Tuesday, January 21, 2014

As promised...

I felt it very important to explain to you...those who cared about Rush Radio and its purpose...what happened back in September 2013, that resulted in my being off the air and led to my separation with WTKK. First and foremost, I do have health issues that qualified me for short term disability. I had my spinal cord stimulator surgery coming up but I'd been having trouble with my hands going numb. There's obviously a cervical disc that needs repairing, so I'll be out of commission for a while. I could leave it at that but it wouldn't be the whole truth. I believe you deserve as much truth as possible. You gave the show your loyalty and I wouldn't dream of treating you so disrespectfully. 

First, I want to tell you that, despite what many jocks feel, I never had a problem with Clear Channel. I worked for them in Tampa-where I led the morning show to second place in women in 3 years. Not to shabby for a first morning show and being a girl lead, to boot. I worked with (and filled in for) Glenn Beck and shared the mornings with Bubba the Love Sponge down the hall and the MJ in the Morning Show, who ruled Tampa in ratings for well over a decade. You know him now as Todd Schnitt. I also got to work with Dave Reinhart, Gabe Hobbs, Randy Lane and Chuck Morgan; four of the most gifted men I've known and who took me from 'Disc Jockey' and shaped me into a real radio personality. 

(May you rest peacefully, Dave. Thank you. You are missed.)

From Tampa, I took our morning show to Minneapolis, where we bit the dust. It was there that the lesson Chuck Morgan taught me-and that I'd promptly forgotten-came to kick me in the ass. "Never Violate the Expectations of your Listeners." It would be the LAST time I made that mistake.

Yes...I know this is reading like a memoir but, dammit, it's MY site and MY story...so there!!! ;)

Back to NC, a short stint with the company that gave me a start in radio-Curtis Media-and then Rush Radio. I was ready for another win and I would have it...but it would be too short. Too damned short. 

The first man I met was Ken Charles. Ken was dynamic and he knew what great radio was and how to get it out of you. Ken gutted me my first week on the show. The original host-a guy named Bo-quit two days into the show. KC, who had been hired as a producer from his part-time job in Minneapolis as a phone screener for another talk show host, was put in place. We were going into a break, when I said "Jesus could kick Mohammed's butt." 

I thought it was funny. Ken did not. 

Ken SHREDDED me and I cried all the way home, while calling Ken every name in the book. But even then, I felt-as I still do now-that I would work for Ken a thousand times over. He's that damned good. He mentored us through the first year of the show and taught me a great deal. Clear Channel promoted him to a VP position. He deserved every bit of it.

The second person I met was Clear Channel's Rush Radio Greensboro GM, Kim Pyle. She was incredible...she was the female version of my boss, Dick Harlow and I deeply regret not getting to know her better. She is what I've always considered myself to be...the last of the good ol' broads. We're women who are capable but demand chivalry. At least, that was my impression of her and understand...the good ol' broad title is the highest 'award' I would ever give a woman. Considering how I feel about women in general (that's what my NEXT post will be all about-trust) she ranks high on the list of how women in business should behave. That is "I don't expect you to GIVE me anything...I'll work my ass off for it...I don't mind." She really is 'beast', as my 10-year-old, Austin, would say. 

CML public service announcement: I'm sure the 'ass-kissing' label is being used generously at this point and you're more than welcome to slap it on me as many times as you like. But I'm NOT wasting time speaking negatively about the people who were dishonest, arrogant or so afraid of being fired they couldn't make a sane decision. I don't waste time on that...I owe it to the people who helped me and believed in me. THEY are the people who deserve accolades and I will damn well hand them out. That is all.  

The next person I want to talk about, as his story is relevant to all of this-is Dick Harlow. Dick was my GM. He is incredibly charismatic, charming-and, at times, a hothead who scared the shit out of me when I was on the receiving end- with the proverbial heart of gold. He ran a tight ship; he was also the rare manager who knew that you couldn't manage employees the same way. He quickly learned what worked with whom and used it to the company's advantage. I thought the world of him AND his wife....also one of the 'last of the good ol' broads'. I genuinely loved the both of them.

