The process begins early January.

As I have explained to my children, it’s like riding a roller coaster. The coaster slowly begins the incline and clicks its way to the top of the ride. It stops for a second, falsely giving you a sense of safety. Just when you think it’s ok to look around at the beautiful scenery way down below, you are like the ski jumper in the Winter Olympics shooting out of the gate. You suddenly feel like the family pet sticking their head out the car window, tongue wagging in the wind with salvia spewing uncontrollably everywhere. You don’t know whether to laugh, scream, cry or say the Our Father.

That’s exactly how I feel when planning my family’s Wavehog annual Media Music Jam. It starts molasses slow in January, but quickly and almost quietly escalates to level F5 tornado by June. The event isn’t until June 23 at the Crystal Palace. So why do I bring it up now?

I thought you would want to know more about the people you invite into your home or car every day on the news, radio or read about in the newspaper. We have 28 “media personalities” who have said “yes” to perform at this year’s Media Music Jam. They are the television news anchors, field reporters, weather person, radio DJ’s, writers or people of considerable stature whose name you will easily recognize. I call them all “media personalities.” By the end of the Media Music Jam, I will hopefully call them our new family friends.

So what is the Media Music Jam? It’s a concert where Thee Majestics are the back-up band for “media personalities” who perform live before a sold-out Crystal Palace. All the proceeds financially benefit cancer patients who reside here in Kern County. The Kern County Cancer Fund is the recipient of the concert proceeds and help patients who can receive cancer treatment anywhere. The only requirements are they have to live in Kern County and demonstrate a financial need.

Everyone donates their time and considerable talents to the Media Music Jam. Everyone. And almost to the person, everyone involved has been touched by cancer. A family member, a friend or a work associate has been devastated by cancer … everyone … including my family. I lost my bride of almost 40 years to cancer several years ago.

I am always amazed at the hidden talent of people you would recognize for many things but never for their musical abilities. “Newbies” always have the same response when I first ask them to perform. “I can’t sing or dance”, they proclaim. “That makes you perfect for the Media Music Jam”, I explain.

Media Music Jam rehearsals began last night in my home. Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, Bakersfield Police Chief Lyle Martin, The Bakersfield Californian’s Robert Price and KGET’s Danny Freeman and Alexander Fisher showed up with different levels of humility, shyness and confidence.

We never know what to expect when new “media personalities" show up for rehearsals. Our quite fear is that it’s similar to seeing a picture of a new baby. You always have to be polite and say that they have a beautiful child. In this case, we would have to say how well they sing but maybe they could contribute better by playing the tambourine instead. By the way, it’s never happened. Well, maybe just once.

No kidding, these guys can really sing, as I am certain will the many other “media personalities” performing. Media Music Jam isn’t Kern’s Got Talent. It’s about the many media personalities who will show up for rehearsals, agree to perform and for one night, forgo their egos to financially help those in need and on their cancer journey.

The Media Music Jam roller coaster ride is slowly clicking up to the top.

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