Good day everyone! I wanted to offer up this personal THANK YOU for all the support and enthusiasm over the past few weeks, as I’ve jumped back onto the airwaves. I felt like it was a good fit to do this now, while still being able to grow my employee benefits business and maintain my personal life balance – simultaneously.
Well, I just had one of the strongest growth 1st Quarters ever for Mittan Insurance – even while being part of the team in seeing Biz 1350 launch and start growing too. But it hasn’t taken away from the beautiful life balance I enjoy, outside of work, either. I still have time to be with the people I love. I still get time to play my guitar and sing. And, of course, there has to be time to get out and fish once in a while too. I am SO grateful! The best part? I feel like each of the efforts I’m involved in right now are actually helping make a positive difference! That’s all I want.
I feel so blessed right now for this but even more so for the love, friendship and faith that surrounds me. I sit in awe and gratitude. I will not take it for granted. The last 4-5 years were an extremely challenging and reformative time in my life. The first half of that, seeing all that I thought my life was be torn down and decimated. The second half of that climbing back out of the rubble.
During that climb I have been fueled and affirmed by the most unconditional love and support that my heart could ever dare pray to receive. In hindsight, I can see that those things would never have been unearthed if not for the hard times I had to endure. And even before that could happen I had to first come to peace with God, and myself, and have faith that things would get better if I just stayed positive, humble, grateful for the best of what I had and employed the spirit of a servant – without expectation of return.
It works. I’ve come out the other side. It has left me feeling more empowered, free and at peace with “being me” than at any other point in my life. I feel like a passenger on an amazing ride, not the pilot of my own ambitions. There’s a big difference. And you can get there too. If you are going through a hard time where it’s hard to see the way forward, don’t lose faith that it can improve. And, from my own journey, I’d say embrace the hardship as a cleansing and strengthening process. Believe me, I know, it’s not easy to do while in the fire and fury of crisis or enduring challenges. I was there too.
Here’s the thing though… You can recover and come out stronger, more at peace and feeling a more purpose-filled existence than ever before. I only hope I can pay the insights, the experience, the compassion and the encouragement forward that I have been so fortunate to receive from so many of you.
Before two months ago, I would not have believed you if you told me I’d be right back in the thick of local, afternoon drive time radio. I have to tell you that I’m having more fun broadcasting now than I’d had in many, many years. Perhaps it’s the timing in the community. Perhaps it’s the timing in my own personal life. Perhaps it’s the format of the brand new station. My bet is that it’s the combination of all of these things.
In just the past two weeks, there have been 15 different community guests – from all walks of life, on all kinds of topics and with the full range of motivations and emotions found within the human experience. We’ve laughed. We’ve gotten active on a couple issues. We’ve even watered up our eyes a couple times, together. We’ve reflected back on where we’ve been and have looked forward to where we are going. In short, we are building commUNITY. And it’s exactly why I decided to take the invitation to jump back on a mic.
One of the most exciting, and validating, things so far for me is to see the way people are jumping right in to make it their own. Because here’s a trade secret… I’ve never looked at neighbors tuning in as “listeners”, I’ve look at you as “partners”. What I do doesn’t work in a vacuum. When it’s clicking, and it IS clicking right now, I am more the sail for the community’s wind than a ship Captain. That’s the way a community broadcaster should operate, in my opinion.
So as we continue to press forward, know that I have unwavering respect and appreciation for all the engagement and enthusiasm this amazing region is pouring into this new platform. We have a very rare situation right now, when it comes to large format commercial broadcasting… The airwaves are in the hands of us!
Let’s make it what we dream it should be… together!
Yours in service,
You can listen to Biz 1350 Live Streaming at Biz1350.com or check out “The Matt Mittan Show” Best of Podcasts on TuneIn and iTunes. The show is on Live 4-6pm EST, Monday through Friday.
I’d might as well make it official. I’m returning to the airwaves.
After taking the last few years away from the broadcast world to regroup, refresh and realign some stuff in my life, and to build my Employee Benefits business (Mittan Insurance), I’ve been given the amazing gift of getting to reconnect with – and serve – my neighbors in the way that only strong signal, local, daily, independent, talk radio can afford.
When I walked away from the mic, I really didn’t see – or want – a path back to the platform. But the time feels right. It feels right in my personal and professional life and it feels like the right time in our community. And I feel like the perfect partnership has come together, to do this right.
It’s been increasingly hard for me to just sit back and not engage when I see so much division, so much hostility and so much irresponsibility, by partisans and purveyors of personalities, when it comes to fair and meaningful dialogue. Some of my friends think I’m crazy for jumping back into the fray. But I have hope.
I don’t think I’m alone in my hunger for some unifying space on the radio dial again. I believe we can bring accountability to important matters, without letting it be overtaken by political agendas or titillating controversies, just for the mere benefit of ratings. And I know we can have fun while still being relevant and inclusive.
Fear is an overplayed card these days. The flame of suspicion in one another is given too much fanning. And, there’s too much focus on what divides us rather than what brings us together.
I don’t have any grand delusions of what this new show and new station might be. All I know is that I must try to do something to give us a place where we can gather each day and compare notes – together. We can laugh together. We can cry together. We can learn. We can teach. We can even flood phone banks if need be. But mostly, let’s just be a community again.
That’s why I’m going back on the air. To try and build community. That’s worth taking a stand for still, isn’t it?
