UPDATE: Five hours ago I was sitting behind a microphone in a CBS Radio studio in Baltimore and now I’m sitting in front of a computer in my house in Jarrettsville. Having had sufficient time to process my morning radio segment on the Ed Norris Show on WHFS 105.7 FreeFM, here is how it all really went down.
First off, I got tons of support from friends and faithful Dagger readers. Here is a sampling of some of the emails pulled from The Dagger’s inbox, pre-show:
Email Guy: “I WANT TO MEET ED NORRIS…I HAVE FOLLOWED HIM SINCE HIS NYC DAYS..CAN YOU HOOK ME UP NEXT TIME YOU GO???”
Email Gal: “Did I read this correct? Are you going on the Ed Norris show?
Are you tripping? Psyche!”
Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement everybody.
Now on to the show.
Things started off getting a little turned around (I wouldn’t say lost) on the way to the studios, no thanks to the Garmin GPS navigator, which seemed to indicate the need to make a U-turn on 695 at one point.
Anyway once at the sprawling new CBS Radio headquarters, which were built only two years ago and sit in the very back of a strange industrial/warehousing complex similar to the one in Belcamp/Riverside, I was instructed to sign in and wait in the lobby. I signed in right under Luke Broadwater – the oft-aired Baltimore Examiner reporter.
After a few minutes, Maynard, sporting a right hand loosely wrapped in gauze, led me to the ‘Green Room’ (it’s not really green, but has a flat screen TV, Bon Jovi and Linkin Park album sales plaques and a MIX 106.5 FM electric guitar hanging from the walls). Some other guys, who were apparently marketing something to do with Baltimore Ravens football star Ray Lewis (and even had him on the phone at one point), were milling about the Green Room as well.
Maynard then brought me out a typed list of the five questions we’d be discussing during the Roundtable Week in Review news segment. This was a crucial moment in my world because up until this point I literally had no idea what I was going to talk about. Sure, I had an inkling of some of the general points we might hit on during the talk, but not being able to listen to Ed and Maynard all week, or ever really, I was going in blind.
I was slightly relieved to read that I had correctly guessed about two-and-a-half of the five questions. For those interested, here are the questions as typed:
1. Should the hanging or displaying of a noose become a felony? Why?
2. The supreme court took up the Indiana voter ID act. What kind of identification should voters have to show at the polls?
3. Can you tell me what’s wrong with this picture: Shamia Lawson, a Baltimore woman was found guilty of pouring 5 pots of boiling water on her 9 y/o god son as a punishment for going outside without permission? She waited 4 days to give him medical care. She was then arrested, but CPS decided to allow her to keep her biological daughter. Circuit Court judge John Glynn sentenced her to 10 years in jail, wit all but 6 mos. Suspended. The judge said he didn’t think putting her in jail would help solve anything. What do you think?
4. Diane Keaton dropped an F-bomb on ABC. Should the FCC fine her?
5. Taneytown’s Illegal immigration debate continues. The bill to restrict illegal aliens from living in Taneytown failed. Should small towns make these types of rules?
Pretty straight forward. Can you guess which ones I was prepared for?
So I began furiously scribbling down notes in the Green Room up until the moment Maynard emerged from the studio and whisked me inside. I should mention that you can’t hear the radio show from out in the Green Room. Live with Regis and Kelly, with guest host Jeff Gordon filling in for Philbin, was on the TV and was all I could hear.
Once in the studio, which is surprisingly clean and modern, Maynard showed me how to position the microphone and don the headphones. He and Ed sit across the console from one another and Sarah Jacobs of MIX 106.5 sat in between Ed and I. There was yet another flat screen TV in the studio (there seemed to be one in every room in the CBS Radio building – including the lobby) and it had one of those Hollywood entertainment news shows on (at one point in the show, you hear Ed direct everyone to look at footage of a borderline morbidly obese Monica Lewinski who popped up on the TV).
For someone like myself who is unaccustomed to how radio really works, it took a little while to get my air-legs under me, figure out what Maynard’s wild gesturing meant and get a feel for the pace and cadence of the show. I know I rambled on when asked to describe myself and The Dagger, but it’s live radio and stuff comes fast and furious. One second Ed is busily two-thumb texting on his cell phone, Jacobs is surfing the Internet and typing away on her laptop and Maynard is spinning around turning knobs and scribbling things on a piece of paper while they all discuss American Idol … and the next second all eyes and ears are on me as I’m asked to describe myself.
The first topic was fun, even though Ed eyed me up a little when I mentioned I had a noose hanging in my house – before I clarified it was just a Halloween decoration. Although, in hindsight, he and anyone else listening might have thought it just as odd that I have a Halloween decoration hanging in my house in mid-January. Sometimes I forget that people who don’t know me, don’t know the extent of my weirdity.
Second question. Josh, a Dagger writer, photographer and great friend, called in. Here I was again put on uncertain footing, just as I was beginning to get used to the format. Was I supposed to say ‘hi’ to Josh? Admit that I know him? Well, judging from the way Ed dealt with him, I’m sorta glad I kept mute on Josh’s identity. Sorry, man.
