This is something that might be of little note and relevance to many of you, but I’m going to share it because you’re a part of this story, whether you realize it or not.
Millions of people read this blog every month. Only a small percentage listened to my radio show; in fact, I’m not sure that most of you even knew that I had one. In any case, I did. Emphasis on did.
As of tonight, I no longer work for WLAP in Lexington, Kentucky. As of tonight, I’m leaving radio — terrestrial AM/FM radio, anyway — for good. My contract has ended, and I’ve decided not to pursue another radio gig — here or anywhere. I am nothing but thankful for the time I spent in this business, and at WLAP especially. Yes, these are the cliches one typically utters in this situation, but that doesn’t make them any less genuine. WLAP took a chance on me, gave me a show, gave me the freedom to handle the topics in my own way, and surrounded me with a highly intelligent and passionate supporting cast. I’m grateful for that, as these things are certainly not a given in this industry.
It’s not easy for me to walk away from radio. I’ve spent the majority of my adult life in this business; it’s a part of me now. That might seem like a strange thing to say, but this industry has been an integral part of my formative, “young adult” years. I didn’t go to college. I didn’t travel overseas and study abroad. I simply got into my car at the age of 20, drove to a small town in Delaware, and found a job introducing Metallica tracks overnight on the local rock station. I stayed in a tiny, roach and mice infested apartment, struggled to keep the lights on, and worked hard to earn my 16,000 dollar a year salary. And I loved it.
I didn’t love the roaches, and I didn’t love the poverty-level wages, but I loved going to bed every night dreaming of things to come. I didn’t have very many friends out there, nor much of anything that might have resembled a social life (not that I could have afforded one anyway). I spent my free time reading books about history and theology and politics, and writing long essays that nobody would ever see. I wanted to have something worthwhile to say to people, and then I wanted to say it to a huge audience; I wanted to develop my message and get it out to millions of people. I wanted to climb to the top of the radio mountain, and then use it as a platform to reach into other forms of media.
That’s all I thought about back then. I mean, ALL I thought about. Which was beneficial, because otherwise I would have thought about how pathetic it was to pay for gas with dimes and quarters, and to call the power company to set up a payment plan because you can’t afford to give them 60 dollars all at once. And I would have thought about how much I hated standing out in the cold, doing humiliating “remote broadcasts” in exciting locations, like car dealerships and hardware stores.
I realize this isn’t exactly a story of harrowing hardships, but neither is it a story of fun and frivolity.
Fast forward eight years to present day.
Something strange happened.
My goals — all that stuff about having a huge audience and getting my message out to millions — it happened. Just not in the way that I expected. It came out of left field, and it had to smack me in the face repeatedly before I even noticed it.
Between three and five million people read it every month. This month I might hit close to seven or eight million. There’s no frills to this. No gimmicks. My site isn’t even professionally designed (although that will change). I just write how I feel about things, and people read it.
This is the avenue for my message and the platform for future opportunities that radio never was, and maybe never could be. In the last few months, I’ve been approached by some of the biggest conservative websites and blogs on the internet, asking if I’d like to work with them. People in media who I respect and admire (a small list, to be sure) have reached out. Recently, a cable news channel asked me if I’d be interested in being a contributor on their network. All of this, and I’ve only been able to work on the website part-time. I’ve seen the tip of the iceberg.
Now I want to see the rest.
So, after the holidays, I’ll be investing myself full-time into my website. You’ll see me popping up on other websites, and in other forms of media; I just have to sort through all of this and decide exactly how I want to proceed. I’m making my own agenda now, which is both exciting and terrifying. I had to make a choice. Radio was stealing most of my time, yet the website presents the most opportunities. It’s a bit of a daunting thing — sacrificing a steady income and benefits in order to work for yourself, especially when you have a family to feed.
It’s a risk, but worth taking.
And I couldn’t take it without you. My readers have done the job of promoting my blog, and they do it with no real incentive. I’m not paying anyone to be my promotions team. They take that up on their own. Now, with the ad revenue, combined with the generous people who donate to the site, I can seize this moment.
That’s all you get, after all: moments. You either take advantage of them or you don’t.
On that note, I’d like to pass along just a point that has been firmly at the forefront of my mind recently. I submit this suggestion humbly, recognizing that I am at the beginning of my journey, and you might be much older and wiser, possessing the advantage of a vaster life experience. That’s why this bit of advice isn’t targeted at the older and wiser crowd. I’d like to address this to people my age or younger; people at the beginning of things, just like me. If you guys ignore everything I say about everything else, at least hear me on this:
Take risks. Big risks. Smart risks. I’m not talking about drunk driving or running naked in the snow, I’m talking about going out on a limb to achieve your goals. I’m talking about venturing into unknown territory with no safety net, no fallback plan, no cushion, and nobody holding your hand. You’ll never do anything important if you care more about having fun and being comfortable. Period. It won’t happen. There’s time for fun and comfort, but not now. Not when we’re young and have so much to do. I don’t say this because I’m some huge success story; I say it because I’m not. Not yet, anyway. I say it because I’m in the thick of it, too. I say it because my heart breaks every time I meet a person younger than me who has no ambition. So often I speak to someone like this, they tell me what they want to do in life, I tell them, “well, go do it then,” and they come back with the “yeah, but..”
No buts. Nobody cares about your excuses. Move across the country if you have to. Live out of your car if it’s necessary. Work six jobs if that’s what it takes. Eat one meal a day if it comes to that. Do what needs to be done. STOP FOLLOWING THE PATH THAT OTHER PEOPLE HAVE LAID FOR YOU. Blaze your own trail. Make a sacrifice. Struggle. Sweat. Fail. Suffer. Do it now. Now’s the time. Especially if you aren’t even married and you don’t have kids. Why in the world are you sitting around? What are you waiting for? There’s absolutely nothing stopping you from chasing big things. Nothing.
Maybe that’s the only real value to this rambling spiel. Maybe there’s a little inspiration to be found in all of this.
Or maybe not. I’m nothing special and my story is not spectacular. I’m just a guy, writing things.
So thank you for reading it.