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“The Cut” is a weekly reporters notebook-type essay by an Ideastream Public Media content creator, reflecting on the news and on life in Northeast Ohio. What exactly does “The Cut” mean? It's a throwback to the old days of using a razor blade to cut analog tape. In radio lingo, we refer to sound bites as “cuts.” So think of these behind-the-scene essays as “cuts” from Ideastream's producers.

I'm signing off, but not checking out: It's been nice talking to you

 Ideastream Public Media's Rick Jackson, host of the "Sound of Ideas"
Matt Crow
Ideastream Public Media
After 45 years in the business and two decades at Ideastream Public Media, this is goodbye from Rick Jackson.

How are you supposed to say goodbye to a lifestyle, an occupation, a calling that you’ve spent your lifetime to achieve?

As I enter the waters of retirement this week, after 45 years swimming in the waters of employment – I’m told it’s time to look backward, to reflect on successes achieved and also on what could have been done differently, even what could have been entirely avoided (as if I’d plan to do it all again someday).

 "Sound of Ideas" managing producer Amy Cummings with host Rick Jackson sit behind a table with TV cameras pointed at them during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in 2016.
Ideastream Public Media
"Sound of Ideas" managing producer Amy Cummings with host Rick Jackson at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in 2016.

Interestingly, the things I’m most proud of don’t have to do with radio and TV at all – 41 years of marriage, fatherhood to a remarkable man, faith in God, and being dependable to people who needed me. But that’s outside the realm of what working at Ideastream Public Media and broadcast outlets prior have meant.

It does seem odd to me that this phase of life concludes with my full-time gig being as a radio host, when the ambition from childhood was to be reporting on camera. But then again, my first-ever job (1978) was also in radio, because it was initially hard to break into television.

From there followed a travelogue of broadcasting life, two radio and six TV stations in West Virginia, Memphis, Cleveland, Charlotte and Philadelphia – four years at CBS News in New York, and then a departure from commercial broadcasting for the journalistic diversity of public broadcasting.

And with this stop came a richer discovery of what local journalism can be. Discussions that have not just meaning, but depth. The opportunity to make real differences in people’s understanding. The impact that words have across the community, and the idea that broadcasters are teachers too.

What I’ll miss are the regular interactions. Not only people who have worked closely alongside me, but the students who watch “NewsDepth,” the guests who frequented both “Ideas” on television and the “Sound of Ideas,” on radio, and the many folks I shared time and stages with at events I’d moderate, programs I’d host, debates I’d arbitrate or even just people I’d bump into at a concert, play, film or game.

Note that it’s only a retirement, it is not goodbye. I’ll continue to be involved in this community we love, keeping my hand in the game as asked, serving on boards, volunteering – things that keep one vital.

Leaving the “Sound of Ideas” is bittersweet. But I look forward to this next chapter with gusto – and without an alarm clock.

"The Cut" is featured in Ideastream Public Media's weekly newsletter, The Frequency Week in Review. To get The Frequency Week in Review, The Daily Frequency or any of our newsletters, sign up on Ideastream's newsletter subscription page.

Rick Jackson is a senior host and producer at Ideastream Public Media. He hosts the "Sound of Ideas" on WKSU and "NewsDepth" on WVIZ.