A Christmas Story

From guest blogger, Bill Cochran

Some people consider this the season of miracles. I wouldn’t say the story I’m about to tell qualifies as the real deal. But I have to admit it sure felt as though there was more than luck involved.

Twenty-five years ago this month I was sitting alone with Bono in his tour manager’s hotel room holding a microphone for him so he could recite a Christmas poem for my radio station at the time. We’d been asking artists to create personal holiday recordings for us to use during the holiday season, and although the artists were often willing, it usually fell on my shoulders to come up with some suitable story or poem for them to record. In Bono’s case, I knew it was a unique opportunity to catch this rising star before fame made him even more inaccessible. When the call to show up at his hotel came through, I found myself feeling the material I had tucked away in my bag wasn’t equal to the occasion.

As I drove downtown to the Hyatt where the band was staying, the thought crossed my mind to stop in a bookstore I knew of in New Town. Casting about from rack to rack, my eyes fell on The Penguin Book of Irish Verse, and I flipped through its pages thinking that surely Jonathan Swift or William Butler Yeats or even James Joyce must have something to say about the season. Then toward the end of the book my eyes rested upon a poem that made my heart skip a beat. It was titled “Driving to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve” by John F. Deane, and it spoke about the holiday and the celebration and that very human longing to connect with something that transcends our existence.

That’s the poem I presented to Bono. (I’m glad to say he loved it.) That’s the poem



I later sweetened with my production for broadcast. And through an exchange of messages I had with the poet himself earlier this month, that’s the poem I discovered he had somehow gotten a copy of and is featuring proudly on his own website these many years down the road. (Click the link and hear a bit of my production work for yourself.)

John Lennon famously said “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I can’t explain how I came to find that perfect poem for that unique moment in just the nick of time. I can only look on with awe at how sometimes things come together in ways we can’t explain.

Wishing you a moment or two of wonder this holiday season.


Bill Cochran is one of the preeminent voices in our industry. Clearly, Bill can also write. I’m honored that he allowed me to share his talent with my readers. On top of everything, he’s a great guy.

Please check out his web site, and when you are searching for a fresh voice for your station, call Bill. (847) 942-7978 or email at: cochranaudio@comcast.net

You won’t be disappointed.