Thursday, May 29, 2008

Say It Isn't So

I got a call from a very good friend of mine on Tuesday. This is a guy I used to work for, a saint, a true gentlemen, a great program director and one of my closest radio buds. He called me at a time that I was just slammed with a thousand things to do and I told him I would call him back later in the day...which I never got around to, so I felt bad. "Make sure you call me", he said in that original conversation.
Riding home that night on the Metrolink, I got to thinking what he might be calling about. Certainly, he was going to offer me a gig at a great annual compensation, right? What else could it be? After thinking about it all night and wondering what was up, I returned the call while riding into town the following day. "Hey, bud", I said when he picked up the phone (your first clue on how cool he is, is that he picked up his office phone). "Hey, pal, how ya doing? KMOX treating you right"? Here it comes, I thought. "Hey, I've been thinking, I am looking to get out of the business. Can you help me?" I was floored. He kept telling me how it's all passed him by, how he can't operate in this corporate structure anymore and how he'd rather do something else. This is a first rate PD that has won in major markets and one of the sharpest, most organized minds I have ever known. I gave him some ideas and told him that I felt for him and certainly understood his frustrations with what used to be a business that rewarded talent. It was a fun job to do, where people knew everything about the station and the people who worked there because THOSE people knew everything about the people and the city they broadcasted to. A business where creativity was rewarded by bigger audience shares, then in turn that was rewarded with bigger revenue by a well trained sales staff. When this guy wants out, it confirms to me what a sad pathetic thing we've done to music radio. He punched me in the gut and it hurt. I almost felt bitter most of the day yesterday, I was so bummed by what he told me earlier. I can't fathom where we'll end up.

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