BLOG #11 Variety of Stuff (Jack, Pizza, TV Streaming)
Jack Armstrong says he wants to learn how to do a back flip on the trampoline with his sons. I am hoping that he videotapes his attempts and shows them to the rest of the staff on the A&G show. This way when he has to do the show via cell phone from a hospital bed... at least we can see the video on how his injury happened. Remember, this is a man who got up on the high dive at the public pool and had to come down the ladder because he was too scared to jump in the pool. But he did give a good laugh to the kids and lifeguards in attendance. Wish I could have been there!
At the radio ranch, we have a break room full of food items that you can purchase. It is basically a small convenience store without the strange people staring at you and there is no hot dog or slushy machines. Plus, more importantly, there is no lotto machine.... which means Marshall still has to drive to nearby liquor stores to get his lotto scratchers and continue his addiction. It is nice when he wins though as he shares his winning by buying breakfast for the entire A&G Staff.
Today in the break room there was leftover cold pizza. Pizza is one of those foods that I love so much that I will eat it cold or hot...does not matter. My favorite pizza is Pepperoni and Hawaiian is a close second. I remember when I was in college (earned my degree from California State University Sacramento)...not Harvard as many of you might think. Anyhow, I would hang out at the campus Round Table Pizza and I could eat a large pizza all to myself. That was before my metabolism slowed...I could eat anything in those days without becoming overweight. I had no idea how good I had it! I think that if I had a choice for my last meal on earth...a hot pizza might very well be it!
As I have gotten older, I have really been trying to work on keeping healthy and keeping in shape. It is so much more difficult when you reach middle age. I try to go to the gym at least 4 times a week. But my biggest weakness is my addiction to sweets. I am a sucker for home baked chocolate chip cookies...love them! Every time I see a person in their twenties that is in good shape and eating up junk food, I want to yell to them "This is as good as it is going to get...enjoy all this food while you can...trust me... you will see". They have no idea how good they have it!
On a different topic, I have tried several free trials on various TV streaming services. It has been very frustrating as they are all "close but not quite there yet" at least for myself and my girlfriend. The latest one that I tried was YouTube TV. Overall, I really liked it, but they don't offer HBO or HGTV. The girlfriend loves HGTV and Game Show Network and they are not on there yet. Plus, I am probably showing my age (mid 40s) but I prefer a regular on screen guide that you scroll down to read. Some of the services that I tried do not have that and I find it annoying. I think younger adults in their twenties are more into searching for programs as opposed to older adults who grew up flipping channels. I still love to flip channels.
Well, that's all for now folks. Thanks for reading. More to say in the upcoming week. Soon, I will be expanding this to include photos and videos. I promise to make this blog bigger and better. We can only go up from here! :)
BLOG #10 10-5-18 VR Experience
This morning on the Armstrong and Getty Show, we discussed Virtual Reality. Several years ago, we had a company bring a sophisticated VR video game system to the station. It was truly an amazing experience. In fact, it was so surreal how good the graphics and sound were and how the backgrounds were so realistic. Once that VR helmet was on and you began playing the game, you completely lose yourself. I played one game that was based on outer space and also played a game where you are a pirate on a wooden ship. It was both fun and scary at the same time.
When I was playing with the VR equipment, it truly did take me into another world. You also realize that you have no idea whatsoever on what is going on around you. You are completely submerged into this fantasy world. The most state of the art VR equipment is basically a substitute for reality.
I just wonder if as VR equipment gets cheaper and even better, if people who use this stuff are going to have their social skills severely affected. People are already using texts to communicate instead of phones. You have people spending hours online playing fantasy games. People use online dating sites instead of bravely asking out the attractive woman or man that they admire. Many people are ordering food online without having to have a conversation with someone on the telephone.
I have teacher friends who have told me how they have seen their students social skills get worse throughout the years (they blame the heavy use of computers, cell phones, etc). I have seen a lot of young people who would rather play video games than go outside and do something athletic (I am sounding like a bitter old man). Where's my cane? Give me my metal detector!!
