OBSERVATIONS AND RAMBLINGS FROM A CRANKY OLD GUY (June 2022) -By: Jeff Spaulding
Written by Staff on June 12, 2022
In sports, it’s called “an audible”, a last-minute change to a planned action. I was to discuss the death of country music superstar Naomi Judd, due to her struggle with mental illness, that made her eat a gun and commit suicide. I was going to tie it in with my struggles with mental illness through my second wife (I refer to as Ex-Wife Number Two), the similarities were very closely tied to Naomi, except that my ex-wife recently passed from (my understanding) a non-suicidal condition. A voice inside me (or perhaps an email, can’t remember which) suggested I go back to having more ramblings and being less cranky (don’t worry, this bastard is still old and getting older by the minute). For the money I’m paid for writing this article (busting balls Artie, but I do have a stack of monthly invoices), I listened and have something else to discuss, though if anyone wants to discuss the above privately with me, I am always free to listen, you’re never alone, don’t forget that.
Now, let’s talk about another death, in a way. An institution that’s been in the Capital Region since 1973, that has produced countless successful broadcasters who to this day are still fighting the good fight, that has also produced countless successful broadcasters labeled “on the beach,” meaning due to modern technical advancements machines have taken their places. An institution that tried to teach (not an insult), frankly untalented people who couldn’t tell a K-Mart blue light from a traffic red light, who thought all you needed to be on the radio was play their favorite songs with the word “f*c* in it and say “Baba Booey” and you’re the next Stern. The highest they got “in the field” was to become a wedding DJ, and only because they can program a computer and have no sense of music or a personality for that matter. Finally, “The Forgotten Ones,” who had no interest in radio but knowing there was one in their pick ‘em up truck. They never wanted to get on the radio, they never tried to get on the radio, they couldn’t even spell radio. They only went to this institution because the government paid them to go. Today they live a life as a state worker
The institution I refer to was originally known as The New School of Contemporary Radio. That evolved into The New School of Radio and Television, then something else, like The New School Media Center, then I think finally The New School.
The original base (and frankly where the magic really happened) was at 50 Colvin Avenue in Albany. It was a dump of a joint but dammit that place had heart. Tom Brownlie and his wife started the school, and originally the goal was to train the next group of budding disc jockeys, news people, talk show hosts, commercial producers and the like. What made the school so special (self-brag here) were the instructors of the classes, people in the business at the time, telling true stories on how to get the inside track to the field.
There’s an old saying, those who can do, those who can’t teach. Doesn’t apply here. These instructors DID do and DID teach at the same time. Here’s the way I look at it. You can be taught by a book-learned professor with no real-world experience and teach you how to do it by the book or you can have a real life professional in the business who will tell you the book is bull shit, but here’s how you really need to do it. Who are you to believe?
I am proud to say I put in ten years as an instructor at the New School, and I am so proud of all those who succeeded whether due to my training or despite of it. In one particular case, one of my former very successful students in time became my boss! Before I took the job, I told him I wanted him to treat me like any of his other employees. He said he’ll go one better and treat me as I treated him when I was his instructor…I was SO screwed…
So, hats off to the New School, and Tom Brownlie in particular, your legacy continues today on the air, we thank you.
Be hearing you