Radiogurl a la Carte

Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2005
Boring Lesson on Radio and Cactus Stuff

Luciab asked me yesterday what an underwriting manager does; underwriting is simply the FCC's word for advertising/sales on public radio stations. The only difference is that in addition to the handicap of being low-power FM, you're required to adhere to a list of "don't" rules in underwriting. Some potential underwriters won't talk to you on that basis alone. What's ironic is that some of the most successful advertising campaigns in history don't break the rules.

Remember the Hillside Singers, back in the dark ages, caroling, "I'd like to teach the world to sing...?" The commercial was one for Coke and absolutely everyone who turned on the television in that time frame knew all about it; but didn't give you a sales price, didn't tell you flat out to go buy a six-pack of sugar-laced acid strong enough to dissolve a two-penny nail in days. Nope, it was just this little kum-bye-yah ditty that only mentioned Coke in a couple of lines.

It's a testament to the weirdness of radio that in the Christmas card I got from someone, Santa is decorating a saguaro cactus and he's accompanied by what looks to me like a leprachaun:

Santa Cactus

There's another anomaly in that picture. (I mean aside from the little details like reindeer in the middle of the desert and the roadrunner and jackrabbit bearing Christmas balls.) A saguaro cactus, contrary to what that picture shows, is HUGE. We're talking fifty feet tall and potentially a couple of feet in diameter. The smallish ones range over 20 feet in height, and by the time they've got that many arms they're pretty darned well toward the direction of humongous. Or, as her-story puts, it, "ginormous!" Though they do start from glossy black seeds about the size of a pinhead. (And no, I'm not talking about George Bush's pinhead. I mean the actual head of a straight pin.) The prickly pear cactus at Santa's feet are a little more accurately drawn, though they're still smaller than reality. A prickly pear cluster can have a main trunk that's several inches around and the mound can be six foot tall. Most of what you see, though, is probably around knee-high.

Doesn't matter. I still thought the card was cute, if a bit odd.

Incidentally, there are no saguaro cacti in the part of the state where I live. They won't survive at this elevation, which is just shy of 5000 feet.

Saguaro cacti are considered an endangered species. They're sprinkled across the Sonoran Desert, which in turn sprawls across southern California, Arizona and the western portions of Sonora, Mexico. What's disturbing is the change in density of the desert giants. There are arguments over whether the population's been dessicated by pollution or if they're simply in a cyclical decline and will bounce back. In some areas it's been profound enough that even I can see the die-off in the thirty-plus years I've lived in the state.

End of biology lesson for the day. I know in reason I have to be boring some or all of my readers to tears.

Unfortunately it also needs to be the end of the entry, because I think my bookkeeper's here and I have to yield this computer to her.

Before - After

In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )