Opinion Columns & Blogs

‘Labor of love.’ New radio show talks local, Georgia state news

I realized this week I have been writing this column since 2008. It was a wild ride down memory lane to look at old columns. I started writing this column before going to work for CNN and before starting my radio show.

Until last week, I had written this column as a labor of love without pay. I know a lot about labors of love. Radio has become one for me. I started radio by accident here in Macon. I got asked to fill in one morning on WMAC after the morning host had been arrested. A day turned into a week, which turned into three months. I got paid in an expired gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse. I know it was expired because they wouldn’t accept it when I took my wife on a date. But I loved it.

Around the time Herman Cain decided to run for president, the head of Cox Media Group heard me on WMAC. He thought it was my show and offered me Herman Cain’s job. I had to resign my city council post six months early. That was a no-brainer. I have been doing radio ever since. A year after taking the job, I moved into evening drive time in Atlanta and I have been there ever since.

But I wanted to do more.

The first weekend in August this year, I hosted my annual conference in Atlanta. I interviewed more than a dozen politicians from governors to senators to congressmen. The vice president spoke. It exhausted me. I took a week off and then I took a leap of faith. I started a second radio show. Now, not only do I handle evening drive time in Atlanta, but I also do a show from nine in the morning until noon. That is five hours a day on radio.

There is no syndicated radio show from Georgia that covers Georgia news. I wanted to do that. I give the show away for free to local radio stations. Most shows are given to stations, which are then obligated to run a certain number of advertisements for the show. If the show does not air, the ads still must. The station must then file an affidavit certifying the ads ran.

I decided I would give the show away for free, give 17 minutes of time for local stations to use as they want, and not require they fill out affidavits or make good on ads if they cannot run the show. Instead, I will run ads myself. I have none yet. But in three months, I have grown from one station in Athens to ten across the state and more are coming, hopefully even Macon.

Every day I get up, go into my home studio, and talk. I talk for 43 minutes an hour. I make exactly zero dollars. I pay my own satellite costs. I pay a board operator and a producer. It is a labor of love as much as a leap of faith. It is rewarding work. It is hard work. But I can talk about anything I want to talk about from politics to pop culture to faith to culture and even cooking The Christian teacher Beth Moore recently wrote how writers just have to write. Eleven years into writing this column, I know exactly what she means. I am a radio guy now as well. Sometimes, you just have to take a leap of faith and for me it was turning on a microphone and talking.

Erick Erickson is host of “The Erick Erickson Show” across Georgia.