Seriously, with the popularity of pornography, I could see both men and women turning to VR equipment to satisfy their emotional or sexual needs instead of risking having hurt feelings in the real world. If you think people have problems now with online pornography affecting relationships...wait till the VR equipment begins marketing pornographic material. There will be people who find the VR stuff more satisfying than the real thing.
I do think that VR could be great for school students by showing 3-D Maps and places of interest. Great for geography classes, history classes, etc. VR is like the internet... it can be good or bad depending on how it is used. I love technology, but it has to be used in the right way. Just because you can technically do something, does not mean that you should do it. Not all change is good for society.
BLOG #9 High School and College Memories
Today on today's A&G show, we talked about Brett Cavanaugh being accused of exposing himself to a woman while at a party in college. It is possible that this accusation will cost him a seat on the Supreme Court. What bothers me is the idea that people are being judged by something they did in college or high school. Many of us (myself included) did silly or stupid in our late teens or early 20s. But most of us grow up and act smarter as we get older. What we did in high school or college should not be defining who we are when we are in our late 30s or older. People change and mature and I am troubled by the idea of people being attacked on social media or in the press by something they did in high school. I feel you have to allow for people to change.
BLOG #8 FALL SEASON IS HERE
One of my favorite times of the year is fall. I love the fact that NFL Football is back on the air and that NBA basketball will be starting soon. I am a guy who likes cooler weather (60s-70s as the outside temperature) and not the 100 degree heat that I can be subjected to in the area that I live in. Please note that climates may vary in the different A&G radio markets. Do not call your local stations and tell them that I am giving you inaccurate weather information.
I remember as a kid, that the fall season meant going back to school. I enjoyed school for the most part, except for sports. I like playing sports but overall I was not good at time. I was not exactly blessed with athletic ability and I am pretty sure that my parents could have made $10,000 by sending in videos of me playing sports to America's Funniest Home Videos.
It used to be that fall meant all new episodes of TV shows. In fact, I remember when the big networks (ABC,CBS,NBC,FOX) would do prime time specials that focused on their new fall TV Lineup.
I can remember getting TV Guide in the mail and there would be TONS of articles on the new lineups and shows. Today, there are so many cable networks and online services that there are new shows coming on all year long. Plus, almost everyone has an on-screen program guide which gives you listings for all your favorite TV shows.
I have great memories of fall as a child. I remember climbing trees in the backyard of my great grandmother's home and raking lots of crunchy leaves. I remember as a small kid, diving into the piles of leaves and landing in them and rolling around in them. Hopefully, these childhood memories are accurate and not some plot of Little House on the Prairie or The Waltons!
BLOG #7 9-14-18
Yesterday Marshall Phillips talked about the Toy Hall of Fame. This made me think about my childhood and all the wonderful toys I played with as a kid. Lots of great memories. It is wonderful how certain toys or activities will remind us of special people or a special time in our life.
One of my favorite childhood memories was playing the dice game Yahtzee with my grandmother. We would play for hours and I would love to use the included cup to noisily shake the dice and the then throw them on the table. I would yell and cheer only like a child could. Although my grandmother has passed away, I still have many memories of playing various board games with her and my siblings. We would play Chutes and Ladders, Connect Four, Monopoly, and Yahtzee. Grandma never allowed cheating either! We always had fun together.
I also remember playing with Lincoln Logs, which were a wooden version of Legos in which you could build log cabins or houses. And I used to build tall radio towers all the way up to the ceiling of the house, using Tinker Toys. Ironic since I am in the radio business today.
Plus, Matchbox cars and electric cars that raced a on glow in the dark race tracks were fun too. Then as I got a little older, there were cap guns and BB Guns. Don't shoot your eye out kid!!
Sadly, many of the toys that are made for children today do not have the durability of toys that were made years ago. Back then, toys were often metal or wooden and would last for years. The toys could be handed down from one sibling to another one. Today's toys are usually plastic and made rather poorly. My young nephews have often destroyed toys without playing with them for very long. Plus, with iphones and more advanced games... many kids are not playing with toys for as long as they used to. This is probably one of the reasons (although online competition hurt too) that Toys R Us had financial difficulty. I have many great memories of my mom taking us to Toys R Us to buy things. Good, fun, well-made toys were an important and very enjoyable part of my childhood.
