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Little changes

The only thing that remains constant is change and even though we all know that change is inevitable, it can be hard to handle. Everyone has experienced a major change in their life, such as the death of a loved one, a job change or moving half way across the country. Sometimes though, it’s the little changes that impact us the most.

So it was for me, on December 17, 2015, when an era came to an end. It was something that had been with me for well over two decades. Oh, it was not a surprise – I had known about this change since September, but even with forewarning, it was not any easier. On that date, I felt an emptiness that I had only felt once before, on February 28, 1983, when the final episode of M*A*S*H aired.

What was this traumatic change? What happened on December 17? Radio announcer Bob Kevoian, from the nationally syndicated Bob and Tom Show, retired and self-proclaimed “newsgirl” Kristi Lee made her last appearance on the show.

How, you ask, could the retirement of a radio announcer and a newsgirl be a change that could impact my life? To answer that question we have to turn back time.

As a teen, I fell in love with the mystique of radio. I got my first on-air announcer job at age 18 and would spend seven years working at radio stations while in engineering college and even after graduation. Radio was in my blood.

I was working part time at a small AM radio station when I discovered The Bob and Tom Show. I was perhaps 20 at the time and worked weekends and sometimes weeknights. One of my responsibilities was to fiddle with the satellite transponders. I would dial in the correct transponder and record syndicated shows that the station subscribed to, so they could be broadcast at future times. One morning I was setting the satellites in order to record Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion” when I stumbled across a hilarious comedy show. I listened for twenty minutes and could not stop laughing.

I set up a cassette recorder and started taping several hours of the show each weekday, listening to it later on my Sony Walkman. I was hooked. Eventually, Bob and Tom expanded nationally and I could listen to them all across the country…and I did. The show became an addiction much like morning coffee.

Years later, after marriage and children, my wife and I hit a bump and went to a counselor. During one of our meetings, she angrily mentioned that I was wasting $29.95 every six months on a Bob and Tom VIP membership. “Great,” I thought. “There goes my subscription.” But to my surprise, the psychologist defended me and even said that listening to the Bob and Tom show was not just a luxury, but a necessity for millions of people. It was how they got through the day. I was elated, but on a side note, that was the last visit we made to that counselor.

For more than twenty years I have listened to Bob and Tom. Every morning at six AM, Bob, Tom, Chick and Kristi greeted me. It became a part of my life, like brushing my teeth or shaving. I shared countless moments, like the birth of Kristi’s two daughters, Chicks divorce’s and his prostate exam. I laughed about Tom’s OCD and other quirks. I remember when Kristi threw out the first pitch at a Reds game, and when Fuzzy Zoeller made a hole in one. I was a member of the Morning Breath Club and I remember the old, but great bits like “Yes, Virginia, there is a Tom Griswold.”

Alas, the only thing that remains constant is change. Bob and Kristi are gone, but the Bob and Tom show continues. It is still a hilarious morning show. Replacements for Bob and Kristi now sit at their mics, but for me, it’s not quite the same. There is no Bob keeping Tom rational (if that is possible) and Kristi is not there, getting cut off in the middle of her news stories every morning.

No one can stop change – it’s a fact of life. While I could become philosophical, I won’t. It’s just how things are. I wish Bob and Kristi the best of luck with their futures. They are making major life changes and it will take them time to adjust, just as it will take me time to adjust to the small changes that feel big, like losing half of your morning radio routine. And while I never met or spoke to Bob, Tom, Kristi or Chick, save for a few Tweets here and there, there is an emptiness each morning as I drive to work. Okay, and a bit of jealously that Bob and Kristi get to sleep in now, and I still have to get up and go to work!

Once again, it’s time to get Ahead of the Curve. ‘Nuff said for today.

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