I want to share a story that my father recently shared with me, and his colleagues at work. He is a volunteer narrator at Insight, an amazing actor, and the creative services director at 101.5. He is also MY role model. -Matt Corey This week it all came back to me . . . like a flood. What? Why I'm here at LFM, and why I'm . . .here, a humble citizen of planet Earth. See, this week I met Steven Pena. Steven is the brother of young lady with whom I serve on the Miami Local Board of SAG-AFTRA, the performers' union. She told me that Steven is a huge fan of our stations, so I invited her to bring him one day, and I'd give him the tour. "Well", she said, "Steven is blind and wheelchair-bound". I told her it would be no problem as my best friend - another Steve - is also blind, plus, the building is wheelchair friendly.
This week Steven rolled his way into our building . . . and into my heart. He was FULL of questions and hardly let me answer before he was on to the next one. Some of them were fairly deep, but I managed to hold my own! His grasp of what goes on in a radio station was solid if not a little behind in the technology. For example, he wanted to know how many CDs we had in our library. I told him that we no longer played CDs as all our music was stored in a "monster" computer. To demonstrate, I asked him to name a couple of favorite songs or artists. Top of the list? Jimmy Buffett. So, in a flash I had "Margaritaville" up and running on NexGen. Next? "Thriller" by Michael Jackson. Steven's eyes lit up when he heard the songs booming from the Studio Z speakers. And the questions just came pouring out. It was a challenge figuring out how to "show" Steven how things worked. But then I got a great idea. With ProTools - my digital audio workstation - I have each element of sound on an individual fader, and I set each to "touch". That means each track "remembers" where I set the levels when I mix the commercial. When playing it back, the faders move as if ghosts were controlling them, sliding up and down as I had programmed them. I opened a session for Steven, and told him to put his hands lightly over the faders. When I played back the audio, he could feel them move under his fingers. He was fascinated as you can see in picture #5. Then, I sat him down in front of a microphone (picture #2) to record him intro-ing Margaritaville. I edited it all together and sent it to him as an mp3. I truly wish I had a picture of his face when he listened back, or when I processed his voice so it sounded like he was announcing at Miami Marlins Stadium. The tour culminated in meeting some of his favorite personalities, and I sent him on his way with a bag of LITE FM goodies provided by Eric (picture #4).
I've heard back from Lauren, and she tells me " . . . "DJ Steven" had the best time, I know he will never forget this and will be telling everyone he meets from now on! The tour was everything we could have dreamed for him and more". She also tells me that "DJ Steven" (a moniker I gave him) insists that all his drinks be served in his LITE FM mug and that he can't stop talking about radio and music . . . and his visit to LFM.
Something wonderful happens to me when I'm on the set of a film or acting onstage in a theatrical play. It's hard to explain, but it feels as though I have an out-of-body experience where I can see myself performing, and I feel like a kid again - the young Dave Corey who can actually see his childhood dreams coming true. Well, this past Friday - for the first time ever - it happened to me at the radio station. I looked around me in awe and said to myself, "this is one spectacular gig you've got here, Mr. Corey"! This weekend I figured out what happened. It was Steven who made it so. I was so infected by his own childish sense of wonder that it beckoned my inner-child to come out and look around and appreciate my blessings. Sure, it's not always a romp in the park here, but all things considered . . . it's a pretty spectacular way to make a living. And, wow, this epiphany I owe to a blind, wheelchair-bound young man - my son's age - afflicted with Cerebral Palsy. Funny where you find angels.