John Corson's Blog

WRITING & RANTING
for November 6, 2021

VOCATIONS AND AVOCATIONS

As happens nearly every night that I can sit on my deck (that is, if the weather permits), I often find myself speaking out to God (or to Reggie or one of the cats present) and saying that I want to go back into radio. I have spoken several times in these rants about wanting to do that. It's not one of those things of which I don't know why I say this. I do know why. I was most happy doing that work.

Work, by nature, is your vocation. Your avocation is the thing you love to do and be. An avocation is usually a hobby, a thing one does besides the regular work or profession.

It has been said "Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life." As great as this quote from Confucius is, the sad truth is that doing what you love is the dream of many, but the reality of few. By the way, Confucius mostly likely did not say this but the earliest one could find these words was published in the Princeton Alumni Weekly in 1982 by Professor of Philosophy Arthur Szathmary who attributed to "an old-timer" not identified. I would love to know who that "old-timer" was.

Regardless, the saying is true. If you find something you love to do, I will not be regarded, by you, as work. If you can make that thing you love to do your job, your employment, then you have made your avocation into your vocation and that vocation will not be considered "work."

To me, radio was never a job. It was a hobby. I enjoyed putting sound bites, music and effects together to form a commercial or a promo. That was the creativity of the production studio. I loved to "back-time" music to the top of the hour, which meant getting things down to the second. I loved putting a program together, viz. what would be the right music for this time of day or for the weather outside, or for the season of the year? What rhyme, joke or sage saying goes with the mood of the moment? Can I tweak the CRL's or the Optimod? (limiters and compellers that add sparkle to the transmission of the broadcast)?

There are so many little things that become creative pieces of art in broadcasting from editing news copy to keying the mike and speaking at the right second to segue into the next song. Segues, themselves, demand creativity.

Yeah, I miss radio. In this day when ratings are what keeps a station afloat and listeners more influenced by who presents the music than the style or genre of music itself, leaves out the possibility that I would ever return (unless it is to D.J. classical music - which, I might add, is my forte).

Why and how does it preclude my ever returning to radio?

Well, consultants, who are paid enormous sums of money to advice and bring about higher ratings for the station, are showing through the diaries kept my anonymous listeners and submitted to survey analysts, have shown that male listeners, especially those under 45, want to listen to female voices. It is reasoned that there is a fantasy world men throw themselves into when listening to a woman's voice and having no face to see. Women, on the other hand, like the idea of female announcers as it shows the headway and progress women have made in the world of broadcast journalism.

Why even today, a vast majority of television stations in the Top 50 markets around the country, put more female anchors and reporters in front of the camera than men. The three main television stations in my area (Hampton Roads, Virginia) average 4 women to 1 man. You will never see two men anchoring any one single news block, but you see two women a lot. In fact, on any given day, there may be up to three hours worth of news with not a single man on set. There will be two women anchoring the news, one woman doing the weather, one woman doing the traffic report, and one woman doing special interest reporting from behind the desk or on set. There is also a growing love for seeing women doing the sports reporting. One TV station in Richmond has two women sportscasters and a woman sports director. How many men doing sports in a single broadcast on any given day? None!

I would say that since, 2010, broadcast journalism has become a woman's world. And, just like the NBA is the Black male's domain, radio is more and more womanized. Don't get me wrong, it is a great place to be!

So my gender precludes my going back. A second reason is my age. There is still age discrimination in the work force, although not as regular as it used to be. But to think of a 67-year old white male introducing rap music, or, for that matter, "love songs" and ballads, doesn't happen. Consultants would rage against it, listeners would think it was a novelty - but only for a day, and employers don't have the time to interview someone who may be approaching the age of dotage.

So that leaves the classical music/public radio world and in my area of the world, I have burnt that bridge. I have detailed my exploits elsewhere (May 8, 2021, and October 11, 2021) so I won't rehearse them and bore you. The local public radio station has two men announcing classical music who are in their 70s, and between the two stations that comprise WHRO/WHRV, the average age of the announcers is the upper 50s.

 It is just so frustrating to not be able to be apart of that world anymore. My number 1 hobby is out the window.

I will note, however, that between 2002 and 2011 I ran my own automated internet radio station playing the music from the late 50's to the mid-90's when Rock completely went out the window. I was able to relive some really good times from the seventies when I first got into radio (although I was visiting radio stations and became a groupie by the time I was in fourth grade in 1965).

