KWMU’s Bob McCabe Leaving The Control Booth After 20+ Years

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Bob McCabe looking pensive, knowledgeable, relaxed, and totally at home in “air control” at the University of Missouri St. Louis studios of KWMU in February of 2010.

For morning listeners of public radio in St. Louis over the past 20+ years, this is the face to put to the voice and name of Bob McCabe that you’ve been waking up to and driving to work to while listening to either the news or classical music.  I shot this picture when I was back in St. Louis in 2010 to record and live stream St. Louis local, fellow U. City alum,  and world renowned jazz pianist Peter Martin in his inaugural Peter Martin Music: Live! series with guest Diane Reeves.  Peter was at KWMU to do and interview for Cityscape, and I had a quick bit of time to talk to Bob and catch up with him between breaks in programming.

I had the pleasure to not only work with “Bob” when I was an intern and an employee on the air at KWMU from 1992 through 2000, but I also knew “Mr. McCabe” when he was my home room teacher during my senior year of high school at University City Senior High.  He was an English teacher at the high school for years and my guess is that most radio listeners didn’t know that.

And on top of that, before I re-met Bob as a colleague and not a student, I found out that he spent 11 years working in the Catholic ministry and time singing and recording with the St. Louis Symphony Chorus for two seasons, and working in other areas of St. Louis theater community.  And my guess is that most radio listeners didn’t know that either.

In spite of our completely goofy relationship that we ended up having when the “on-air” light went off in the studio, I always went away impressed with the rich and diverse life that Bob insisted on carving out for himself.  I used him as one of my examples of someone that was not afraid to follow a path that may seem very different and disparate to others, but right for himself.  This is an aspiration I think I have been able to mainly achieve, especially since I can count a full 5 different careers that I’ve had already. (I think I’ve gone a bit overboard on that diversity thing.)

So with a bit of a sad heart and a hat tip for inspiration, I wish both “Bob” and “Mr. McCabe” the best in his retirement from one of his many careers, and I know that I’ll miss hearing his voice from half way across the country in New York City online.  I don’t know what it is about us St. Louisians and our radio hosts, but I have no one I’d rather listen to during morning drive than Bob on my iPhone 1000 miles away.  I still  wish that he wouldn’t leave the air, but he’s going to do what he wants, so that’s going to be good enough for me.

So after the end of June, 90.7FM in St. Louis won’t be the same, and neither shall I.  Thanks, Bob!  Thanks for everything!

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Is This Mic On? – Rod On The Air & Now Online As A “Broadcaster”

For those that didn’t know, for most of the 1990s I was on the radio as a journalist, show host, announcer, and DJ in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.  I even hosted a cable TV show for about 13 weeks somewhere in the middle of that decade.  Here are some samples of some of that work:

http://soundcloud.com/rodmilam/sets/broadcast-news-journalism

Doing that kind of job was NOT what I thought I wanted to do with my life when I was a little kid.  I spent that time seriously wanting to be an astronaut.  (Seriously enough that I went to Space Camp twice when it first opened up in Huntsville, Alabama [where I won 2 awards]  and studied Aerospace Engineering for a while.)  But in 2000, after nearly a decade of getting paid to be on the radio, I looked back at so much of the activity that I did when I was a kid, and I saw that I was a broadcaster of some sort for all of my life.

I have old cassettes from when I was about 5 in the 1970s of me just rambling on the mic about what was going on around me, what my aunt was trying (and failing) to sing along with on the radio, and trying to interview my little sister (who was 2 years old and slightly less than fully fluent in English at the time…naturally).  Even moving up through middle and high school in the early 1980s I have recordings of a friend and I pretending to be DJs and radio hosts “Run” and “DMC” and making fake commercials about the Atari cartridges that no one should have bought.  (I’m pretty sure that 3D Tic Tac Toe was on the top of that list.)

Then, even when I was away at school as an engineering student in the late 1980s, I somehow found my way behind a microphone and eventually on the air for the first time as host at my college, student run radio station KMNR.  After that on air fun and a desperate need to change from engineering to some, scratch that, any other kind of career path, I took it upon myself to see what it might be like to do the broadcast thing for a living.

And now after doing that in the 90s and eventually having technology and outlets for expression evolve rapid along with me, I’ve moved through radio, to voiceover work, to documentary film making, and now online writing and scene setting. I want to find things in the world that I think that everyone should know about, package it up, and then cast it as broadly as possible via the Internet tubes over social media and blog outlets.  I guess that I’m truly just a broadcaster, in the most broad sense of the word, at heart. (See what I did there?)

I’m starting to put out all of these posts and ideas that I’ve been able to gather on these virtual pages, I guess, because I guess that i just can’t help myself.  It must be inbred.  So I hope that you won’t mind the wide variety of stories, subjects, and people that I bring to your attention using this site as host because I think it’s going to happen whether I want it to or not.

I can’t and won’t promise that everything will be to all of your individual tastes, but I will promise that I will try to keep it interesting and insightful.  That has always been the way that I’ve rolled when talking with the masses.  I look forward to this new journey, and I hope that you’ll feel free to take what you like and spread it far and wide, while taking what you don’t like and ignoring it.  This should be fun.  I look forward to it.

And coming up next…who knows? I’m running the board now and I left my playlist at home.  Enjoy!