Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dear Diary: The post 'Pledge-a-Thon' post

EDITOR'S NOTE: Here's another in the occasional series of dispatches recorded some years ago from the front lines of Catholic radio -- Pope FM.

SATURDAY, OCT. 26, 2002

Dear Diary,

The "Pledge-a-Thon" ended last night, raising roughly half of our stated goal of $250,000. Still, it was more money than we raised during the on-air portions of any previous Pledge-a-Thon.

I don't know what this means for the future at Pope FM, because God seems to be driving this situation like a Noo Yawk cabbie drives from La Guardia to midtown Manhattan when he's got a fare from Peoria in the car . . . by absolutely the most "direct" (heh) route possible.

All I do know is that I am absolutely, positively wiped. On top of everything, we spent today moving furniture out of my mother-in-law's apartment and into the assisted-living place.

NEVERTHELESS, it's a strange thing what happens when you just do your damn job the best you can when you would rather not do it at all.

I got nothing but compliments the whole Pledge-a-Thon . . . from the engineering of the show to the music I was playing (which would have -- and, in the past, had -- given my old boss, Mary, the next best thing to angina). You would have thought I was the Lou Gehrig of Catholic radio.

God, I'm old. Make that the Cal Ripken, Jr., of Catholic radio.

Thursday morning, our secretary, Penny, came into the control room bearing a large bottle of Rolaids and a kiss on the cheek. I wish she had come with a bottle of limoncello, too.

And all through the week, people would call in to ask the name and artist of songs I was playing. One was Ken the GM's 13-year-old son when I was playing some Christian techno music by Ultrabeat. Another was Ken's wife, who dropped into the control room to say she loved one song I played and thought the voice was familiar.

It was "The Rising" by Bruce Springsteen.

AND FRIDAY NIGHT, after the Pledge-a-Thon ended, Ken came into the control room to shake my hand. Manic Don gave me a high five.

Kind of surreal, being that minutes before (the end of the Pledge-a-Thon bearing down on them) Manic Don and Fred the Development Guy -- you know, the one who believes in God expanding time -- sounded much like Catholic used-car salesmen in a desperate bid to get the phones to ring.

That always happens when fund drives are falling woefully short. I always find it dismissive of the providence of God and beneath Christian dignity. Therefore, I always go into my Zen-master mode, becoming more and more calm as the pitch-people become more and more frantic.

And I always try to send not-so-subtle messages to knock it off through forcing them to go to break, and through the music I play when they do.

This time, when the frenzy just was getting to be too much, I got them to go to break -- which Manic Don told me had to be a SHORT song. So I played all 5:35 of Aaron Thompson's "No More Fear." Thompson is a gifted Catholic singer-songwriter from Phoenix.

And at the end of the show, I played a chant version of the Kyrie, followed by Nicole C. Mullen's "Redeemer":

Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning?
Who told the ocean you can only come this far?
Who showed the moon where to hide 'til evening?
Whose words alone can catch a falling star?

Well I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
All of creation testify
This life within me cries
I know my Redeemer lives

The very same God that spins things in orbit
He runs to the weary, the worn and the weak
And the same gentle hands that hold me when I'm broken
They conquered death to bring me victory

Now I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
Let all creation testify
Let this life within me cry
I know my Redeemer, He lives

To take away my shame
And He lives forever, I'll proclaim
That the payment for my sin
Was the precious life He gave
But now He's alive and
There's a new day

Now I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
Let all creation testify
Let this life within me cry
I know my Redeemer, He lives

©2000 Wordspring Music/Lil 'JAS' Music/SESAC

MAYBE the wind has shifted at Pope FM. Then again . . . aw, who the hell knows.

Wearily yours,


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