Today marks the start of the official Plaguewalker week (I know it’s official because I wrote it down in my planner, right below “laundry.”) Things kicked off with my very first radio interview ever* this morning on WUWM’s (89.7 FM) Lake Effect.
[Technically, I've been on radio twice before, during my years as pop music critic for The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The first time, I was a guest on a local rock show where the sum of my contribution was saying "absolutely" four separate times. The second was on a Top 40 station in Ohio or Iowa--one of those states that starts and ends with a vowel--providing thought-provoking, expert analysis on whether parents should let their tween daughters listen to Avril Lavigne. (Answer: uh, yeah.) The Lake Effect interview was, however, the first time I have said a full sentence on-air. And I said a lot of them.]
I was anxious about appearing on Lake Effect for a number of reasons. Wait. “Appearing on” doesn’t seem right. Sounding off? Voicing on? Whatever.
First, based on my previous radio moments (and they were moments) as well as my voicemail greetings past and present, I do not enjoy sounding like a sullen 16-year-old with a chronic sinus condition. I also hate that I ramble, that I use the word “and” the way Germans use “doch!” or as meaningless filler…aaaannd, oh, I could go on.
Then there’s the fact that I’ve listened to and enjoyed Lake Effect for years, largely because the guests always sound so smart and experty. I did not want to be memorable for being the first guest to, uhm, sound otherwise.
In any case, the Lake Effect studios are downright sexy. Everything is sleek and the lighting is as flattering as candlelight. Producer Stephanie Lecci made me feel like I was chatting with an old friend, and I almost forgot there was an enormous fuzzy microphone inches from my face.
I did remember what my high school choral director, Sister Mary Gomolka, used to say. Whenever you want to improve your voice, whether singing or speaking, smile. It prevents one from being flat (well, perhaps not in my case, based on the grimace she often sent my way during practice) and shapes your words in an attractive manner. During the Lake Effect interview, every time I noticed the mic, I would think smile, smile, dammit, smile! I believe this had the unintended consequence of making me look insanely happy to be discussing death, torture, interrogation and the plague.
In any case, I suspect a combination of Sister Mary’s words of wisdom and Stephanie’s impressive post-production skills made me sound okay in the end, so much so that I’m willing to post it here for you to listen.
I hope you’ll not only check out my gleeful ramble about pathogens, rotting corpses and a missing moral compass, but also that you’ll stop by either of the events winding up Plaguewalker week: my Friday reading at Boswell Book Company on the East Side or my Saturday afternoon tag-team of terror reading at the Wauwatosa Public Library over in, well, ‘Tosa.
And stay tuned for a Halloween treat I’ll be posting as we near that most wonderful day of the year.