by Dennis Daniel

Dennis-Daniel apr91I've been on a tremendous health kick lately.

It all started for me about a year ago when I began holistic treatment for my panic attacks and anxiety. After having gone to a regular internist who prescribed medication for my panic (one drug called Xanex and another called Buspar), I decided that I would not become a slave to drugs. My problem was all in my mind. I could heal myself. A friend of mine suggested a place called Long Island Health Services. It was here that my true healing began. My clinical psychologist, Dr. Mel Katz, had a profound effect on me. He helped me dig deep into myself to find the true causes for all my self doubts. (Ah... the suffering we creative people have to endure!) As time went on, I got involved with all kinds of "New Age" thinking and self-motivated healing processes (Acupuncture, Reflexology -- which is massage of the feet, Chakra Therapy, Homeopathy - a fascinating field, and Body Work). I started walking every morning before work. I began a low fat, low calorie diet. (So far, I've lost 20 pounds.) Slowly but surely, I began to feel better and better. In fact, I feel damn near indestructible! (In a future column, I'll go into greater detail about all of these wonderful self-healing alternatives.)

So, as you can see, I've been on a health kick.

In fact, I haven't gotten sick in over a year.

Until now.

I have a cold. A big, bad one. We're talking sleepless nights, runny nose, headaches and horking up healthy wads of lung cheese.

I feel yucky, you know?

As I write this to you, I am sitting at home with a large box of tissues poised strategically next to my computer. My production team at WDRE, Steve Morrison and Barbara Grant, have been running the show for the last three days. Today however, they must leave early, at about 2:30. You see, we've been nominated for a Clio Award for a T-Shirt promo we did for the station, and they have to get out in time for Steve to pick up his tux, Barbara to get home and get all dolled up, and drive into the city for the 5:00 starting time. (Do not weep for me. I wasn't going. I can't stand award ceremonies. My anus tightens up the entire time it takes to go from cocktails, to dinner, to the awards, to all the different categories, to the final announcement that... "the winner is... NOT Dennis Daniel." AHHHH! P.S.: I'll let you know if we won next issue.)

So, if my team leaves at 2:30, who will run the show? Who is capable enough? Who can I trust? Who can handle any problem, crisis, emergency situation that could come up? Who is my ace in the hole?

His name is Todd Wilkinson.

Remember that name, Todd Wilkinson.

Todd is my intern. And a damn good one.

In a previous Tales of the Tape column, I wrote about how important it was to have a good internship program going at your station. Interns are a breath of fresh air. They come in all wide-eyed and eager, staring at you with a tremendous sense of awe. They look at the normal everyday things you do and think you're a genius. Interns are good for your ego. They're also a lot of fun to teach. Nothing beats the feeling of passing on your knowledge and experience to someone who is ready, willing, and able to learn.

Todd was all this and more. First off, he had already graduated college so he was doing this on his own time. (He makes his money spinning at several different clubs. He's also available for weddings, in case you're interested.) Secondly, he was humble. I mean hum-blllle! This kid just couldn't believe he was being given such a great opportunity to learn. He'd stand over my shoulder, watching every move I made. He asked questions. (Yes, believe it or not, some students still do that.) He practically begged for a chance to produce something on his own. God, this kid was refreshing to have around! And he learned fast! Very fast! When he first started doing voice-overs, he had lots of problems. But, he kept at it. He never said die. Now, his voice-overs are great! He's also become a master editor. If I have to do a concert spot, all I have to do is give Todd the copy and he can go into the studio and edit the entire bed exactly to the copy's specifications. All I do is come in and put down the voice. (He even produces that!) Eventually, I let him start producing his own concert spots. I love them! The client loves them! Hot dang, this kid is hot! (To tell you the truth, it's a bit frightening. In my eleven years in the biz, I've never seen anybody learn so fast!)

The best thing about Todd is his attitude. He's always got a smile on his face. He's always ready to help with anything, no matter how big or small. ("Todd, make me a cassette of this spot." "No problem, Den." "Todd, I need you to produce a one hour show called Left Of Center. There's a lot of editing involved. It can be a real bitch." "No problem, Den.") I can't tell you what it means to have someone like Todd around. I pick on him mercilessly, too! I jokingly put him down all day long. He digs the joke -- know what I mean? And, right now, as I write this, Todd is running my department for me. Alone. He just called me to assure me that everything is going fine. God, I love this guy.

Interns. They're vital.

By the by, just as a side note...

Todd Wilkinson is available. He can do it all. Write, produce, voice, edit, you name it. If there are any PD's out there looking for an ace Production Director and disc jockey, someone who's willing to work, has a great attitude and wants to make radio his life, I know where you can find one.

Is this a shameless promotion? Is this using my column to benefit someone I work with? Is this right? You bet it is. I'm proud of Todd. I gave him the ball and he ran with it. Big time. Todd is willing. Willing to move. Willing to prove himself. Willing to show someone how vital he can be. Don't get me wrong. I'd hate to lose him, but there's some deserving radio station out there who would love to gain him. Better act fast or I may keep him all to myself. Call or write me anytime. I am Dr. Frankenstein.... Todd is my monster.