To go to my NPR web page, click here...
This has audio segments, stories, links, etc
The Perils of Wind Socks
Copyright 2008 by Cap'n Fatty Goodlander
NPR correspondents often face unusual challenge... so when circumnavigator Cap'n Fatty Goodlander (The Log of Wild Card) needed a wind sock in Borneo he knew he'd have to ask his wife/navigator/seamstress Carolyn to custom-sew him a wind-whistle inhibitor onboard their yacht. The only problem was finding long-nap fake fur. Despite touring every fabric shop in Malaysia and Brunei they came up empty-handed. Suddenly a lightbulb lit up over Fatty's head. He grabbed Carolyn and dragged her down to the local toy store.
"Teddy Bears!" he shouted to the startled Islamic salesgirls.
It was immediately apparent that a number of the stuffed bears would be perfect for the task. "I could lop off the legs of this one," said Carolyn excitedly, "or even amputate its arms!"
"...and if we need more," agreed Fatty, "we could just disembowel him!"
Then they looked up into the disapproving eyes of the scarf-covered Muslim salesgirls...who where obviously thinking with disgust, "Yes, Westerners are sick, sick people... " (End)
Radio, NPR and Me
In the late 1980s I was having a swell time as a Caribbean writer---but not exactly getting rich.
This, despite the fact that I was selling four stories a week... year in, year out. (Yes, that's right... I sold over 200 newspaper and magazine articles per year for almost ten years!)
...anyway, I decided I needed more money---and looked to radio because it would use my same communication skills and yet not be anything like the heavy-lifting of writing.
So I borrowed a tape recorder and attempted to make a five minute 'demo' of a marine radio spot called SEA WATCH. This is not easy. But I did it... a million times... until I thought it was okay.
I brought it down the largest, best, highest paying radio station in my country (USVI) and demanded their station manager listen to it. He did. And then he called his Radio One WVWI sales director in, asked him if he could sell a marine show... the sales dude said no... and then station manager handed me back the tape.
End of story.
...they didn't even say thanks or nice try.
That would have been the end of my radio career... except that a few weeks later they hired a hot-shot from the Big Apple, a guy named New York Johnny, and he needed to make his mark in sales... without any track local record... or any good prospects because the other guy who had been there for years... and all the good sales accounts.
New York Johnny, however, noted that they didn't have any marine shows on WVWI... and there was a large marine industry in the VI... so he told the station manager, "We should have a marine show," and the station manager said, "Gee, there was a Cap'n Flabby guy here a week ago... who pitched us a marine show... but we figured we couldn't sell it. If you think you can sell it, Johnny, I'm sure that guy would be happy to come back and..."
I was hired for $150 per week to writer, produce and be the 'talent' for an hour long Saturday morning show called The Marine Report with Cap'n Fatty.
I knew nothing about radio.
The sales guy wasn't pleased... not at all.
Nobody in the studio had a vested interest in the show becoming a success. It was just more work without any more money for everyone. More than employee person wanted the show to fall on its face.
They led me into the sound studio... and I was told, "If you screw up one of the machines or overdrive a speaker... or forget to turn off an amp... you are FIRED!"
I tried to produce a show while figuring out the giant, 230-input sound board. About 2 AM (my first show was at 8AM), I almost cried. But, since I had been a professional actor, I decided that I'd just 'pretend' to be one of those horrible, jerky radio jocks... and managed to get it on tape, sort of...
...and had a successful 17 year run.
...even sailing around the world... without the show ever being even one nano-second late.
...at one point I showed back up at the studio after, like, four years ago... and I didn't know a soul... and everyone keep saying, "No, Fatty's not here... he's sailing around the world!" as I screamed, "Damn it, I'm FATTY!!!!!!!!!"
Since I was always off sailing, I didn't do my show it the studio... it was a 'remote' show and the financial catagory they paid the DJs was under talent... thus my weekly pay check read 'remote talent...' which my wife though was a perfect.
Finally, after almost 18 years, I shut down the show when my station was sold for the third time. (I was invited back but couldn't get the assurances I needed to be confident my sponsors would be happy... so, instead of risk having it turn into a bummer... I shut it down and kept it pure joy).
But about 12 years into this show... or about eight years ago, I told Carolyn, "Gee, radio is kinda fun! I think I'll see if I can get involved with NPR."
I did exactly that. Numerous times. No luck. Zero. Zip!
Again and again I sent tapes and promos and demos and PR packets... to no avail.
Years went by.
I didn't give up.
I would go to parties and say, "Hey, are any of you bastards from NPR by any chance?"
If I happened to bump into a wealthy person (as I yachtsmen, half my 'bum' friends are rich) I'd immedately ask, "How'd you like to give NPR a million bucks with the string attach that I get my own radio spot?"
Of course, people thought I was nuts. And goofy. And stupid.
Which, of course, I was.
...still nothing from NPR... which was, I'll admit, beginning to irritate me.
So I started telling people, "Hey, did you hear I'm gonna have a radio presence on NPR... as soon as I can get over one tiny hurdle... which is... they don't know it yet!"
After eight years of silence from NPR, I really started to get silly... telling bus drivers... cops... and creeps... about my NPR woes.
...then I was doing an interview with Kitty Martin at Cruising World... and told her that I was going to... that I desperately wanted to get involved with NPR... and told her my silly, demented, pathetic attempts. I thought I was just being funny and clever and way-cool... and was horrifed and astounded (and maybe pleased, too) to read the final interview... which had me begging like moron for a nano second at the microphone of NPR.... and how I'd wow-wow-wow them if given the chance.
A few days after that interivew hit the stands, a producer at NPR called me and said, "...where have you been all these years, Fatty... you're exactly the guy we've been looking for! In fact, this summer we'd like you to do a series of 'sea gypsy' travel spots..."
The rest, as they say, is history.
After eight years of trying, I was an overnight success.
On the Air at Radio One
At the Radio One WVWI station, USVI
Recently on NPR I had a spot about a Muslim orphan hugging me... here's the actual pictures of it happening... life is strange, eh?
It is such moments we live for.
This entire web page (except where noted) is copyrighted by Cap'n Fatty Goodlande