• Beloved Blogger Robert J. LaCosta

Fame's Price Tag Is Not Cheap


PHOTO: The cover of our school newspaper didn't really tell the whole story.

Part III, The Conclusion…

Radio is all about building your audience and I was all about that!

I cherished my coveted 10 pm - 2 am DJ slot. I crafted the same vibes with my playlist that my earlier “free-form” influences had in their New York City markets. I created the “Love Hour” that became popular with the younger, romantically-inclined college “groupies.”

And then there were the “groupies.”

“Can you play ‘Freebird?’” the young girl’s voice on the other end of telephone would ask.

“Can you play ‘Stairway to Heaven?’” was another popular request.

Us jocks would joke about such requests as we thought ourselves more sophisticated than our audiences. I loved to play anything that Bernie Taupin wrote or that Annie Haslam would sing with the band Renaissance or that The Strawbs were now recording.

It was almost always females calling in. I had become a radio personality and got way too much attention from “chicks.” Eventually, I became the face of the station in my junior year as I served as the station manager.

That notoriety really ramped up when I worked my tail off to bring our annual Radiothon to a new level. I was met with the president of the college, local businesses and tried to get all of the campus behind our push to raise $5,000 for the March of Dimes - no small amount of money in those days.

When you become a “legend in your own mind,” you begin to lose touch with yourself. I was a “BMOC,” a acronym for “Big Man On Campus,” or, as my friends bringing me back down to earth would say, a “Bowl Movement On Campus.” This meant that a lot of people would say “Hello” in passing or buddy up to me because I was popular or want to talk about music and bands.

Such “fame,” however provincial, takes its toll. In my case, my grades suffered as I put forty-plus hours a week at the station. I was now 42 credits shy of graduating with twelve months left. I had drifted from some of my closer friends.

In short, the “personality” had become the person instead of vice versa.

My senior year would be pay-back for selling my soul to a dream as I ended up making up for lost time, got burned out earning the 42 credits and doing drugs and almost lost my mind taking a few bad trips on LSD.

God has a way of letting us drift and He brought someone into my life who brought me to my senses. I was the DJ in the pigpen and He was the Father waiting on the porch. Believe me, it was the longest walk home.

I never did go into radio as a career.

A few years later, I picked up a guitar, learned a few chords and promised Him the only songs I would ever write and play would be for an “audience of One.”

A couple of thousand songs later, I have kept that promise.

PORTAL TO HEAVEN: God gives us talents to open up portals to heaven. This is a solemn responsibility. Any misuse of those gifts can close heaven’s doors for others and create a spiritual ceiling for ourselves.

It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin…When he came to his senses…Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded…Sing to the LORD a new song; Sing to the LORD, all the earth. Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations [now that’s an “audience”], his marvelous deeds among all peoples.…Let them give glory to the LORD and declare His praise to the coastlands [of New Jersey].

Luke 17:2 NLT, Luke 12:17 NIV, James 4:8 ESV, Psalm 96:1-3 NIV, 1 Chronicles 16:23, Isaiah 42:12. Editor’s silly brackets.

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