Friday, April 25, 2008

Radio Experience

First of all, for those of you who missed my fabulous appearance on KFAI's "Write On Radio," you can listen to an audiofile in their archives at: 4/24/08 - Write On Radio Show. Don't be thrown by the fact that there's a long musical lead, no show identification or the fact that a woman with a British accent (Marie Phillips) starts reading about the goddess Artemis and trees and blow-jobs. I'm on during the second half of the show, and they were waiting for Marie to call in from London.

What's funny is that I just wrote a scene in DEAD IF I DO with another Greek goddess, Athena, and had I known that the author of GODS BEHAVING BADLY was going to be sharing the show with me, I'd have brought that scene.

Being on KFAI was a blast. I've been really fortunate enough to have been on KFAI several times in the past (I have a bunch of .mp3 files on the FAQ section of my web page, if you're at all curious.) The station itself is on the top floor of a thin, funky building on University of Minnesota's West Bank. The West Bank, if you're not familiar with it, has some of of the last vestiges of Minneapolis' hippy culture. There's May Day Books still there, as well as the home of a few cooperatives. There used to be the New Riverside Cafe (which is featured in Emma Bull's WAR FOR THE OAKS), as well as the folk music collective: The Coffeehouse Extemporie. The West Bank is also adjactent to the sort of low-rent theatre district of Minneapolis -- the Theatre in the Round, Southern Theatre, and Theatre du Juene Lune are all there. Somali immigrants have also moved into the West Bank which adds an East African flavor to the whole mix.

KFAI is very much part of the remaining hippy culutre that's clinging to the neighborhood, so it's not like being on a radio show on one of the big, commerical stations. I've done that once, where I called into a station in Wisconsin, and that was a lot more nerve wracking.

At KFAI they have several studios, which look not unlike regular meeting rooms, except there are big microphones over each spot at the table, and, of course, a fancy looking electronic board on the other side of a short divider. You get to wear headphones, which adds to the whole, "I'm on the radio!" feeling, but there's a window and posters on the wall. I was nervous until I got into the studio. You do have to be silent the moment the "On Air" light goes on, but thanks to the relaxing atmosphere of the place, it's not as big a deal as you might think.

I have to say that the thing that amused me was how much Ian Leask gestured to everyone silently while Marie talked. There was a lot of frantic pointing and obtuse sign language that made Cin (the woman who read the calendar of events) very nervous. I guess they also had a back up tape ready to roll in case there were technical problems getting Marie on the air.

My favorite moment came when I completely blanked on what DEAD SEXY was about. I couldn't remember for several hours, actually. The problem is, of course, that that book was so long ago in some ways. I'm in the middle of writing book four, and three even seems like a dim memory for me, you know?

I always feel like I'm blathtering away, and I know I went off on vaguely unrelated tangents. In the past when my friend J. Otis Powell! was the host of the show, he actually gave me a list of the questions he was going to ask ahead of time, so I'd have a moment to prepare. Steve didn't, so everything was very spontaneous. I noticed that I used my stall-while-I-form-an-answer phrase a couple of times, the whole "That's a great question...."

Even so, it was a great time. I can only hope I get the opportunity to do it again sometime.

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