Thank you so much. This Epic Weekend In Pictures involved so many memorable highlights that I truly appreciate and will never forget. So many times generous friends new and old moved me to happy tears. This weekend was our big annual spring food drive that we call Backpack Snacks For Kids. Every single town in Sussex County has kids below the poverty line, which I didn't know until my friend Carol Novrit informed me of 5 years ago when we started doing this program. Backpack Snacks For Kids is absolutely one of my favorite things we get to do every year. Every November we do our Stuff The Bus Food Drive the week before Thanksgiving. While that experience is so important and helps so many local families, it honestly isn't unique. By the holidays, most of us are thinking about giving, and most radio markets do food drives before Thanksgiving. Our spring food drive, Backpack Snacks For Kids, is absolutely unique. Everything we collect stays local, benefitting The Sussex County Division Of Social Services Food Pantry (which is always fun to try to say in ten seconds during our radiothons, LOL.
I can't even tell you how many times folks would approach me at our radio station table set up at Weis Markets in Franklin and Newton, and say "How can I help, what do we need? Okay awesome and by the way thank you for doing this!" Not only are so many generous, I swear I think we get thanked more for this than almost anything else we do all year. I met so many new friends this weekend. Saturday I was representing our 103.7 NNJ station at Weis in Newton and made so many new friends. Heidi, who's a diehard listener to our stations during her daily commute to Denville. She donated a trunk full of snacks for kids! One listener showed up who was having a bad day. She had been working all day and forgot her sunglasses and could barely see. When she learned of what we were doing, she gave me the last $11 she had in her purse. She explained "a few years ago, my Dad kicked me out, I had to live on Ramen and it was terrible. I want to help that not happen to someone else." I could go for days about all of my amazing new friends I met this weekend.
Behind the scenes, Friday afternoon we had a bit of a Covid-19 scare. This past year has been so tough on our radio industry, many companies have had so many rounds of layoffs especially to Promotion Event Teams. It's been tough, and you can of course understand no matter how painful, simply when a radio station can't do an event, it can't support having an event team. With these challenging times, our Promotion Director helped show us how to use our sound system equipment on our own without Promotion Team help. Friday afternoon, we later learned that her poor boyfriend tested positive for Covid.
It was right when I was getting ready to go meet up with friends at The Cottage for a Friday Happy Hour beer. Well, that changed those plans of mine immediately. Instead of going for an ice cold beer and getting a pizza to go, my plan shifted to staying in, and ordering Domino's pizza. Not exactly the most Epic start to a Weekend, right? I stayed in eating pizza, watching college basketball's March Madness. It was the first time Rutgers University made March Madness since 1991! Let's go!
Saturday I was originally scheduled to be off, but with our Promotion Director having to temporarily take herself off the field in an abundance of caution, this meant time for me to work. I went to Weis Market in Newton to represent 103.7 NNJ. Behind the scenes I'm Program Director for our 3 iHeartRadio stations here in Sussex County, New Jersey. With my Pet Of The Week now being simulcasted on NNJ Thursday afternoons, it was a natural fit for me to represent us. The support was fantastic. I had so much fun meeting so many new friends. We made great progress in Newton Saturday for sure. So many were so beyond generous, and appreciative of everything we do. The gorgeous spring weather certainly didn't hurt people's spirts either.
Saturday afternoon after work I had a mission to relax, watch skiers on my deck with an ice cold beer and a stogey. I bought a nice IPA from Czig Meister, brewed in Hackettstown, New Jersey and got my Romeo Y Julietta cigar from The George Inn. Perfect. One of my very favorite things is to just watch skiers and snowboarders at Mountain Creek on Granite Peak from my deck. How many places in America can you be lucky enough to watch skiers and snowboarders from your deck? This winter I couldn't do too much of it because of our nearly 3 foot snowstorm, it made snowbanks too high to even see them. I knew this would likely be my last chance to relax and watch them. The people watching comedy of the conversations people have on chair lifts is always entertaining too. It's amazing how much energy my mountain has during ski season.
Saturday night, operation staying in continued. I cancelled plans to see some of my best friends Saturday night. I even cancelled my plans to go for a walk with Awesome Girlfriend Megan. I explained to her, even though I'm still feeling good, it's not worth it to take my mask off and hang out with anyone for the next several days. I would rather be safe than sorry. I said "Meg, if I just cancelled my plans to see my friends out of caution not wanting to risk spreading anything, I ABSOLUTELY don't want to put you at risk either!"
It worked out well that at least I could get entertainment from watching skiers and snowboarders from my deck, and enjoy watching March Madness. What a beautiful thing. All year long, you couldn't pay me to watch a college basketball game. Just not my thing. The second March Madness starts however, I get hooked. Every single year. I actually try to avoid doing brackets, so that way I can enjoy without a vested interest.
Sunday morning, back to work. This brought me to Weis Market in Franklin. More and more showed up to help and thank us for all that we do in our community. It was so rewarding.
At one point, I'm alone at our radio station table. Our radio station starts playing Dolly Parton's '9 To 5. We have it loud and proud of course like we always do. All of the sudden, I see a few big biker guys walking by giving me a double take look. I joked on my Instagram story (cheap plug alert, @SteveAllanRadio) it was #ThatAwkwardMomentWhen. Nothing like getting a look from some biker guys while your station is blaring Dolly Parton. Comedy gold.
Not even 5 minutes later, the biker guys started to approach me. I figured they were going to be busting on me. Instead, they started asking about what we were doing. I explained to them our food drive, and they immediately said "oh perfect we will go fill up TWO grocery carts right now." We started talking more, and they asked how often we do these food drives. I told them we do these food drives every November and March. They asked if there are ways they can help even more year round. These guys are amazing.
Shout out to my new friends, Warlocks MC - Sussex County, New Jersey.
Sunday afternoon I had a feeling it would be my last chance all season to watch skiers on my deck. I purchased two cigars for the occasion. For 2.5 hours I was on my deck just relaxing enjoying watching skiers and snowboarders on a beautiful spring day.
Sunday night Rutgers University Men's Basketball team took on Houston. Houston was favored by 8.5 points. Going into the game I said I'm proud of how far Rutgers came no matter what. Then they went into halftime tied. They were up by 10 points with 6 minutes left, but just ran out of gas. Houston came back and won. It would have been easier if we just got blown out like everyone predicted instead of leading the game then losing!!!!!! All good. We're still so proud of Rutgers progress. As you may know, Awesome Girlfriend Megan went to Rutgers, works for Rutgers, and all 3 of my future stepdaughters either have attended, currently are and/will attend. I see the bright red R in my sleep basically.
Overall, we had a wonderful weekend even if it didn't go originally as planned. I hope you had a terrific weekend. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my Epic Weekend In Pictures. Time to start planning next weekend.