BLOG #6 8-30-18 (Birth of Michaelangelo)
Tomorrow is the 20th Anniversary of the A&G Show. I started with the show on Jan 17, 2000. It was just a small local show at the time and I had come from across the hall from working at a news talk station. The guys were impressed with my technical skills (running breaking news really helped me prepare for this job) and I remember Joe asking me if I would want to do this permanently. Their first technical director had just quit and moved to Las Vegas for a different job.
I was just a part-time employee at the time and management asked me to help out with this relatively new talk show for a few days until they found a permanent replacement. Well, I ended up staying with A&G (after a week, I was hooked and intrigued by this funny, unique show).
The hardest part for me was "loosening up". In the radio format I worked before, things were more intense and serious. Timing had to be precise. But with A&G, it was free flow and these guys did some crazy and funny stuff! Plus, they would talk on the air with their producers (this was unheard of at the time and often frowned upon).
Today, a lot of talk hosts talk on-air or openly mention their producers and are not afraid to bring them on as part of the show. Some of the funniest radio bits over the years have involved Joe and Jack talking with the staff on air.
One guy that I remember very fondly in the early days of the show is the late great Rick Stewart who was their first newsperson (Jamie Coffee would be his successor when he moved to a different radio format). He had a wicked sense of humor and was a HUGE fan of the wacky sound effects that we play on the A&G show.
I remember how I could see him through our clear studio window and when I hit the right sound effect, he would laugh hysterically and peer into my window and give me a thumbs up. With Joe and Jack and Rick's encouragement, I would start hitting sounds and wacky music constantly. Over time, I got better at this skill (it comes with the experience of working with talent over time).
I still remember having Rick and other co-workers running into the studio during a commercial break after my first "humorous" sound effect that was perfectly timed. It was a story about a skydiver who did something stupid and accidentally fell out of the plane. I hit this sound effect of something falling toward the earth and landing with a thud. Rick was crying because he was laughing so hard. I was hooked! Michaelangelo (a name given to me by Jack) was born!
The most frightening moment of my career came about a month later when I was running the show on April 1, 2000 and the guys pretended to quit the radio while live on the air. The funny thing is that we actually had another talk show host quit on the air for real! Anyhow, they left me in the studio by myself and I was so scared and had no clue what to do. They came back like five minutes later and poor Michaelangelo was quite frightened. When Joe and Jack were younger, they could be quite the jokesters!
Working with A&G has been very pleasurable and I have really enjoyed meeting fans of the show. It always amazes me when people recognize me or my voice from the radio. Here's hoping for another 20 years! I've been very blessed to have such a rewarding and fun job!
BLOG #5 8-24-18
Hey A&G Listeners! One of the things that Joe and Jack talked about on the show yesterday was how studies show that having a lot of money does not always make a person happy. People mistakenly believe that having a lot of money will make you a happier person.
I think the reason these rich people are not happy is because they are basing their lives on the ideas portrayed on television that having a big house, a fancy car, and fancy clothes, ...will make you happy.
While I don't think there is anything wrong with having nice things, I think it has be done carefully. It is important that the things we buy are useful and truly add to our lives.
For example, when my mom retired as a second grade teacher, my siblings and I bought her a brand new 65 inch smart TV. I did a lot of research before buying since I needed to find a TV that was easy high performing and very easy to use. She is not good with technology.
But she loves watching British TV shows on Amazon but would always get frustrated with her old TV because it was complicated and wasn't good for streaming TV shows. So on the day of her retirement, we surprised her with a new TV. She loves it, uses it daily and it has sentimental value to her since we all bought it for her. This is what I mean by purchasing meaningful things.
