The Strange Thing About Bozeman…My New Home
One of the strange things about making Bozeman my new home is the people. The people I have been meeting seem, well, so nice.
I have done radio in a lot of cities: Denver, Las Vegas, Sacramento, and the people there are all kind of similar. Everyone is running around and not enjoying stuff. They are not smelling the flowers.
The only other time I have experienced this kind of "niceness" was in Beaumont, Texas. As a former New Yorker when I got to Beaumont, Texas, I was the Yankee. People would call in the show and tell me I was a Damn Yankee. Not a good thing I found. It was like they needed to explain the South to me. In someways they where still fighting the Civil War and wanted me to know the South really won.
Coming from a major city like Denver and New York City, there was something different about Beaumont. It was a city of about 100,000 people. I began to learn the insults were just a way of checking me out. That was on the radio show, but in real life the people of Beaumont, Texas where just darn nice. I was invited to church. I was invited to dinner. I noticed when I had people over to my house they brought homemade peach pie. I finally realized the people in this small town lived slower but fuller lives. After a while, they shared their views, their fears and their love.
I loved living in that town, and in a few months I was welcomed with open arms. The radio show was great; we talked about what was happening locally, nationally and even internationally. We lived through hurricanes, deaths, births, even joy on the show and even in real life.
I bought a house, got into a relationship, and thought I would die in my new home, Beaumont, Texas. So for about five years we made great radio and I enjoyed the community. I was asked to judge who made the best pie at the fair. This is what I wanted. I didn't want the 5 million people city life thing. The pressure to beat the other talk stations was really hard in the bigger cities. In Beaumont the station owner just wanted good radio. I enjoyed being the morning guy and program director.
KOLE News Radio Fox was a great place to work, and Beaumont was a great place to live.
Because the station was doing so well an out-of-town company bought the station. So by making the station really popular, someone thought they could buy the station, fire all the live people and play syndicated shows. Easy money.
I left Beaumont and found a job very fast at I Heart Radio. It started again, moving to bigger and bigger cities. Radio in Birmingham, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Diego. I was working with people who only cared about moving up. Friendship and living a full life wasn't the most important thing. I fell right into the trap again. Life and being happy wasn't the most important thing. Beating the other station was the most important thing. It worked; the show I was hosting was beating Rush Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh in his own home town.
I knew something was missing. When I Heart and I parted company, all my friends at the station disappeared. It was like I had the a leprosy. So I got another radio job. But I missed my days in Beaumont.
I wanted to leave the rat race and find a better way of life. Thank God it happened. It cost me a relationship with someone who said they only wanted me to be happy but didn't really. I went out on my own. Montana, here I come.
Now I am here in Bozeman and Livingston. I am in Montana. The magic is back. That strange thing I am feeling is kindness, friendship and happiness. You guys in Bozeman have everything you need: a nice way of life, the city is big but not too big. When you want to have a dinner with friends and laugh and hang out you can and no rat race. But wait, we can also live here and even go see Elton John or Bonnie Raitt or Paul Simon. Living in Montana we are able to have our cake and eat it too.
As Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, "There is no place like home." Well, I am home again..