4/25/2012 9:38:00 AM
Yes! They have trusted me with a blog. Maybe this job is going to work out after all! I thought I might take this first blog to give you a bit of personal history. While it hardly seems like it, this year marks my 40th doing this for a living. I can’t imagine doing anything else, but as with everything, it hasn’t all been a pleasant joy ride. Of my time in radio, over 2 stints, 14 of those years have been at 630 Ched. After some training ground at some small market stations, I came to Ched in the spring of ’74. I was so nervous about working at this “big market” station that I actually broke out in hives the weekend I arrived. I wound up having to go to emergency at the then, General Hospital, and get some medication. I’m sure the operations manager must have wondered what he had hired, when I met him for the first time on that Sunday afternoon and sat across from his desk constantly scratching. The hives eventually settled down and I settled in, but it was a rough start.
I tell you this story only to encourage you if you have a difficult boss to work for. I did not work directly for the operations manager, but had a program director over me. His method of management was intimidation and to crush any self-esteem you might have. Almost all program directors I’ve worked for have waited until I got off air to critique the show and point out short comings. This guy would constantly call during the show telling you what an idiot you were and questioning what you did. I wasn’t the only new comer at the time, and he did that with all of us. You could always tell when he was on someone’s case. They would go from having a decent show to sounding like a nervous wreck. Some didn’t make it. Some left or got fired. It was the only time during my career that I thought I might not want to be doing this and should maybe just head back home and go ranching with my brother. I eventually had to make a mental decision that I would tough it out and see what would happen. Fortunately for myself, and the other new guys we had a very astute general manager at the top. I’m sure you’ve heard of Jerry Forbes.
Jerry was the opposite of this guy; not just encouraging, but he seriously considered his staff as part of his family. He started to key in on the nervous twitches we were all developing and soon figured out why. One day one of my fellow new-comers came back to the station from the hotel across the street and he was jumping with excitement. He had been at a booth in the restaurant and, I know this is bad, had eavesdropped on a conversation Jerry had with a head office official. Jerry had told this man that our program director was a poison who was bringing the staff down, morale was bad and that he wanted the program director gone. Within a few weeks, the deed was done.
Here’s the clincher. I got called into Jerry’s office. I really was pretty bad, but Jerry didn’t point that out. Instead he told me he believed in me, thought I had potential and wanted to give me a chance to prove myself. He was going to take me off the all nights and weekend shifts and give me noon to three, weekdays, a pretty prime shift. You may have guessed who used to do that shift. Yes, it was the old program director, the bane of my existence. I held the slot for five years, then took over mornings in 1980 and I have been doing mornings ever since. God has been good. So, if you are in what seems like an unbearable situation right now, don’t be too quick to give up. You may never know. There’s a very good chance you may have a “Jerry” who is watching and will show you what a difference a little encouragement can make.