I stopped doing that when I went to Windsor Baptist Church as I was starting over again after having suffered from a horrendous pastorate in Emporia, Virginia. Also, I was afraid one or both of the music industry licenses services would catch me and come to my door looking for thousands of dollars in royalty fees for playing copyrighted music. That's another whole deal in itself.

So I immersed myself into my pastorate at WBC and the first five years were busy ones and had times wherein I could use my education, creative abilities in the world of church programming, and I had cooperation from among many of the folks.

During the last five years, as my people continued to age and the younger folks with kids were being swept away by the fast growing young church down the road (with the fast paced contemporary music and dozens of programs for kids from two days old to twenty-year old), we started to slow down and drop many of the things we used to do. There was no interest unless I wanted to do it by myself. This was where my vocation and avocation separated. What I liked to do (even though it wasn't radio) became a burden and it wasn't an avocation anymore. Since about 2017, pastoring has become a job. And, from a Pastor's point of view, if the ministry becomes a job instead of a calling that fulfills you down to your soul, then a major change is needed.

Change? At 67, my question is: to what do I change? Where do I go?

That leads me to tomorrow and the many events coming over the next ten days. There will be an Administrative Council meeting Monday night. It was supposed to happen this past Monday, but two members had physical ailments, two had mismatched priorities and that left me and the sole woman on the Council. So we postponed it to this Monday. Tuesday will be spent visiting about five folks, mostly aged which means I won't be going in and coming out in twenty minutes. Wednesday is choir practice as I have agreed to add a bass voice to the Christmas musical this year (we lost two, one to the fear of getting Covid, the other because he feels he can't sing anymore), next Monday, the 15th is a called Deacon's meeting to go over any business they think should be presented to the Annual Church Conference which will be held that Wednesday, the 17th. Somewhere along the way may be a Properties Council meeting and possibly a Corporate Council meeting, again in preparation for the Church Conference. I also suspect that since the Deacons have already basically concluded their business for the year and have already  formulated any report they may have for the church, that they just want to me to get my Visitation report so they can check up on me and see if I am doing enough hand holding in the community.

I am tired of the tedious grind of busy work which is the uselessness of a one-man pastorate. That is where I do everything when directed or as defined in my job description without any expectation of help. Ten years ago, I had three or four deacons willing and wanting to help. They would go visiting with me and, if I was sick or on vacation, they would fill the gaps (except for the preaching), I even had teachers and other workers that didn't let anything fall through the cracks. Now, most of them go to Elevate Church and the rest have "retired" from church volunteering.

Last Saturday, we had a work-day. Ten years ago, it was nothing to have a dozen or more folks show up for a workday. In fact, there were times that as many as twenty people or one-fourth of the church, would come out for an hour or two and do same cleaning, either inside or out. Last week we had six and one was my son who had yet to visit a service of the church, and one was a new member. How embarrassing!

I am going ahead and say this: I am a pastor who wants to retire serving retired church workers. I can say that since I don't expect more than two people to read this. Hey! This blog is my hobby! Too bad it doesn't pay me one red cent! I would love to work on web pages and create new sites and get paid. If I made as much or more as I do at WBC, I would be a vapor trail in their rear-view mirrors.

The bottom line in this here rant is this: If you can find something you like to do and can obtain some sort of sustenance from it, then do it. If it pays well, make it your vocation. Otherwise let your vocation pay your bills and escape from it sometime each day and write a blog.

By the way: In the Christian context, being a Christian and living that life should be your avocation because doing what you like to do (and that should be pleasing God) helps to rise above the monotony of your vocation. Applying that to me: Living as a Christian should help me rise above doing what the Deacons want me to do. But, most of the time, it doesn't. I always get brought down into the real world of mediocrity and madness.

So tomorrow is Church day and the weekly church report blog. I really hope that all I have to say is: "It went well today. We had a good attendance, the people were full of smiles and wanted to be there. All of my workers were there and ready to do their thing. And we had no meetings afterwards and were able to just fellowship and talk with no problems or issues needing attention today.

Just so you will know, all of those things coming together on one single Sunday hasn't happened since 2016.

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Blogging

Blogs are about the blogger. It's as if he or she merely toots their own horns about the things they do, say and love.

My life is boring. I read, I watch Glenn Beck and Mark Levin. I listen to Andrew Wilkow. I engage in some conversation with those who are willing to listen (they being masochistic and enjoy killing themselves with my banter).

I plan on just laying out the things that bother me and the things I love. Nothing in-between. I hope you find whatever I put here amusing.