Every once in a while I think back to when I would spend summers at my grandparents Maine home. It was a beautiful old house with a big red barn and vast field in the back, extending into the distance. The hard blue of Frenchman’s Bay peeked in through the tall pines that lined the shore. Over to the right, across the bay, were the mammoth mountains of Mr Desert Island. Her wind swept rocky crests stood tall above the cold waters of the North Atlantic, with lush New England forests serving as the back drop of her rugged shoreline. I go back to that place often in my mind, whenever I need an escape, a safe place that offers me peace and tranquility.
Many ‘firsts’ took place there. My first solo adventure, absent of parental supervision and protection. My first genuine responsibilities, that required physical effort. My first time sailing. My first memory of being taught real discipline. My first love. And my first broken heart. I also first started to grasp the bigger picture of family and devotion, sacrifice and loyalty, compassion and firmness, compromise and taking a stand.
These lessons and life experiences obviously developed and occurred in many places and circumstances other than at the home in Maine. There was just something magic about being there. I absorbed and truly understood things more clearly after spending time there. Even at an early age, I can remember sitting alone atop a rock cliff shore, just down the hill from my grandparents house, and having significant epiphanies. I remember gazing out upon the mountainous shoreline, seeing a couple of porpoise swim by, breaking the surface in unison, or a lonely harbor seal poke his head up, with his thick whiskers and large dark eyes surveying what I was doing. The cool salty breeze tickling the pours of my skin, the sound of waves crashing onto the crushed sea shell shore. The fresh smell of old pines, mixed with the tidal wash. The early morning calm, where the ancient bay resembled a sturdy sheet of glass stretching into the horizon. A wall of fog rolling in from the sea so dense and white that you thought it might have solid mass behind it’s edge. These moments were not rare, they were the norm. Comprehension and discernment of life events came easily to me in these settings.
The countless hours our family spent picking wild blueberries, so that Nannie could cook up her famous muffins, pancakes and jam. The late night games of cribbage, UNO and Monopoly around the dining room table with my cousins, aunts and uncles. (We didn’t have TV or Radio readily available there.) The feast or famine joy of Mackerel fishing off the pier. Skipping flat, sea worn stones out at Bennett’s Point. The old duck pond, with it’s miniature duck church. Digging through the mud flats, uncovered by the outgoing tide. The pure shock, disgust and awe I felt the first time I saw my Grandfather shuck and swallow a raw clam. The collective family effort to maintain the large old house and barn, garden and landscaping. Collecting baskets full of chestnuts at the end of each season to sell to the craft folks in town. Sneaking into my Aunt Dottie’s unbelievable Raspberry patch that sat under the ever watchful glance of Cadillac Mountain. The old ghost stories about Capt. Winterbothem, the seaman who built the home in 1860, and whose penciled messages still adorn the interior walls of the old barn, along with each subsequent generations family autographs since – including my own as a child. All these singular events and routines, combined in the whole, helped shape who I am, how I look at life and how I relate with others.
I will soon make the trip northward, bringing with me my six year old son. I’ve played a thousand scenarios over in my head of what I want him to see, where I want to take him, the stories I want him to hear. Will he be interested? Will he grow bored with his old man’s reflections?
There’s a sense of urgency on my part to introduce him to the splendors of the place that served up so much joy to me through the years. The settings and the spirit of the area and the people seem to be fading. The bonds of family seem to be thinning. The sense of neighborly bonding seems to be burdensome to newcomers. I worry that each year’s opportunity may be the last. My son is also growing fast. That is the weight I have troubled myself with. Whether I’m being frivolous or my fears are just, only time will tell. But my heart tells me that it is time to have one last dance with this pristine area, capture its image on my son’s mind and then say goodbye.
A feeling persists that the unity that helped to build and sustain this precious home through the last century may not survive the passing of the torch through the next generation. That would be unfortunate. As a grandchild, now grown, I have little more I can do than to quietly reflect and appreciate the heavenly nature of the place and to offer up thanks that I had the opportunity to enjoy it’s blessings. I hope to pass that warmth along to my son so that he may gain a respect for such natural treasures and so that he can feel the pride of being a part of something much bigger, and lasting, than what he sees at home each day.
I first journeyed there as an infant. I was held on the laps of many family members long since gone. My great-Grandmother, of whom I still have sweet memories of, was born in the late 1800’s. She shared countless stories, hugs and kisses with us at this place and about this place. My own mother, who spent her youth traveling to this northern home, now returns as a grandmother of three. My turn has come to make the trip with my own son, the sixth generation in my nearly 30 year lifetime to sleep within the homes’ hallowed walls.
I pray that we might enjoy, together, watching the sun set on this, my heart’s home, before it is gone. With a little bit of effort and some old fashioned caring, the magical tales of splendor that this home has witnesses and authored will not be surrendered to what Lincoln called ‘the silent artillery of time’, as so many other family treasures have before now.
Each family has memories, traditions and tales that they abandon for a thousand separate reasons. Which of those do you have that you don’t want to die with you? Pass them along to your children and grandchildren. Dig deep for your vaguest recollections and start there. The kids you tell today will remember and appreciate the stories later in life. It means more than just the simple telling of the story itself. It’s family. It offers a personal history. It’s the very foundation that a hearts’ home is built upon.
(Originally published on July 21, 2000, when I made the first trip back as a father. Since the writing of this piece, both my Grandparents have passed away, as well as my father. My first born son serves in the Army and has left home and I have another son, who as of this note, is seven years old. Both my sons have a passionate and eternal love for the home and have a constant gravitational desire to return. The story continues…)
Story and photo(s) by Matt Mittan, Copyright 2013 Posted Up: 7/28/2013 ~ DEDICATED TO FRANK MITTAN
I have wings that have sprung free. Come fly with me.