Is This Thing On?

Doing radio is a lot like life: I never know who - if anybody - is listening. It's just myself and the mic, sliders, levels, music, sometimes a guest, and the Ether. It's an act of faith. It feels like folly, but I take it seriously. Radio is teaching me that my bliss is my business, if I want it to be. I am the CEO of my dreams. Whoa. Just letting that one sink in...

That's why I get up at 4:30 in the morning to drive on over to the OZCAT studio... just me and the truckers, the early morning commute warriors, and the stray car returning to the neighborhood from a night out. Maybe even a stand up comic coming home from a gig, I think to myself. (That's been me!) It's still surreal.

Thermos of tea in hand, and a breakfast sandwich, I enter the OZCAT house and am welcomed by the crow of their rooster, Stew. I enter the dark studio with only the board lights glowing, and a chill in the morning air, find the light switch and begin to set up.

I choose a few songs to put into the rotation, while I un-glue my eyelids and calm the excitement / pre-show nerves with a sip of tea. Here's where the comedy training comes in handy. The only way to dissipate the anxiety is to do it. Get on the air. Get on the mic.

"Aaand, good morning! You're listening to Branching Out with Valerie here on OZCAT..." and from there... I'm off and running. Even the mistakes are good. I have had a good laugh at giving a traffic update followed by the date, time and in-studio temperature to the folks out there in Listener Land. "The high today will be 63 degrees and right now it's 69.... oops in the studio... if you were wondering."

People are listening, and I find out in the most ephemeral ways. My first day on the air, the DJ who hosts the show after me came in beaming. She said she heard me on the car radio on the way in and said that I did a great job. Then, yesterday, an author emailed me saying that his publishers wanted him to contact me to be on the show... How'd they know?

I guess, they knew, and others know, because this thing, this "microphone" called life IS, in fact very on!

Tune in to your life. It can be a tricky frequency to find, a little static-y at times. But once you find that signal, hone in on it. It is beautiful!

Valerie Branch is the producer and host of the weekly morning show, Branching Out with Valerie. Tune in Mondays & Wednesdays 6-9am on OZCAT Radio KZCT 89.5FM in Vallejo and online at Valerie is also a writer, a stand-up comic and comedy show producer in the San Francisco / Bay Area.