There were two commercial breaks during the hour-long segment and it’s a really strange phenomena. Everybody gets up and takes off their headphones and is really busy with something. Ed was making phone calls or checking voicemail messages. Sarah left the room for something. Maynard was running around, turning more knobs and switches and apparently questioning why the brother of Ravens player Jonathan Ogden had arrived and wanted to get on the air. I felt a little strange when I could hear the music – the stuff they play to announce the show is back from commercial break – and everyone was still milling around. But, quite professionally, everyone got back to their seats with literally not a second to spare and Ed didn’t miss a beat.
Those with a keen eye might have noticed there were 5 questions listed above, but only 4 discussed during the segment. At one point toward the end of the show, while Ed was orating about the similarities between Democrats and Republicans (“We all eat the same doughnuts”), Maynard stood and almost like an symphony conductor began signaling and gesturing with his arms – fueling Norris on in his rant and building him up to an epic crescendo just as the background music peaked. It was actually very impressive and artistic. But it meant cutting the fifth question out of the show. The question that had been a topic on The Dagger for much of the week and one I was prepared to knock out of the ballpark. Oh well.
With the Roundtable Week in Review segment finished, Sarah and I made our exit and everybody got up to say goodbye. Maynard indicated there may be a next time. As I was getting back into the car, I turned on the radio and heard Ed and Maynard thank me. Then they both said they saw a black bear out the window of the studio. I’m not sure which statement is more believable.
So that was it. It was fun. I probably didn’t add too much to the discussion that anyone else wouldn’t have, but who knows? I might have helped out The Dagger with some publicity. It gave me something to do on my day off. But, honestly, thanks go out to Ed and Maynard for having me and Sarah for helping me and I hope there is a next time.
As for reviews of my performance, here were a couple of the text messages I received while I was on the air:
Matt: “Ur doing awesome”
Mark:“Ur kickn ass!”
And then I had this email waiting in The Dagger inbox when I got home:
Email Gal: “You sounded nervous at first, and I don’t blame you but that quickly dissipated. I am proud of you. You articulated well and held your own among some tough questions. Way to go!!! You done good, Mister. Woo-hoo!!! Score one for the good guys! The Dagger is going to continue to take off. And as a reader, I’d like to know is Maynard handsome?”
Well, I wasn’t going to bring it up, but since you asked I’d have to say the more fitting word to describe Maynard is ‘stunning.’
The icing on the cake though was Josh’s post-show voicemail message, which I didn’t get until a few hours later when I checked my phone:
Josh: “Hey man, I just wanted to say you sounded really good. That was the stupidest thing I’ve done in 10 years…but you sounded really good.”
(Now here’s the story I wrote BEFORE I went on the radio show)
So it’s come to this.
Former Baltimore Police Commissioner, Maryland State Police Superintendent and federal prison inmate Ed Norris wants a piece of The Dagger.
OK, actually it was Ed’s sidekick and faithful friend Maynard who first found The Dagger and suggested I join them in the WHFS 105.7 FreeFM studios for an appearance on their popular Roundtable segment.
So, without further ado, I will be on The Ed Norris Show this Friday, January 18 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to participate in the weekly news Roundtable discussion along with Ed, Maynard and guest Sarah Jacobs, a host on MIX 106.5 FM.
I’ve only met Ed once (and it was at an Elvis concert), but I used to listen to his show regularly – as I know most others who are in their cars between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. during the week probably do as well. He’s just too infectious of a personality to not tune in to.
Anyway, it’s a great opportunity and it should be fun and thanks go out to Maynard for staying in touch and making this happen. Now I’ve just got to figure out how to familiarize myself with a week’s worth of highlights from a show I’m no longer able to listen to at all due to work commitments…
So tune in your radios Friday morning if you get the chance, listen on your computer through the WHFS live Internet feed or maybe even catch us live on the WHFS online studio cam (I’m not even sure if this is a real thing, but I found it and it’s too good to not pass along if it works). And by all means, PLEASE CALL IN at (410) 481-1057 and show some love for The Dagger!
Now here’s some information about how the Ed Norris Show is the #1 talk show in the city.
ED NORRIS HAS THE #1 TALK RADIO SHOW IN BALTIMORE
For the first-time ever, an FM radio station is the #1 talk station for adults in Baltimore!
FM Talk 105.7 (WHFS) is now Baltimore’s #1 talk radio station, and midday personality Ed Norris is Baltimore’s #1 talk show personality, based on Arbitron’s summer, 2007 radio ratings for Baltimore, for adults 25-54.
Norris, the former Baltimore City Police Commissioner and Maryland State Police Superintendent, has had great success in attracting an ever-growing audience, with shows that are compelling, thought-provoking, and also entertaining.
According to Dave Labrozzi, Vice President of Programming at CBS Radio / Baltimore, “Over the past year, we’ve reformatted the radio station, brought over KMS as our new morning show, and secured the rights to Orioles’ baseball. All of these changes, along with Ed Norris’s tremendous success, have helped us achieve these great ratings.”