It’s a funny thing… usually, when I have plenty to write about, I simply don’t have time to do it. So my packed weekend has given me a headful of material for some serious stream-of-consciousness… or at least a few random bits with a point. :)

This past weekend was Night of Joy, that amazing, crazy, sleep-depriving music fest in which the entire Z staff packs up for a weekend at Disney. Part work, part retreat, part pseudo-vacation, it’s really the biggest event of the year, and usually yields enough stories on it’s own. (See last year.)

This time around though, we had the added bonus of the first annual Christian Music Broadcasters Momentum conference, sort of like the GMA Week festivities in Nashville, but in Orlando. The hotel was filled with radio geeks, music promoters, and artists. You couldn’t walk 10 feet through the Coronado Springs convention center without seeing someone that’s somehow connected to this crazy business of Christian music. It was good times… educational, and a chance to see old friends, make new ones, and meet folks that I previously only knew through Twitter, Facebook, and even my old Livejournal days.

I have way too many stories for one post. WAY too many. And frankly, I don’t even know if any of you want to hear them. So here is a quick list, hitting on the highlights. If any seem worth their own post later, then I will devote a whole extra entry to them.

Why? Because the radio person’s motto is “One thought per break!” At least, that’s what my DJ friends say. :)

  • Most of the time, I geeked more about meeting radio and record reps than artists. I mean, musicians are cool and all, but dude, I met the legendary Chris Hauser (a record promo guy that’s been in the business for 20+ years and has a million stories apparently). Wait… I just called a record promoter legendary? Oh dear… I have become a radio geek. (He was awesome though. You would like him. And I’m pretty sure he would like you.)
  • I also met Mike, a LiveJournal friend from maybe 8 years ago. He’s at SOS Radio in Las Vegas now, but at the time of our LJ-friending, he was at Way-FM in Grand Rapids, and I was a little newbie college kid that just wanted to work in radio. Fun. After reading my original blogging attempts, he probably knows more about College Freshman Jen than most of my co-workers. A rather scary thought.
  • But due to this inside information Mike has acquired, I was welcomed into a secret society. I would tell you about it, but I’m sworn to secrecy. Seriously. It’s a secret society people! I’m not even kidding. (Okay, maybe I am.)
  • Favorite performance not on a Night of Joy stage: Needtobreathe singing “Lay ‘Em Down” and “Something Beautiful” in our radio studio with two guitars, a guitar case, and a can of coffee beans. At 8:30 in the morning. And they killed it. True.
  • Favorite performance on a Night of Joy stage: Family Force 5. They were freakin nuts. I had to sneak in the handicapped entrance to get in too. In the words of Jeff Cruz’s mom: “That was better than the circus!”
  • Other favorite performance for completely different reasons: Josh Wilson. Yes, FF5’s polar opposite. But seriously, this guy is amazing live. He does some crazy stuff with a guitar and a loop recorder thing. This is proof.
  • Best surprise: Switchfoot played Rock the Universe, yet they came to a VIP event on Friday and sang a new song for us! I was one happy old-school SF fangirl. <3
  • Favorite NOJ stage moment PERIOD: John Cooper from Skillet making Jeff’s face turn red. He says he wasn’t embarrassed, but… let’s just say, it was an off-the-cuff joke gone awry that ended with Skillet’s frontman doing one-armed push-ups for the crowd. Hmm… that one might deserve an entry of it’s own. :)
  • Bo from NTB walked up to our table at a tailgate party thing specifically to meet Sheila the big fan (who is now pretty famous, since she got a shout out in my past three blogs, right?) and the person that Twittered about her. (me. :)) He visited for a while and was really cool. And then when he left we all geeked out, fangirled, etc.
  • Being there to see my friends Dean and Carol win some well-deserved awards. I almost cried. A very sweet moment with my Z family.
  • Drinking coffee at 2 in the morning with John and Amy DiBiase from JesusFreakHideout. They were sweet and super fun to hang out with. Also, John made fun of my supposed Southern accent. (20+ years in Lake County will do that to a girl.) Thanks dude. I can’t say I-10 anymore.
  • The Legendary Mr. Hauser introduced me to a bunch of radio guys as “my Twitter friend Jennifer Ross!” Me: “Ummm…. that’s not my name. o_O” Him: “REALLY???” This also happened at 2 in the morning.
  • All my best memories happened at 2 in the morning, come to think of it.

So much happens in 3 days. I guess the biggest thing I took away from the weekend was a reaffirmation of how proud I am to work in this business. At the end, when all the goodbyes were said, when we packed our bags and headed home, I felt so thankful to have a job that means something besides a paycheck. I look forward to my work, and even when I’m sick of hearing certain songs for the 548th time, even when I get cynical about the notion of “Christian art” and mixing ministry with business, I know at the end of the day we’re making a difference.

Together. Small ones rippling outward.

It’s a good feeling.

So for me, Momentum was the big deal. Friendships are the big deal. I know now why it’s so important for us to get together, learn from each other, and connect. And I really do love the people I met and feel honored to work alongside them, in all the different roles that keep this music thing going, even states apart.

So yeah. There were a lot of stories that I hope to write down eventually so I don’t forget them. But everything in time…

Now for other sleep-depriving things…
I really need to finish reading North! or be Eaten, because the blog tour is this week. Eep! Expect thoughts on the latest Wingfeather book sometime by Friday.

(Also expect my First Ever OMG Blog Giveaway! Because you know you want a free book. ;))

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