March 30th, 2011

How many people are nominated, then inducted into a Hall of Fame? Whether its sports or academic, the Hall of Fame of anything conveys a humbling message to its recipient. The Hall of Fame means you’ve accomplished things your peers have yet to attain. It is humbling because whatever you did to get inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame you didn’t do it on purpose. You did it because it was fun.

I think you achieve Hall of Fame status because you love what you do. You certainly don’t do it for the money or the hours. You persevere in floods of unforeseen failure. Timing and good luck are elements of success.

Radio is not conducive to successful relationships. It is an isolating, crazy, combustible career. You can have great talent and achieve nothing. You can lack talent and be retained on the air for years. You can have number one ratings and be gone tomorrow. You can have lousy ratings and make a quarter of a million a month.

But to make the Hall of Fame you really have to survive. Survive the complex addictions, afflictions, and doubts. The break ups of relationships and the hardships of being in between gigs. The grindstone that threatens to crush your spirit. The exuberant highs of soaring success. The debilitating fatigue of depression following failure.

You take chances to get into any Hall of Fame. Chances in both your personal and professional life. Whether its medicine or celebrity, no one ever gets into the Hall of Fame being a bystander. Hall of Famers have been hit hard. By debt, defeat, and despair.

Yet they survive. Survive eternally in a manila file someplace in a sliding drawer of historical documents. Survive forever in newspaper morgues and government documents. Survive the dust of decay because one hundred years from now someone will want to look it up and see who these people were.

That is why it is both humbling and a valiant honor to absorb yourself into being inducted into a Hall of Fame. It wasn’t a walk in the park. You avoided the trap of the mediocre. You said things that got you fired. You thought out loud and were condemned. You made people laugh and they loved you for it. You were silly. You covered the bases and got hurt. And you learned the ultimate lesson that if you try to please everyone, you please no one. Thats why you’re in the Hall of Fame. Enjoy it. It was a tough ride on a very rutted, and damaged piece of pavement.

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