There was a morning guy who I was working with who I think might have thought he was in a different field. It wasn’t just the name or the hair or the bio or the photos: it was the whole presentation. He was that kid in high school who was trying hard to be cool.
With age comes wisdom. And liver spots.
Looking back at high school you realize that really, there were maybe one or two people who were actually cool. And they were cool because they didn’t try to be cool. They were kind of above all that stupidity. They were just themselves and if you didn’t like them, well, that’s alright.
There were some people who were cool for their accomplishments like sports or debate (my mom said I was super cool because I was able to effectively defend the Smoot Hawley Tariff Act) but the shine wore off.
Cool? That’s just something you are.
Looking back, none of the jocks were actually all that cool. Jill Widell? She was cool. It was effortless. In a suburban school with about 10% more peer pressure than our competitors, she was just herself. She was smart and funny and talented. She didn’t try to be cool: she was.
So the dude with the model photo for his jock bio, might have been trying a little too hard. And it showed. It’s not just that he was in Radio, the Fart Joke Medium, but CHR, the Fart Joke Format of the Fart Joke Medium. We’re not cool. If we were, we’d be doing something else.
If I was to really take a long look (my attorney says that I’m still not allowed to use the term “long hard”) I’d probably be able to zero in and ID a dozen people in the industry who might pass the cool test, at least as I define it. And the ability to not take yourself seriously could be one component.
Elizabethany with iHeart is one. She’s been able to take a genuinely great personality, some questionable athletic abilities, an unusual name and a spirit of “I don’t give a fuck” and turn it into a remarkable string of success.
When Mitt Romney said that he would fire Big Bird, within an hour one of the Marketing Directors found a BB costume and called the morning co-host at home asking if she wanted to go out and hold a sign saying that (their station) would never fire Big Bird. The response, “I’m not a fucking clown.” And then you have Eilzabethany.
Amy Kaye at Y-94 in Fargo is cool. She’s just…herself. She’s funny and outgoing and prone to random things like recreating an Arthur meme. “ Why? Why not? Cool people don’t tend to over think things.
And then there’s Ruby Carr with Z-95.3 in Vancouver. Here’s a woman who went from street teamer in Halifax to mornings in BC in seven years. The US equivalent would be to go from hanging banners in Jacksonville to mornings in LA. And this happened because, first, she’s enormously talented. But she’’s also cool. You would have to hang out with her to get it but it’s in her presentation. She’s mellow but not in a forced kind of way. She’s just casual. And self-deprecating and genuinely, sincerely gracious to their listeners.
Plus she’s kind of stupid.
Maybe you’re so un-cool that you are cool? That’s cool. But be yourself. That’s all that really matters and listeners can tell when you’re real. Real is good.
I called this The Cool Carl Paranski Theory Of Cool. If you know the reference, you might actually not be cool but would certainly have a deep knowledge of 1970’s films.
Carl was the other teams slugger, the force-to-be-dealt with for the Bad News Bears. He had swaggar. Bossed the umpires around and is probably cleaning pools in Encino. Because he had a temporary cool.
Here is the afore-mentioned and still cool Jill Widell on a 300 mile high school roadtrip at about midnight on I-35 up near Moose Lake, booked-ended by a couple of guys who are just stunned to be where they were at that moment.