Adios, (Radio) Mediageek

I spent my New Year’s eve in somewhat bittersweet celebration with my compadre Paul Riismandel, otherwise well-known as the Mediageek. After seven and a half years of doing his Mediageek radioshow, which had been syndicated on more than a dozen stations in North America, Paul’s decided to hang up the mic.
Having done both the daily and weekly radio grind myself, I know how it can eat at you after a while; and when you’re heart’s not in it anymore, it’s time to move forward to something else. It’s how I ended up in graduate school. At least for me, my “radio kids” are still alive and growing with new parentage, but in the case of the Mediageek radioshow, it’s truly the end of an era.
Paul and I met and became friends primarily because of our mutual love of radio, and the magic of radio production has always been a touchstone. We’ve traveled the country just to transmit. Although he’s still the adviser to Northwestern University’s radio station, WNUR, it’s not quite the same as getting behind a board once a week and letting rip. He’s also not the first of my radio buddies to step away from the transmitter this year.
However, in a ritual very appropriate for the moment, we had to fire up WNUR’s airchain to make the last show go, and returned the frequency to static once it was over. I don’t think it was ever really possible to do justice to what the Mediageek radioshow has accomplished in a single episode, but we did our best (Paul sez the extended version of the last program will be posted later).
It’s not like the Mediageek’s dead, either: he’s hoping to devote more time to both of his blogs, his paid-writing column gig, and a book project, among many other things.
Though my CV will suffer, I do have a doctoral degree to finish this year, and then perhaps I can publish as much as Paul does. The radioshow archives will remain online as an historical witness to an interesting period of time in the flux of media democracy in America, and thus will remain forever useful. Although the act of ending the show was sad, I’ve never been prouder to call the Mediageek my friend.