My Return to Radio After 12 Year Hiatus - long post/rant

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Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:18 pm

My Return to Radio After 12 Year Hiatus - long post/rant

Post by wiseguyusa » Mon Mar 20, 2017 2:50 pm

After taking 12 years off from broadcasting, I got a Saturday night gig in market #137
Returning to radio is surreal, I did not expect to get the rush from it that I did.
I am back, and I love it again, maybe more than ever. This surprised me... a lot.
So much has changed in 12 years... there is a printer port on the mixing board lol.

When I logged back into AA after years of neglect I has 586 messages in my box.

I didn't walk away from radio in 2005, I stormed out the door and slammed it behind me.
I hated the industry and swore never to return.

The estrangement began in 2000, after Clear Channel acquired my beloved KLOL in Houston the bloodletting began. I had the least seniority and I had been there 2 years. I was the first to go.
When the studios moved from Montrose to the Galleria the station lost its soul anyway, I will always treasure that amazing gig and the fantastic co workers but just like when Stillwater parked "Dolores" and started taking a plane.... there was a dark cloud from that moment on. KLOL is Spanglish now and everyone has moved on.

That "Top 10 Market" gig opened a lot of doors, and I was offered a programming gig in Joplin/Carthage MO #233. My plan was to return to Joplin/Carthage go to school and finish my degree. The programing gig was a bait & switch .The evening drive guy wasn't leaving the morning guy was. I wasn't ready to tackle morning drive AND program 2 stations and that wasn't the job that I accepted. It would be one thing if it was unexpected circumstances and I had to "adapt", but it was a deliberate deception that directly conflicted with my plan to return to school, and tuition that I had paid. My show sucked, the ratings tanked and the gig didn't even last 6 months.To make things MUCH worse, I had 2 year 50 mile no compete, and the owner took my last paycheck out of my account making all of my checks bounce. After losing my deposit, paying bounced check fees, losing my tuition deposits and being blocked from working in the industry for 2 years for 50 miles, I sued. The judge was the owners golfing buddy or frat brother or something, he wiped his ass with my lawsuit. I ended up being asked to testify before the MO Senate about "No Compete" clauses. As a result, I was blacklisted by the Missouri Broadcasters. I would never realize my childhood dream of being on the air at KSHE-95

So I decided to go far, faaaar outside of the 50 mile radius of my no-compete and accept a job offer in Sweden from an ad that I saw here on AA

Loved Sweden, loved my coworkers, the gig was some of the worst radio that I have ever heard much less been a part of. The owner was a super rich trust fund baby who bought a signal, hooked up a mobile DJ mixer to the transmitter, loaded up DALet automation with his favorite music and drove around Gotland blasting his station in his Porshe to impress Swedish chicks. It was a seasonal gig, as Gotland is mostly a summer resort. When summer ended we voice-tracked most of the winter and flew back to the USA. The owner sold the station, and made an "indy" documentary, I haven't heard from him since his self written wikipedia entry about himself was deleted.

Pax was the final straw, I thought that a move to TV might be the change that I needed. I was literally threatened with being fired my first day while training. After about 6 weeks I put in my 2 weeks, and then had to deal with HR to make sure that management didn't retaliate while I worked out my last 2 weeks. I read a few weeks later that a disgruntled employee in another market had walked out and left XXX porn going over the air. While I don't in any way endorse his actions, I can certainly empathize with the anger and frustration that poor kid probably felt.

I did one more brief radio stint in 2004-2005 to fill in for friends so that they could get their vacation in but the thrill was gone and in January after everyone was back from vacation, I left as planned. I could have stayed on part time, but I made it clear when I started that I was just helping them get through the holidays as a favor to friends and would probably not stay on.

I didn't think about radio or TV for 11.5 years at all, I listened and watched, but didn't log in here for 8 years, and the only resume that I sent out since 2005 was the gig I have now. Hirings, firings, format flips, ratings, ownership changes.... I didn't follow or care about any of it for over a decade. Then I won some hockey tickets and decided to drop off a CD & Resume when I picked up the tickets.

Now am I back to the same starrey eyed, in the loop, engaged broadcaster I was when I first started.
and the rush feels new and exciting again.

It is a perfect fit, I love my gig, my station, and my coworkers!
I wish that I would have moved to MI the day I turned 18

I really didn't see this coming.

Great to be back!

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Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:52 pm

Re: My Return to Radio After 12 Year Hiatus - long post/rant

Post by tstone » Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:58 am

Wow, that was a cool story, Wiseguy. Almost as far reaching as mine, as I spent the last decade and a half doing radio as well as TV and some public affairs at mostly overseas posting, with the US Army as a broadcaster (yes, Adrian Cronauer for realz). Now, I'm out, working mornings and nights at two small market radio stations as well as editing and writing for a local newspaper.

I'll be finishing up and earning a military retirement in the Reserves.

The journey continues.

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