This blog is devoted to remembrances and essays on general topics, including literature and writing. It has evolved over time, and some older posts on this site might reflect a different perspective and purpose.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Going Live During Drive Time

            Quite a few people have told me over the years that I have a good voice for radio. A few (and you know who you are) have also told me I have a great face for radio, but we won’t go there. Last week I had a chance to put the voice (and face) to appropriate use.
            Rosemary Chalmers, host of Good Morning Monterey Bay on KSCO, the leading local AM station, invited me to come talk about my mystery novel, The McHenry Inheritance. An author should be willing to do anything for exposure, and drive-time radio is definitely worth getting up for.
            In fact, I didn’t even have to get up that early. My segment aired from 8:40 to 8:55, so I rolled into the parking lot at 8:20, chatted with the receptionist for a while, then was led into the studio a minute before I went on. Rosemary told me to stay three inches from the microphone, and I tried to focus just on that and on not saying, “you know.”

A Last-Minute Campaign Ad

            It had been a while since I had been in the KSCO studios, but the visit brought back fond memories. I particularly recalled an instance a number of years ago when I was working on District Attorney Art Danner’s re-election campaign. He called me at 8 a.m. the day before the election to say he wanted to do a last-minute ad incorporating something that had been in the newspaper over the weekend.
            Ten minutes later I was at the studio and sat down with Dick Little, their news director at the time, to write a script for a 30-second spot. That was done in 15 minutes, and the next problem was finding a voice to read the ad. “Why don’t you do it?” asked Dick. “You have a pretty good voice.”
            After a few minutes of rehearsal, the DA rolled in to do the “I paid for this ad” tagline and to write the check to make it true. We recorded the ad and ran it a dozen times that day. A lot of people told me they heard it and recognized my voice. The DA was re-elected with 58 percent of the vote. Who knows? Without the ad, he could have slipped to 57.5.

A Civilized Conversation

            Talking about my book was a much calmer experience. There were no call-ins, so it was just Rosemary and me having a civilized conversation about mysteries and what’s involved in writing a book. Rosemary and I have known each other for a while, so it was a comfortable situation. The time went by fast, and I even remembered to get in plugs, without being asked, for Bookshop Santa Cruz and Crossroads Books, the two local independent stores that are carrying my novel.
            At the conclusion of the interview, as is her custom, Rosemary asked me to join her, the receptionist, and another station employee whose name I didn’t get in singing a Monty Python song. Not “I’m a Lumberjack,” which I could have done, but another with which I was completely unfamiliar. I did my best, but Michael Buble and Harry Connick, Jr., have nothing to fear.
            As the segment ended, I realized, from the announcement that followed, that my interview had been the lead-in to Rush Limbaugh who came on at 9. There was more than a little irony in that, but to find out what it is, you’ll have to read my book.