Thursday, April 28, 2016

Explaining Minutia Men

OK, so yesterday I was out of the office most of the day. I accompanied Eckhartz Press author Dobie Maxwell to his appearance on Mancow's show (The Loop), and Mancow had him on the show for an hour and a half. When I find the podcast of that interview, I'll post it.

As I was leaving for the interview, I noticed that Robert Feder posted the little tidbit about my upcoming podcast with Eckhartz Press co-publisher David Stern. I didn't really have time to explain the show yesterday, so I just posted Mr. Feder's article (it's a few posts down) with promises of additional information.

This morning I have a little more time to explain it.

Dave and I have known each other for more than 30 years. We met at the University of Illinois in the early 80s and instantly became best friends. Before we left town, Dave and I hosted a show together on the radio station there (WPGU). We mocked the powers that be at U of I (especially the Chief), and we ran for Homecoming King and Queen. We got a few job offers to do a morning show in a few markets, but Dave wanted to get his Masters Degree, so we turned them down.

I went into radio and got a bunch of jobs in Chicago. Dave moved to Chicago and went into sales. We both got married and had kids (I have three boys, he has three girls). This picture makes it look like we got married to each other, but actually we stood up for each other's weddings. I was Dave's best man (he says I was an OK man at best). When Dave calls my house and Bridget answers it, she says "Your first wife is on the phone."

We have been constant collaborators over the years. I had him appear as a character on radio shows I was working on (as a Cliff Dancer on Steve & Garry, as Bobby Bitterman on Ebony & Ivory and as a ridiculous letter writer on John Landecker's show), and we went through the Second City improv school together and created a show there. We formed an advertising agency together (AMISH Chicago Advertising), and a publishing company (Eckhartz Press). But Dave still wanted us to do a radio show (probably still feeling guilty for turning down those job offers in 1985).

The obstacle to our doing a show has always been that people in the business didn't know Dave. Over the years he has gotten to know my radio pals, and they all loved him mainly because he is a laugh riot. When we hung out at parties or restaurants or bars or golf courses, we inevitaby did the Rick and Dave show for everyone around us (with me as the straight man, essentially). For years we've been hearing..."you guys should do a show together."

Well, one time about a year and a half ago, the person who said that was Tony Lossano, and he just happened to be starting up this Radio Misfits podcast network with Ed Silha (the owner of the network). We kept putting it off, and I'll admit it was 100% my fault. I had an inkling what it took do a radio show, and I warned Dave that we didn't have the time to do it right. Podcasting required a technical expertise that neither of us possessed. We'd have to learn it, write a show, do the prep work, etc, all while doing our full time jobs (publishers of Eckhartz Press).

But I was thinking about it all wrong. I was thinking of the type of radio shows I used to produce. I was thinking of a promotional vehicle for Eckhartz Press with lots of authors coming on the show to discuss their cool new books, and fully produced comedy bits.

"That's not what we want," Tony said. "We want what you guys do when you talk to each other. That's the show."

"We don't talk about anything important," I pointed out. "It's just the sort of minitua that interests us at that moment, and stories about things that have happened to us. It's never ever something important or deep."

"That's whats so entertaining," he said.

"And," Dave noted, "we do that on the phone every day anyway. Let's just do it once a week on a podcast. We can handle that."

That's when Minutia Men was born. Tony and producer Chris Cwiak came out to my house and set up the equipment. In an afternoon they taught me how to use it (I'm essentially a technical moron), and Dave and I have done a few practice shows the past few weeks...and you know what? I think we've got something here.

A warning...the show doesn't have a defined length. We try to make it about 30 minutes, but it can be more or less than that depending on the many tangents. The subject matter varies, but it's never political. We share some of our favorite minutia stories we've discovered that week. We talk about things like parenting, the Cubs, balding, and rock and roll. Dave asks me to share some of my brushes-with-celebrities stories. In other words, we do a podcast version of what I post here on this blog.

That's the show. If you enjoy this blog, you'll enjoy the show.

Even if you don't, you'll enjoy Dave.

But if you're looking for a slickly produced comedy show, or a deep serious discussion about anything at all, Minutia Men is not for you.

This is the link to where the show can be found every Thursday. As long as people enjoy it, we'll continue to do it as a podcast. If people don't enjoy it, we'll continue to do it on the phone.

Twenty years from now, God willing, we'll be those two old men sitting in a booth at a diner comparing our medical maladies. There's still a chance if you tune in between now and then, you'll still get some humorous non-medical talk.

That's all we can promise.