Absolutely no apologies
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
“Don’t ever apologize on air,” I remember KDNK’s Wick Moses telling me.
To someone as addicted to saying “sorry” as myself, that sounded like freedom. It also sounded nearly impossible. That was months ago, and I was in the beginning of DJ training at the radio station. The control room looked so daunting then, but exhilarating at the same time. It felt like a test, one that I was half-nauseous, half-excited to take.
A few weeks later, I got my chance.
It was Nancy Smith, one of Monday night’s friendly DJs, who let me on her show. She gave me half an hour, right in the middle, to play and talk. My stomach was in all kinds of knots, let me tell you, but I was happy to be there. I wanted something new, and I wanted it to be difficult, too.
I definitely got my wish.
That first night, I stumbled over my words. One of my CDs stopped playing mid-song, and I accidentally ejected another as it was being broadcast. I was so frustrated, but I was hungry for more.
Over the next month and change, I went on with Nancy a few more times, with varying degrees of success. One really good night might be wiped out of memory by the next week’s bad performance and vice-versa. Regardless of the outcome, though, I stayed curious. And it felt good. I haven’t been that dogged about something in a while.
Then, a few days ago, I really got my shot on air. The station needed someone to fill a two-hour slot, and my heart jumped as I said I’d do it.
I psyched myself up the night before and the bus ride over, and I heard myself nervously talking to the KDNK staff before the show started. I haven’t been that out of my element in a long while ” and it felt special in a way. By the time I was finally sitting in the studio, my hands were weak, and my chest was grabbed in fear. I cued up some songs looked over the PSA I was supposed to read, and I took some shallow, frightened breaths. I fumbled for the controls and started to speak.
And then everything was OK.
In all honesty, I did screw up multiple times. I played the wrong CDs occasionally and allowed some of that dreaded dead air. Toward the end of the shift, I almost ran out of music and ended up playing the same artists over and over. Still, I felt l was right where I wanted to be. Everything felt as it should, like I was home in some strange way. The thing is, the older I get, the more each new skill and experience feels like a miracle. Every weekend, each night off, I have this fear that routine will swallow me whole. But each time I try something completely different, that worry slips away.
Especially when I’m all alone, on the air, and not apologizing for a thing.
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