Tuesday, November 09, 2010

My Last Day

Today...is my last day at AFN. Truth be told, I'm sad. Roxette's "Joyride" is playing on my radio from AFN Naples's AFN "The Eagle"
I think the lyric..."enjoy the joyride" really describes my last three years here at AFN South's Network Production Center. Today doesn't just mark the end of my tour, but the end of my time with an organization that I believe best fits me. Some would tell you my blood runs AFN. Tell me what other job in the world allows you the opportunity get paid while having fun? (Please keep your comments clean)

On any given day, I get to: spend four hours playing music on the "Only Station Serving America's Best!" anchor a newscast, produce a radio/TV commercial that highlights what is important to the bravest men and women in the world, travel the globe to tell the military's story to the world, and be a part of a group of talented and motivated broadcasters....all with a kick-ass Luchador mask on! Just saying!

I remember coming over here and telling my wife, "the good thing is there won't be much travel with this job!" The first time I met my new boss was at a Thanksgiving dinner and he told me, "I hope you like to travel!" There was a period of time where I was averaging 10-days a month on the road. Many of my friends and family members where jealous of me because I was going to Africa A LOT! The problem is...where I was going...was not the "good" Africa. Thankfully, other than losing 10-pounds every time I went, nothing else bad happened. Not the case for my good friend James Allen. In his attempt to cover all of the fantastic work US Army Africa was doing on the continent...he got malaria.

Two of the coolest things I did while here were traveling to Africa, and covering the events surrounding the announcement of SSG Sal Giunta being awarded the Medal of Honor. (Click for Video)

I leave behind the best boss I've had in 20-years, a team of dedicated professionals, and a shit-ton of stories and memories. Mark my words...this IS NOT A GOOD-BYE! It is an UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!

Now I'm heading to the Defense Information School to be an instructor. This will be yet another journey for me. I look forward to the next set of stories and memories...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Talking To Girls About Duran Duran - Intro & Chapter 1

In "Talking To Girls About Duran Duran," author Rob Sheffield takes you on trip back in time to what I think is the greatest decade of music...THE 80's! Sheffield uses references to the songs he was listening to on the radio to help explain how life was for a boy growing up during this "tubular" time. NO Hot Tube Time Machine needed...only a playlist from your past.

Each chapter of this book has a song title which relates to a particular point in time. Chapter 2 "David Bowie - Ashes to Ashes" describes Sheffield's relationship struggles with David Bowie. Although he admits, Mr. Bowie had no idea about their friendship, lack of friendship, friendship, lack of trust...well you get the drift.

The reason for this blog is about what Rob Sheffield talks about in Chapter 1 "The Go Go's - Our Lips Are Sealed." Rob describes be raised by all sisters and dreaming of being in the Go Go's as the only male member. Kind of weird...because I grew up with all girls (sister and cousins,) and we all pretended to be the Go Go's. I of course wished I could be a "real" member.

The chapter continues by suggesting your identity is based on what station you listen to:
"When you're a kid, every step in identity is marked by a step in music. You were totally defined by which station you listened to, graduating from the kiddie station to the teenybop station to the grown-up stations."
How true...how very true! My first memory of the radio was with Rick Dees in the Morning, on KISS FM! Sadly, Rick doesn't do morning radio anymore. I also remember spending a lot of time listening to "The Greatest Songs on Earth," K-EARTH 101. However, my defining moment of "Identity" came when I went past 101 FM, then past 102.7 FM and landed on 106.7 FM....KROQ! What is a Plimsouls? Is the lead singer of Missing Persons really only wearing plastic wrap? Why are the singers of Duran Duran and Depeche Mode wearing make-up...they're dudes? Many questions, many memories, definite "IDENTITY!"

So...what stations shaped your identity? Feel free to comment!

PS...Just in case you didn't know...I'm a huge Duran Duran fan. I remember getting into a huge fight with my friend William Brown over them. You see, William had blonde hair and I have brown hair. William always got to be Simon Lebon, I was forced to be Andy Taylor. I wanted to be Simon soooo bad that I hit William in the stomach and told him it wasn't fair that I didn't have blonde hair. I then told my dad (we lived in Louisiana at the time) that I wanted to dye my hair blonde. Oh the look on his face was priceless. I'm sure he was thinking:
"What kind of (insert insensitive, derogatory, sexual orientation term) are you!"
I never did get my hair died that summer...but when I moved back to California, my new step brother Sean cut my hair the way I really wanted it. He called a "Californian Mo-Hawk." My mom called it a "What the Fu%&!"

