In my former career, there was an adage, “You can tell how successful a DJ is by the size of the trailer behind his car.”
Since the logistics of moving oneself to a new city is considerably easier than moving a city to where one broadcasts, disc jockeys were nomadic. My personal story brought me to where I now live after bouncing around the west, “playing the hits” at radio stations ranging from Provo, Utah to Palmdale, California.
In order to secure new work, one would send out five-inch reel-to-reel tapes (um, remember, this was the seventies) to radio stations posting in trade magazines who were seeking “air talent,” which is what we were euphemistically called. Tapes consisted of an hour of one’s show with the music omitted so the prospective program director could hear skill level and style.
For most, the usual career progression was to start out as weekend fill-in jock on a small market station and little by little climb the rungs, hopefully ending up at a major market in a prime-time slot (referred to as a “drive time”).
After working as afternoon drive in Redding for a few years, my roaming inclination was engaged and I was sending tapes to stations across the country; willing to hitch up my trailer at a moment’s notice and go wherever anyone was willing to have me.
I was being considered for a weekend slot at a 50,000-watt AM clear channel rock station with an extended reach. The possibility was both exciting and terrifying at the same time.
Said my therapist, “How are you feeling about your prospects?”
“I’m nervous. I’m trying not to get my hopes up.”
“Why would you not want to get your hopes up?”
“Because if do — and then I don’t get the gig — I’ll be disappointed.”
He paused, nodded thoughtfully, and then asked, “So, how will you feel if you don’t get this job?”
“Disappointed,” I replied, “I think it would be really great to be on a big station like that.”
“But I thought you weren’t getting your hopes up,” said he.
“But you’re still going to be disappointed?”
That loud knocking you hear is paradox banging on the door.
“Well, yes, I guess I am. I’m afraid that it won’t go the way I want.”
“A couple things,” he began,