Picking up. Again.

A few weeks back I was reminded the #1 rule in radio is still a secret, but it holds fast:

Don’t be an asshole.

In the world of radio, one way to rub against this rule is to use your radio voice. Difficult to describe in writing, but like pornography, you’ll know it when you find it. The announcer is almost monotonically stentorian. Or too damn smiley (aka puking.) Or too instantly familiar, like a stranger on a street corner who gets your attention saying, “Broham! How you doing?!?!” Or most potently, too much all of the above all at the same time. (In a job long ago we called a fellow with this condition Rugburn, and the name fit like a custom toupee.)

Broham Rugburn, about to use his radio voice ….

Another way to break the rule is to tell yourself everything you say is worth hearing (it isn’t), and all your insights must be shared (they mustn’t). Somehow some pilots of the airwaves miss the fact that radio is as much about listening as anything else—especially for those who do the talking. Shut your mouth and open your heart. Or more colloquially,

Don’t be an asshole.

In this way, we come to the secret of the secret first rule of radio: it is also the secret to living a quality life. Use the rule in any profession, and in the slice of time that exists outside work hours. Repeat as necessary. Like a mantra.

So powerful, the rule can even guide an effort like this one. At this writing, it’s the last quarter of 2021. It’s been a long pandemic, and it isn’t over yet. There is so much work to be done to make things more right in this world, and I make no assumptions that whatever I do can amount to much against all that. But let me put this down as I begin here again. Remember one thing:

Don’t be an asshole.

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