Radio is so much fun! And so. damn. difficult.
Over the years I have been one lucky human. I’ve met the most amazingly talented and wonderful people, and some of the most frustratingly arrogant and condescending. Yin and Yang.
When I got my first radio job in Los Angeles, I had a few bosses, as you do. Looking back now, as a real grown up 😉 they were all actually pretty amazing. There was Ed, the chain-smoking Ops Manager who was just the most jovial dude. I heard he died from lung cancer. And there was Charlie, the completely condescending news anchor who liked ordering us PA’s around; oh I can’t forget wonderful Mark, the writer who couldn’t get his voice on the air. He pinned one of my sentences on the wall with my name on it to shame me. How fantastic.
I moved from that large market to the tiniest market to get my voice on the air and finally become a real news writer, my dream since high school. I met a man there that I nearly married, and another who didn’t like that we were dating so he made up some stories and got me fired. I forgot his name, but I bet my former fiance, who is a fine human, remembers.
Back to the large market I went where I worked at Metro Traffic, for a fantastic boss, who was super famous, so I will leave his name out. But then there was Terry (name-changed for my protection), the obnoxiously full of herself traffic anchor who would yell at us lowly traffic writers on the daily to get her ego charged. Karma was complete when she applied for a job with my company and I reminded her that my 23 year old self remembered how she traumatized us.
Back to tiny town where I met a slew of wonderful talent, one of them nicknamed me “Desert Flower”, hahaha. He was our morning sidekick and HIGH-rious (and talented). But my boss there, was not so nice and fired me. I can’t remember my offense. I heard later they straight up ran out of money. But ya know deflating a young person’s ego and sense of self is so much more fun.
I left the business for a while, because — trauma. So I did what you do in Los Angeles, become a talent agent and meet every egotistical musician you can squeeze into your very full life. I won’t namedrop them, mostly because my stories aren’t shocking, and this is about radio, right?
After 9/11 I couldn’t bare to stay away and had to get back in, ya know like the mafia. My next radio job was entry level writing, which they called “Editor”. I guess I was the first person to finish their writing test so I was hired on the spot. It didn’t mean I was a good writer, I was still pretty green actually. Loved it there, but my boss was a f%&kin insane lunatic (he’s still there, so I’ll leave the call letters out) who nitpicked and bullied, generally made you go home feeling bad about yourself. Perfect.
I just couldn’t get arrested there, so after two years I left again for tiny town. This time, it’s to Big Sky Country. And with a great boss, a mostly wonderful crew, and the random morning maniac who couldn’t get out of his own way to keep his job. Are you starting to see a pattern? I mean it’s truly like many industries, humans are gonna human. #amiright
When we left Montana (and I started my own little network), I was super fortunate to work as an anchor at what’s probably the biggest news network in the world. I just can’t muster up one complaint about it (except the President of the US at the time gave me PTSD, and that’s a whole Oprah show). The managers were awesome, my co-workers were super fun, but there was that one sports dude who kissed my forehead randomly one day, oh and another who stared at my crotch in my bell bottom flares and asked if it was okay to compliment me, he also screamed at everyone, because pressure. #nope
Anyway fast forward to today. I’m talking to a team member at my company who lives in a tiny town herself. She is beyond talented. She probably has more talent in her pinky than most folks have in their entire body. We were working through a promo and bantering when she said “ya, it’s those ‘Napoleon’ markets where egos are the worst!”. Brahahahahah. (I have no other way to respond). I was roaring with laughter. Because ya, I’ve been through it.
This is literally a tiny snapshot, I have enough stories to fill up a novel (or 3). It’s so true the smallest stations have the biggest egos. These people who don’t want to leave tiny town USA, and probably wouldn’t get arrested in the larger markets any, think it’s fine to treat people like dirt under their shoe. #newsalert it’s never okay.
These people we meet… they’re the ones who teach us about ourselves — who you don’t want to be and who you do want to be. I like the sweet spot in the middle #flowstate
Oh, and thanks for coming to my #tedtalk.
I appreciate you.