone out my mouth, through the microphone, and over the airwaves.

Afterwards, I apologized profusely and said that if the FCC gave them grief about it, they were to call me, and I’d take the blame. It was my fault, after all. What about re-broadcasts? Chris’s engineer was able to suck that word right out of the digital recording. To people who heard only the replay, that verbal no-no never happened.

As Dick and I left the studio, I caught sight of a poster: You have a face for radio. I thought it was delightful, accepting. I don’t have a face for television or movies, never mind the figure, but here I had found someplace where I fit, just the way I was.

Except for my mouth. I was glad, at that moment, that relatively few people recognized my face.

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