Monday, August 02, 2010

20-Years And Counting, A Journey of Service...or...Working For Half Pay

This picture is a funny stab at how many perceive the Air Force. Of course, there are other pictures with the same caveman for the other services, but this one is appropriate...because I serve and have served in the Air Force for the past 20-years. My road has had several turns in it. Starting from day 1. Do the quick public math, and my first day was 2 Aug 90, the day Iraq invaded Kuwait. I have spent my entire career at war. With each passing year, my commitment and the Air Force's commitment to said wars have increased. So, how is it this loud-mouthed, Southern-Californian, free-thinking, guy not only served for 20-years, but has kind of thrived in this environment? I really don't know exactly, but I do know many people have helped me along the way.

I didn't joined the Air Force, because I had done my research, and wanted nothing more than a sterling AF career. Rather, it was my only affordable option. I graduated with a 3.63 GPA and wasn't even in the top 20% of my class. Combine that with the fact my family didn't have enough money to pay for college, but made too much to qualify for grants/good loans...and it was off to the Air Force. For the record, there were only two reasons why I chose the AF; 1) My dad served in the AF, 2) It was BY FAR the easiest service to serve in. (But not for long!)

I joined the Air Force in hopes to see the world. Bright-eyed and eager to serve my country in any location...the Air Force sent me to Northern California...TWICE! Hell...the second time, my mom, step-dad, step-brother and his wife moved to the same place. According to my Travel-Buddy map, I've seen 19% of the world in the past 20-years...with exciting stops in hot spots like: Liberia, Iraq, Bosnia, Slovakia, and Cote d' Ivoire. Oh...and some real hard duty in places like: Croatia, UK, Germany, and France.

I had the pleasure to spend time in a one man-life raft, eat maggot and bunny soup. I was convinced I was lost on the North Korean boarder during a survival training exercise. I re-enlisted at 80,000 feet. I interviewed Toby Keith...twice! Hell, I was just in Esquire magazine. (Story not posted yet) I met the love of my life...had chicken on the Iranian boarder...flew a T-38...launched men to 100,000 feet at mach 3+ and they returned...read "One Fish, Two Fish" about 20 times to kids in three countries...got a letter of reprimand for being naked...taught yoga in a room full of M16's, M4's and 9Mil's...taught yoga to wounded warriors...and have made friends from every walk of life in every corner of the world. It has been a blast...but I didn't do it by myself. That is for sure.

Obviously, and justifiably, I can credit all of my success to my wife Shelly who has shaped me into a credible person...and while everyone I've met has made an impact on me...and I have made a ton of life-long friends along the way...this part of the blog is more about professional impact. When I think about the people who have made me the Airman I am today...six people come to mind:

MSgt Ed Cotney: Msgt Cotney taught me the value of shooting for the stars and being prepared. I sat and watched Ed make other supervisors and section leaders look like fools. Not because he was brazen or harsh, but because he was prepared and always asked for more than he needed, knowing he wouldn't get it all...plus when money was on the table, Ed had already spent it.

TSgt Kevin Wagner: TSgt Wagner taught me that it was OK to have fun at work...and boy did we. Due to federal statute of limitations I can't go into full detail all of the "FUN" we had, but suffice to say we sure as hell did. Kevin somehow got this surfer boy who had no business being anywhere near a "survival" situation to be a moderately competent survival instructor. PS...I still think I could build a two-foot high fire in five minutes. The only thing Kevin couldn't get me to do was jump out of a perfectly good plane.

The Wonder Team: SrA Mellissa Allan, SrA Dan Bellis, SrA Yoel Lienwand, SrA Sunny Tanecka, SrA JC Spiva, and A1C Adam Winston: These were the first broadcasters I had the opportunity to work with. I showed up as a brand new SSgt and these guys were and still to date the best and brightest I've ever worked with. They put in long hours every day...not because their boss made them, or because of poor management, low manning levels...but because they wanted to be the best at what they did. They were studs...even if there were one or two Christmas trees destroyed in the making of a top-secret video.

SSgt Chris Vadnais: Chris is the smartest, most talented human I've ever met...possibly in the universe. For a hot New York minute...I actually out-ranked him. Today, he is a SMSgt select...destined for Chief. Chris motivates me every day to be better at what ever I do. While we've never worked in the same office, or country at any one time...I've teamed up with Chris on several major projects that have hopefully made an impact on the broadcasting career field. Chris is an innovator when it comes to training techniques. He always is looking for better ways to do just about everything. By standing next to him, you will easily gain 10-20 IQ points. If you're lucky enough...he might even write you your very own Hip-Hop song about Malt Liquor.

