He came from a large, religious family. He was known as “the Bishop’s boy,” and his family moved a dozen times while he was growing up. In fact, they moved so often, and sometimes so abruptly, that he never received his high school diploma, even though he finished the requirements for one. It was finally awarded posthumously in 1994.
His ancestors were among the earliest settlers to America, arriving in 1636.
At an early age he and his brother showed a talent for structural engineering, for fixing and building things. They built a printing press and published their own newspaper.
He never married. He spent two years caring for his mother as she was dying of TB, mentioned to show you a bit of his character.
He died at the age of 45, one of the most famous people in the world.
Wilbur Wright, and his brother, Orville, are generally credited with “inventing, building, and flying the world’s first successful airplane,” so he knew something about risk.
He once said, “If you are looking for perfect safety, you will do well to sit on a fence and watch the birds; but if you really wish to learn, you must mount a machine and become acquainted with its tricks by actual trial.”
What does this have to do with you?
You and I are in a business that has become increasingly risk-averse.
We don’t play a song without testing it first, mistrusting our own ears and instincts and experience.
We are so afraid of tune-out that we restrict what we allow our air talent to say and when.
We even avoid risk in the creation of the liners we force them to read, mainly repeating what every other liner on every other radio station says.
Don’t rock the boat. Keep your head down. Play it safe. Do what you’re told.
But you will never know what you might have been if you don’t take a step off that ledge of sameness and safety, with faith that your talent will provide the support you need to keep moving forward.
And you’ll never know the impact you may have on one individual life if you don’t take the risk of speaking to that one individual life.
Radio today is a safe harbor for those too afraid to risk failure; in fact, you’ll be encouraged, promoted even, by doing what’s always been done.
If you have nothing of interest or substance to say, you’ve found your destination.
But the price for that safety is the drab grayness of mediocrity.
You may not fail, as failure is defined by our business today, but you also won’t ever really succeed.
Radio offers you a stage, and stages are meant for performers, for entertainers and artists. It was never meant for this kind of bland pablum that is universal today.
If you have talent, how can you willingly surrender your unique gifts to the false hope of not losing your job?
If you have something to say, a perspective unlike any other’s in your town, how can you not voice it?
So, what will it be for you?
Safely sitting on that low fence, in constant fear of falling, or flinging yourself off the ledge, daring spectacular failure because you know you can fly?