Case in point: One of our regular listeners got shipped out to Afghanistan. I asked him to keep in touch and was thrilled when he did.  We talked via email and I found the unit could use some entertainment in the form of music and cd's, which Dick instantly approved.  I insisted my friend tell me what he and his unit ould enjoy most and their request was simply 'coffee'. It was Dick who handed me a credit card and told me to get what they needed and ship it. Because of him, I was able to send 20 big cans of coffee AND two coffee machines! He did the same thing when I asked for items for different charities I was always involved in and never questioned it. He believed in the community and demanded we be a part of it.

 Dick was one of the rare GM's that understood the complicated dichotomy between programming and sales. The bottom line is that radio is a product. Radio stations can be built or destroyed by patronizing or attacking advertisers. It's not a big secret...the Libs know it very well and while we despise them, they managed to bring Rush Limbaugh to his knees. Remember that. If we could organize and be that effective, you'd have solid, Conservative radio on in every radio market. But we're NOT organized. Nor are we impassioned.
We've become apathetic and we're reaping the punishment. We'll continue to suffer until we are thoroughly whipped and we decide to either step up or give in and lick the boots of the Progressives.

Damn. Didn't mean to head straight to CML...IN WRITING!! HAHAHAHA

Back to Dick Harlow...I respected him. He made Rush Radio successful. He never hesitated to encourage me, inspire me or rip me a new a**hole when I needed it. Dick was scary when he was mad...but he was one of the few men in charge that could excoriate you and then it was over. He would always end any meeting...informal or not...with his standard "Now, get outta here." If you learned your lesson, you would think it completely forgotten. Dick had numerous meetings with KC and me. You won't be surprised to learn it was due to  our constantly butting heads. Typical morning show crap. At least, it was typical the
first year. By year 3, we were ALL getting tired of it. But more on that later.

In January of 2013, Dick was fired by Clear Channel. No one gave us a reason, but rumor was...and this is RUMOR, mind you...that CC got tired of Dick telling them 'No.' In short, Dick had made the Raleigh cluster one of the most profitable in the company. Our cluster was successful because Dick had the cahones to SAY no, when necessary.
He knew what needed to be done and HOW it needed to be done because he knew the Triangle, the Triad and upper management didn't. Clear Channel is a little top heavy; meaning there are a LOT of managers: Area, Regional, Market, Division, etc. and management was always changing, it seemed. But regardless of the
'why', the fact remained that he was there, then he was gone. I was devastated. Absolutely disheartened.

Months later, we would eventually get George Allen as our GM and though we didn't work together long, I can tell you he is a very smart man and a good man. I hope he's successful. He's the kind of guy you root for because he's got a lot of heart. 

Now, as you know, there are things I cannot get into. I wish I could. The primary reason I wasn't on the air after  September 17th was due to my health. The reason I stayed on the website is due to them having to hold your job open for a specific amount of time. That's all. 
When Clear Channel and I discussed what I wanted after being released from medical leave, I did tell CC that I couldn't go back into the same situation: the morning show atmosphere was toxic and that I believed there was no way the show would ever be effective with the behind the scenes drama that I simply couldn't think about dealing with while healthy-much less returning from two back surgeries and a progressive auto-immune disease.

In short, KC and I HAD a great morning show at one time...it's too bad that only one of us knew it.

At the end of the day, Clear Channel and I had an amicable separation.  They were fair and I feel they made the best decision they could in such a situation. I am deeply grateful to them and I appreciate the opportunities they offered me over the years. 

The thing I'll miss most is you...the people who faithfully gave their support and embraced the show. If there's anything that really hurts...that really cuts me to the core...it's that you and I lost a valuable spot on the air that gave validation to the Conservative cause and support to people that continue to lose their voice against this administration's attempt to subjugate the people and those who wish to revise history as well as our Constitution. 

But the fight isn't over...it hasn't even begun. When it does, you and I will stand shoulder to shoulder and we'll win...or die trying. 

E Pluribus Unum