Just because someone has the money to buy stuff...doesn't mean they should. For example, if I were rich I would not go out and buy a fancy boat. I have no interest in boating. But some people would buy something like a boat just to say they own one. If that is what your interest is...that's great...but don't buy stuff for the sake of getting things or trying to keep up with the Jones family.
Also, try to buy stuff that you can share with others. A big purchase item like a boat can bring a family together if they all enjoy the river and enjoy spending time with each other. Don't buy stuff to create an image or to make others jealous.
BLOG #4 8-20-18
On today's A&G Show, Jack talked early in the show about how his youngest son thought he had passed gas and his son thought it was the funniest thing ever. One of the cutest things about young kids is how the simplest things will make them laugh. It can be a simple noise or a silly word or even a funny face and they will go into hysterical laughter.
It is much harder to make adults laugh. Adults have years of real life experience and I have found that funny faces or passing gas is not going to make people laugh, but instead they ask you to leave their home or not date their daughter. Adults need more sophisticated humor. Many stand up comics use profanity or tackle dark topics with humor.
I think adults who are happy with their lives are able to laugh easier than adults who struggling with their life situation. However, it is my hope that our radio show can help adults laugh and bring joy to a difficult situation. The A&G Mailbag letters that can be the most touching to myself and the rest of the staff are the ones that tell how our show helped a person through a difficult time. For example, we have received letters that say how their father listened to show for many years and how he would laugh even though he was going through the final stages of cancer. I always try to think about the listeners who may be struggling with an illness, lost a job, lost a family member, etc. I hope that our show can maybe help them forgot about their troubles for at least a short time.
BLOG #3 8/17/18
It's Friday! Today I'm blogging a few thoughts while we are live on the air. Not easy to do, since I am busy hitting buttons and sounds. We shall see how it goes:
6:06AM- Show just started, Joe and Jack talking about the commute, seem to be in cheerful mood. It is Friday. Friday shows are usually more light hearted and the whole staff is in a great mood. Plus, Joe has to leave early so I will make sure we have everything ready so the guys can run from the building immediately after the show.
6:10AM- Jack talking about buying $30 light bulbs. It is funny how everyone has their thing that they are willing to spend more money on. For me, I buy cheap light bulbs that at Target. None of those luxury bulbs! Of course, maybe those luxury bulbs need to be replaced less.
6:11AM- Sean mentions eating Top Romen. Seems to be a big part of his diet. I used to eat the stuff when I was younger and poor. Would mix it up with steak and a good sauce. Plus, its super cheap. Too cheap. Probably not great for you!
6:11AM- Marshall talking about his blind date last week in which he shared his tips on not smoking. I'm hoping Marshall and his date will bond over more than smoking tips. Maybe they can work together on a card counting scheme together. Ha!
6:24AM- Jack talking about how his kids play by creating fake restaurants in their bedrooms. This is very cute, and I am assuming the kids had passing health code grades for their restaurants before handing out the gourmet menu of Cheez Its and bananas.
6:35AM- Jack tells audience he cant decide what type of show he wants to do. Political or non-political. I say just make it entertaining!
6:51AM- Jack talks about how his iphone has difficulty voice texting. Jack said got so frustrated that he yelled a profanity at the phone. Of course, the phone spelled that right!
7:06AM- Joe and Jack talking about electronic devices tracking you by listening to your conversations. I personally have become worried about my smart TV and devices such as Alexa listening to me. If I find out this is true, I will start telling wacky stories aloud about Marshall Phillips in an effort to get loads of ridiculous products to show up at his doorstep unexpectedly.
7:40AM- Joe and Jack talking about Elon Musk. Elon claims he has been working 120 hours and taking Ambien to help him sleep. When a career gets to the point where it threats your physical well being, it is time to stop or at least slow down. Doesn't matter how much money you make if you end up dead from too much stress.
8:18AM- Executive producer Hanson is a little nervous as I return from break with a marijuana related bumper. I always try to find bumpers that fit the topic. Sometimes the subject matter is too tragic and I won't use a wacky song because it would be too dark or inappropriate.
