Nothing Lasts Forever

If you’ve ever been a freelancer, or known one, in any field, you understand that clients come and go. Just as every coach in professional sports is hired so that he can be fired one day, every freelancer who lands a new gig knows that it’s going to come to an end one day.

My favorite freelance gig ended last week.

One fine day in 2008, I got an e-mail from a guy I didn’t know, asking if I’d be interested in contributing to a new website that would be going live in the next few weeks. It was for the new incarnation of the old WNEW-FM, New York City’s pioneering album-rock radio station, which would be heard over the air on an HD channel in New York in addition to streaming online. CBS Radio, the station’s parent, wanted a lot of new content on the station’s website every day, and they wanted me to write some of it.

Over the years, I never got a satisfactory answer regarding how they came to hire me—a bunch of people involved in the project were apparently talking about websites they liked, and somebody was a fan of this one. After I sat on the e-mail for a couple of days, trying to decide if it was some kind of Nigerian e-mail scam geared to radio geeks, I accepted their offer, and I’ve been at it ever since—until last week.

This is not my first rodeo, so when I got word that CBS was shutting down the WNEW site, it wasn’t a shock, exactly. I am sorry to lose to lose the rare opportunity of being able to write whatever the hell I want and get paid for it, and to perform my Green County shitkicker routine in front of a large audience. The people I dealt with—CBS guys, the blog’s editor, fellow writers—were great to me. But nothing in radio lasts forever.

Because I was posting every day (sometimes twice a day), it was necessary to work ahead. That means I have a few things in the can that won’t see the light of day over there, so I can share them with you here. You’ll start seeing that stuff later this week. A couple of the leftovers are installments of regular features I was writing for WNEW, and I may keep those features going at this site because they’re fun to write. Plus, since the readership here is used to my gasbag tendencies, I can go on a little longer than I could at WNEW, where I tried to keep things to 300 words or less.

This post is pushing 450 words already, and that’s enough. More later in the week.

5 thoughts on “Nothing Lasts Forever

  1. Sorry to see the WNEW site shutter but I’m glad to know you’re considering keeping some of your features alive here at the homebase. The Bottom Five column is naturally a favorite of mine, as a student of Billboard’s soft white underbelly. Keep your feet on the ground et al!

  2. True dat: clients come and go, a truism all freelancers have either learned the hard way, or were – as in your case – smart enough to know that eventually, either on your terms or theirs, you will part ways.

    Enjoy the bit of extra “free time” this provides you; keep writin’; and best of luck in whatever the next project is for you.

  3. In 2008 WNEW also approached me about writing for them. I declined because
    they were only going to pay me $10 per post and at the pace I write articles
    my compensation would have been about $3 per hour. Still, I liked the site,
    read it regularly, including your stuff, and I’ll miss it.

    1. J.A. Bartlett

      One of the benefits to being an inveterate gasbag doing piecework is that you can ring the register more often.

      If I ever start another blog, perhaps I’ll call it “Gasbag Doing Piecework.”

  4. Yah Shure

    Sorry to hear about the demise of the fun, paying gig. May a new opportunity present itself in the near future.

    I must admit, though, that I constantly needed to be reminded to go over to WNEW, if only because the stories you have to tell actually do benefit from the gasbaggification process.

    Carry on.

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