WHEN YOU’RE TALENTED ONE DAY, THEN THE NEW BOSS COMES IN THE NEXT…

…So I was approved by the owners of the new radio company, who met me and agreed I would be a great fit for mornings. They put me on two stations, with a potential audience of 17 million. No pressure! The boss believed I could improve ratings by being who I was, and once he hired me he told me in no uncertain terms to ignore any advice I got from anyone else in the building about topics, etc.

Keep in mind that to do the job in LA, I had to drive down there every week, a drive of 600 miles. I had a teeny corporate apartment that I stayed in a few nights a week. I would do the show from my house in Vegas on Monday through the magic of technology, drive down to LA after the show, do Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from LA and drive home after my show on Thursday, and do Friday from my house in Vegas. Luckily I was always against traffic on the 210, so the drive was only about 3 1/2 hours. I honestly didn’t mind the drive, because I’d listen to books on tape, catch up with friends on the phone, etc. 

I wasn’t about to sell my home and drag my husband and dogs down to LA unless I was certain things would work out, and although they offered me a longer deal I only signed for a year, assuming that if things worked out I’d ask for a raise and then we’d consider moving there. 

Presto, change-o! Then they hired New Boss to oversee my Old Boss, and that one only liked Hannity and Levin radio. No slam to those talented millionaires but that wasn’t the job Old Boss had described. I had known New Boss for years from the radio industry, and knew he had a track record of success, so I wasn’t worried at first, but didn’t realize that he seriously only wanted ONE kind of radio. In every market. And it wasn’t the kind I did. 

NEW Boss’s favorite line was, “There are issues, and there’s fluff”. Nothing most people can actually relate to. In other words, C-SPAN, policy lecture, read-stats-out-of-a-laptop (boring, predictable, talking points) radio. I asked him once in a meeting: “So if I’m up all night with my dying dog, which is far more relatable to our audience than anything on the Drudge Report, that’s not a legitimate topic?” “Right.” 

What confused me was the fact that I had been told something completely different by everyone in the company, all the way up to the very top. If you wanted “issues only”, why not just keep Glenn Beck? Why bother paying a local host (or hosts)? So the people who hired ME before New Boss, suddenly thought I was incompetent because New Boss said so? Yep.

It might seem obvious, but as a local host your job is completely different from the BIG guys. If a local show is just going to cover national topics pulled from Drudge, why not just throw on a syndicated show and call it a day? And in my case, did I mention that I was hired primarily because I was NOT “Daily Outrage Radio”? I mentioned that, right? That will become important in the story.

New Boss arranged a professional ‘shotgun wedding’, where I was suddenly paired with unemployed friends of New Boss, one of whom had never done a daily radio show and one of whom was fresh out of rehab. This is Market #2. (I could say a lot more about those two, but they aren’t important). 

Silly me – my contract did not stipulate that I do the show solo. I should’ve thought of that, but it never occurred to me, because I had been solo hosting in Vegas for FIVE years. 

I was in for a roller coaster ride. Oh, in case you’re wondering what happened to Old Boss, who thought I was so great he spent two years wooing me, he was busy trying to save his own skin, so he hid under his desk and acted like he didn’t know me. I tried to talk to him to find to what was happening, but he wouldn’t even meet with me. 

I’ll never forget the day, about 8 weeks into my one year contract, when I realized it was O-V-E-R. I was driving in the middle of nowhere, and the New Boss called. Among other things, he said, “And if the (newly added) boys are talking, don’t feel like you have to interrupt.” WHAT??? This was supposed to be MY show! Now my participation is considered an “interruption”? I realized it was OVER and I had a lot of months left on my contract….

 

(Excerpt from “Don’t Pat Me On The Head; Blowback, Setbacks and Comebacks in Vegas Radio.”)  Available at Amazon.com

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