Major Melinda Morgan: My Air Force Mom! Major Morgan with one sentence changed my life. I had recently been diagnosed with ADD and had somehow totally messed up my back when she told me the following: "Oh Chris...you should really try yoga!" Today, I've been medicine free for more than three years, and I'm a yoga instructor with plans on being a full-time instructor when I retire. You were right about Baron Baptiste! Namaste my friend.

MSgt Mark Haviland: To me, MSgt Haviland was the complete package! Equal parts leadership, knowledge, inspiration, and charisma. Mark once told me he wasn't in the business of hitting singles, rather home-runs. After that...I was hooked! We spent many hours plotting how social media would impact our career field, and how we should stay ahead of it, and incorporate it. You should check out some of my earliest blog posts. One of them actually did shape our career field. It is Mark that I hope I am most like.

Over the past 20-years, I've spent the majority of my time training and sharing knowledge with others. I've been fortunate to be in positions that allow me to lead, train and produce all at the same time. As I close in on the end of my career, after countless "Chris Eder Tip of the Day's," I will transition to the Defense Information School to be a full-time instructor of tomorrow's "home-run" hitters for the next couple of years. Many of you surely can recall dozen of my catch phrases that I've used over the years, but the following really captures my spirit. I hope it captures yours.

Simple five step plan for just about everyone and everything
1. Go, make something happen.
2. Do work you're proud of.
3. Treat people with respect.
4. Make big promises and keep them.
5. Ship it out the door.
When in doubt, see #1.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Brand New Mashup...Or...Look Out T-Pain

I've always liked to mash things up. Mostly potatoes, but I also remember I use to mash ketchup and mustard together to dip my fries into. I also enjoyed mashing as many ingredients as possible together to make new and better recipes. Most of them failed. But, that's not the type of mashing I'm talking about.

According to Wikipedia: a mashup is a Web application that combines data or functionality from two or more sources into a single integrated application. The term mashup implies easy, fast integration, frequently done by access to open APIs and data sources to produce results that were not the original reason for producing the raw source data. An example of a mashup is the use of cartographic data from Google Maps to add location information to real estate data, thereby creating a new and distinct Web service that was not originally provided by either source.

Well...what happens when you mashup TV news and the ever popular - AUTO TUNE???
Wonder no more!

I'm not really sure if I like the news better with or without the auto tune...but I think I might like the application of auto tune better on the news rather than on music. For the record...I DO NOT LIKE AUTO TUNE MUSIC...but Auto Tune The News...I do like.

What I'm really impressed by is the quality of work by these would-be journalists. The edits are clean, the pacing is fantastic, it is funny without being forced. Take a good look stale-journalist, maybe you can learn something from this???

Remember if you love the music from the 80's and 90's, become a fan of my show...Eagle Gold
...and if you live in Europe...be sure to be a fan of Eagle20

Friday, February 13, 2009

Years In The Making!

Well...it finally happened.  I've officially outlived many of my peers!  I want to thank everyone past and present who have made me the person I am today.  The day was nearly perfect.  I wish more people from my past would have been able to make it.  I spoke about only three of my mentors from the past...mostly because I thought my 8-page speech was already too long.  But really, I just talked about MSgts, since that is the grade I was being promoted to.  I don't have the speech with me right now, but if you'd like to read my thoughts on the importance of being an NCO, send me an e-mail and I'll send it to you.  Here are a few pics from the day.  Enjoy!

Top Leftt: MAJ Bryant preparing to re-affirm my oath of enlistment.  Almost every pic of me, my eyes were closed.
Top Right: My boss, Retired Navy Chief, Keith Boydston making me an honorary Navy Chief.
Bottom:  The entire family tacking on my new rank.  Ollie and Maddy were happy to be able to "hit" me.

Me trying to read my speech.  I had to skip the first page.  It was all about Shelly and the kids.  I was in tears from the first word.  Shelly said she was happy I skipped it, because she started to cry too.  Ollie was more interested in his awesome shoes with flames on them.  I wish they fit me!  I think I would look cool in flame shoes.
That is Daddy Eagle...aka, Bill Hickman...friend and mentor giving me "much love."  The best part about promotions...CAKE!

We are doing great living La Dolce Vida in Italy!