By Ed Thompson
There once was a little Production Director in Quincy, Illinois who wrote a letter to Radio And Production Magazine in January of 2000. It was titled “Spec Spots Suck”. It was a little ditty that broke down the cost of creating a spec spot and how it cost a radio station more money than it made. Bold statement then. Bold statement still. Yet, something about that letter prompted Jerry Vigil, the proprietor of this extremely informative and well written magazine to do something strange. He offered me a chance at being a contributor to this publication.
So it is not without out a lot of thought, not without a lot of prayer, and not without some regret that I am going to make this my last contribution to a magazine that I believe is so very important to our industry and to those of us who do what we do.
In the last ten years, I’ve shared the ups and downs of being a Production Director and the downs and ups of not being a Production Director. I’ve written about losing a job and getting a new one. I’ve figuratively slapped the faces of as many AE’s as I have figuratively slapped the backs of many of those same AE’s. I’ve shared some very personal insights that help me to do this kind of work. Also I have shared my personal tragedies and accomplishments. It is those personal tragedies and accomplishments that have led me to this decision.
As many of you remember, on the day after Christmas of 2008, I fell from my roof, broke my back and was paralyzed. Over the last year and a half, I have been going to physical therapy sessions at least three times a week and have gone from being unable to move my legs at the hips to now being able to walk part-time with the use of forearm crutches. What I have not shared is the constant pain that comes with the healing that I continue to do. That ever-present pain is the main reason why I cannot continue as a contributor.
I have a lot of stuff on my plate for a guy in my condition. I am husband to the best woman God ever created. I am father to five kids, three of them still at home. I work full-time as a writer, producer, and voiceover artist to a seven station radio group in Omaha, Nebraska. Also, I have closed up shop on a home-grown production company known as No Tails Out Productions and started building a new home-grown business under the unimaginative, yet perfectly descriptive name of Ed Thompson Voiceovers.
And then, there is the pain.
After my accident, my doctors and therapists told me that it takes nerves about two years to heal out. After that time, the healing will be even slower if at all. What movement I have regained at the end of those two years is generally going to be all I am going to get back. So I am going to concentrate on using the remaining six months of my therapy to get back as much as I can with the goal of walking full-time, either with assistance from crutches or without. As of this writing, I’ve taken ten steps in the safety of the parallel bars. “Look, Ma. No hands.” Walking again is a real possibility and I am going to focus all of my efforts toward that goal. The therapy is exhausting, not just physically but mentally as well.
As for the pain, if I didn’t have it there would be no gauge on how much I have gained.
However, that pain robs me of the ability to concentrate on the kind of writing which I think this magazine and its readers deserve. I can no longer devote the kind of energy and imagination required to do the job in a way that Jerry and you have come to expect. So I believe it is best for me to step back and let someone else have a shot at coming up with a thousand words every quarter.
I hope I can continue to drop in every once and again to update you on my progress or to offer a word or two. You can find me on Facebook or shoot me an email.
Over the last ten years, I have been honored to be a part of this magazine. I attended a radio convention where the great Tim Miles of Wizard Academy was speaking. When I introduced myself, Tim recognized my name and my work. That was quite a compliment to the reach of this publication. Also, I have received wonderful notes from some of you who have told me how much my words have meant to you. That’s the best thing a writer can read. Over the last ten years, some of you have even become my friends. How can I not be grateful for that?
Thank you, Mr. Vigil, for giving me the chance to expand my skills, my abilities, and my horizons. More importantly, thank you for reading.
God bless you and keep you.
P.S. Spec spots still suck. Always have. Always will.