In this case, it is edgy, but not cruel. I never mean to be hurtful or cruel but when you are doing humor that does happen occasionally. Everyone is different in regards to what they find inappropriate.
8:55AM - Jack talking about egg and wine diet from the 1970s. People were eating eggs and drinking wine to lose weight. I have never been into fad diets. I just try to eat everything in moderation and go to the gym regularly.
9:34AM- Jack going to tell a disgusting restaurant story. I always dread these stories because it makes me want to avoid eating out altogether.
9:47AM- Jack tells restaurant story that involves a worker being dirty and making salads. Disgusting and makes me sick to my stomach. Going to go home for lunch today!
Well, it wasn't too bad. But I think I will just blog after the show from now on. Too difficult to be pulling the levers and running the toggles and blog all at once!!
Michaelangelo's Blog Entry #2
During the first hour of the show today, Marshall mentioned driving to work with a nearly empty fuel tank and having a fear of being stranded on the side of the road. Being stranded on the side of the road is NOT fun. It is such a helpless feeling... although at least now we have cell phones to call for roadside service ,a friend or a family member to help.
I remember many years ago (Gladys plays the harp) when I had a tire blow out on the highway. Scared the heck out of me and I was glad I did not get into an accident. But I remember being stuck on the side of the highway and walking to a call box (didn't have a cell phone at this point). I begged the operator to call the station and let them know I was gonna be late. After several arguments back and forth, I was finally connected to the station and told an employee where I was and for them to tell Joe and Jack.
Joe and Jack were on the air when one of our listeners called and offered to send out a limo to pick me up and bring me to the station. I was listening to the show in my car while I was waiting for a tow truck (had no spare tire...I was young and poor at this point) and heard about this idea. I thought it was so cool!
But the idea came to a quick end when a CHP officer showed up and told me I needed to get my car off the side of the road or it would be towed away. So I ended up missing the show that morning because I was dealing with getting my car towed to the tire shop and purchasing a tire and getting it installed. One of the few shows I missed over the years. And it was disappointing not to show up to run the A&G show in a limo. That would have been cool!
Michaelangelo Blog Entry #1
Hey A&G Fans!
Just wanted to share with you a little behind the scenes of the Armstrong and Getty show.
Some of you have asked over the years about how the Armstrong and Getty show is actually produced and presented to you. Or to your weird uncle or to the man who stares at you on his lawn while you drive by.
Well, I'm going to share some behind the scenes info on what I have to do in order to make the show ready for Joe and Jack so they can perform their humor and judgments of others.
For me, it all starts at 4am (Gladys plays the harp) when I hit my iPhone alarm--and usually say a profanity or two before I literally roll my body off the bed and slowly walk to the restroom while my middle aged knees make cracking noises.
From there I brush my teeth, put on a generic but still name brand quality deodorant, get dressed and comb up the hair (I have beautiful hairrrr). Next, put on the ol' blue jeans, T-Shirt, and tennis shoes. Love that about my job--no tie required! But underwear still is.
I arrive at radio station and go to our control room studio, where I test the audio and commercial break cues (these are the triggers that signal our local radio affiliates to go to their local break so you can hear your favorite PSA or toe fungus ad). Meanwhile, Joe is in the office looking through the news articles and audio clips to entertain you.
As we get closer to the show, I load up our opening clip and make sure we have all the necessary theme music (Intros, Outros, etc) and set up all the live ad scripts for Joe and Jack.
Marshall is busy typing up news stories and gathering sound clips that fit with his stories (he always looks for the latest coffee studies and lottery results). He's a gambler and we love him because he shares his occasional winnings and buys us breakfast.
Meanwhile, Positive Sean will meet with executive producer Hanson to help prepare the shows and load up his main computer with news related sound clips. He also takes time to change the litter box of his cat, Negative Nathan. Sometimes he forgets and the office really smells less than pleasant. Joe and Jack will gather lots of stuff themselves and also scan the cable news channels.
When you are doing a four hour show, it is best to have five or six hours of material. The show is a team effort and we all have fun being part of the show. We are all blessed to have such fun jobs.