John McIntire invited me to appear on his KDKA-AM 1020 radio program Saturday at 9 p.m., as if “appearing” on radio is a metaphysical possibility. Here are some reasons why you might want to tune in to the streamer link.
• We won’t discuss anything depressing. John’s not going to ask me my opinions on the bloody conflict in Gaza, the downed Malaysian jetliner or how the drought in California is going to affect the price of lettuce in Pittsburgh.
• I might sing. I always include a little tune in all my live appearances and it’s always a soul-tickling experience. For me, at least. I say that while acknowledging not one single person’s ever come up after one of my speeches and said, gee, they wished I’d sung longer and louder.
• For the first time ever, I have reason to be an on-air optimist. I’ve been intermittently appearing on Pittsburgh radio and TV since 1994. I’ll bet during those 20 years I’ve never once been heard broadcasting the words, “My career’s going great! And I’m confident tomorrow’s only going to be better!” But if we do talk about my career, I’ll be sure to talk about how successful my speaking engagements have been. People are really responding to my talks and there’s reason to believe that cheerful reaction is about to grow exponentially.
• John is the most compelling voice on Pittsburgh radio. Doug Hoerth, Jack Bogut, Lynn Cullen, Scott Paulsen — giants once roamed the radio here. No more. Across the dial, Pittsburgh radio is a uniformly lame landscape of harpies and posers. John is the only guy you listen to who at least once every show says something outrageous enough to convince you he doesn’t care if he gets fired or not. He’s always been the kind of liberal who’s enjoyed by conservatives who genuinely enjoy being on his show.
• You can feel like The Waltons used to. Gather the family around the radio and shut off all the other devices. For authenticity’s sake, stare straight at the radio the way the old timers used to like they could visualize what was happening in the studio.
• John might be cranky. If you’ve never heard him, you might think of John like David Letterman. He’s always very funny, but he’s riveting when something he won’t talk about is really pissing him off.
• I might for the sake of publicity stage a freak out. This seemed to work for Joaquin Phoenix. I think it’d do wonders for my publicity if there were news stories about the guy who wrote the book about being nice and happy trashed the KDKA studios when host John McIntire refused to fetch him a plum.
• In this day of archived appearances, this might be your only chance to hear me with John on KDKA. I was last on in May ’13 and we had a lively hour that earned a fantastic reaction. But KDKA, then at least, had some prohibition about posting a link to any of John’s shows and the engineer blew me off when I pestered about a tape. So it’s like it never happened. I might just tape the thing on my iPhone right there in the studio. It’d let you hear all the off-mic banter during the commercials when I ask John if my voice sounds okay, if my jokes are funny and if my pants make my butt look too big.
• The Bucs will still have at least 78 other games. They play the Colorado Rockies Saturday with a 7 p.m. first pitch. So the most interesting part of the game will probably coincide with when I’m on with John. I give you selfish permission to skip the Bucs and listen to us.
• There’s always a chance I’ll get drunk before the show. Those chances are slim, but there is precedent. I remember in about 2000 when John was still doing his much-missed PCNC cable show and he asked me to appear — truly appear — on Fat Tuesday. I said yes, but that didn’t mean I was going to skip a downtown splurge to which I’d been invited. What I remember most was prior to the show walking into the station men’s room and finding WPXI anchor David Johnson’s make-up kit by the glamor mirror. I looked in the mirror and noticed a shiny spot on my forehead. I reached for the powder pad and gave the shiny spot a gentle dab. Then I noticed another. And another. And another! I did so much foundational dabbing that I came out looking like an Oompa Loompa. I also remember blurting out nonsensical things and laughing hysterically at myself and looking over and seeing John looking at me with an expression best described as quizzical. Oh, how I wish I could find a tape of that show.
• I might mention your name! I’m going to ask John if he’ll let me read all the names of people who’ve told me they read and enjoy my blog. And to shake things up, I’m starting with the Zs and going backwards. Know what that means? For once, you’re first, Theodore Zyzak!
And lastly . . .
• An hour of commercial radio: No erectile dysfunction ads!
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