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Colorado Folk Alley Fan visits, and is immediately put to work.

June 1, 2005

I know it feels most of the time it's just you, me, and a box of CDs (wonderfully inventive and often overlooked CDs at that). I always want you to feel like that IS the experience, by the way; Folk Alley should never feel like a non-personalized commercially driven formula. There is, however, a lot of work behind the scenes. Loading songs into the hard drive, arranging the mix using the music software program, researching or even interviewing the artists. Saturday I was shorthanded and nearing trouble.

I often have a couple helpers, usually ambitious students. Last week they all disappeared. Ashley the singer was in St Louis, Andy the mandolin player was in Rome, and Adam had graduated. Lindsey could fill in a bit, but had to leave early. To top it off, I was expecting a visitor. Bruce Metzger, a listener from Colorado was passing through town and asked if he could visit. "Sure," I said, but as deadlines approached I called and asked him to delay his visit because I was behind. Thank goodness he had already left.

Besides being a mountain climber and a dog lover, Bruce is also a computer programmer. My brain began to fester with ideas. After Lindsey gave Bruce a tour and split for an important function ("Tommy's party, of course, didn't you know?"), I asked Bruce: "Say, you wouldn't be in for a real experience would you?"

In a matter of minutes I was teaching Bruce to load songs, arrange playlists, insert messages, even answer phones. (He thought he would get a tour, and if things went well, maybe a leftover donut...) We were giving away "Asleep at the Wheel" tickets and dozens of local listeners were desperately trying to solve my trivia riddle. "Get a name and phone number, Bruce," I said, "You've got another crisis to solve." It turns out an hour of music was missing.

Bruce finished with the callers, quickly wrapped up his computer work in Studio A, and joined me in my office. I told him: "There's an hour missing. What do you want to hear?" He answered: "You're asking me!?" I reminded him: "Bruce, there's no one else here." Mindful of our mix, and careful not to leave things out, Bruce chose the hour - under my watchful eye, and we returned to our respective studios. Time was running out.

We completed our work, and Folk Alley was not interrupted. Afterword, we both reflected on what had just happened. I was in need of help and I thought I had no one to ask. I thought I might be imposing on Bruce, but in actuality, he received a hands on behind the scenes experience. I felt sheepish. He was grinning like a Cheshire cat. We had worked together for 5 hours non-stop. I did think about offering him that leftover donut, but it was Saturday and there weren't any. I did accept his offer to go backpacking and climbing in Colorado.

Looking back, you learn something about perspective. I was worried about putting a listener off the street to work. Outside of a few e-mails I had never met the guy before. Bruce Metzger from Colorado, however, was living a dream. Thanks buddy!

Posted by Jim Blum at June 1, 2005 12:10 PM


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