Chapter 12 - Goodbye Radio

Chapter 12 - Goodbye Radio

Postby Tom Jeffries » Mon May 06, 2013 7:53 am

Julie had become more and more important in my life. It became quite obvious that this was going to get intense. We kept it form the staff. Julie has a Son named Jared, who at that time was just finishing at Vancouver Film School. I liked him from moment one, and we have become solid friends and I feel like he is my Son, anyway. His half sister, Jennifer, is also a sweetheart.

Julie and I lived together for a while and then we knew. Married before, we were both a little leery. The alcoholic in me was being tamed and Julie kindly went with me to the meetings I found I liked them, and my body was really happy that I wasn’t pissing myself brainless. It was a freeing feeling and I had no withdrawal.
What kind of blessing is this? I was so lucky. I also got a Doctor, and therapist, in the bargain. Doctor Pedro Paragas became my Psychiatrist, and he is one reason that I am still here. He is gifted and a very kind man.

Julie is an Aries and I am Taurean, with a Scorpio rising. It takes me a while to get steamed, but it isn’t pretty. Julie says what she means and mans what she says. This was a good mix. I think we started as friends, and grew into each other. In the whole deal comes, her son Jared. Jared is one of these amazingly facile people, that is so well rounded and worthwhile, he is like a son to me. He is a gem. It has been a rocky road for this guy. His parents broke up – he had virus called Myocarditis, a heart virus, which almost killed him.

I lost both my Parents, after I met Julie. Both of my Parents liked her. They had tolerated Gail and Jo Ann, but they liked Julie. Julie is very warm and motherly and in the best sense like Bette Midler. She is about to break into a song, in any moment.
She is ageless and for a woman that is now, of a certain age, she doesn’t look it. She has the nicest skin in the world. She calls it “Cohen skin’. His is supposed to be a big deal.

The kid also discovered a lifelong passion for ‘The Simpsons’ that just waned in the last year and a half. The writing and social satire was very facile and they are to be congratulated on an excellent show. I just got tired of the characters and I am sure it is hard to keep it fresh. Lately I have become a fan of ‘ The Big Bang theory’. Ah, yes, I stepped off the rails

Most of all, I am thankful for Julie and Jared. She became my Wife in 1992. It has been a nice run and it keeps getting better.

Poor woman.

As I walked towards HR, at KISS-FM, I should have known what was awaiting me. In the months previous, Dale Buote, my PD and great friend at KISS-FM had been promoted to take on a new Modern Rock offering, (*which lasted a few months) – Fred and Cathy left and were replaced by a couple named Rob Christie and Val Cole. Chuck McCoy left for greener fields and wait for it, a former executive from Schneider’s meats, Wolfgang Von Raesfeld, replaced him. The new
Program Director was some little blonde woman named Susan Davis. I had never heard of her and she had obviously, being from whatever town she came from, heard of me. I noticed she never looked me in the eye. I had a sinking feeling for about a month. Wolfgang the Genius decided we should have ALL the hours commercials in one block at the :40 stop set- and the music mix at KISS was starting to change to this electro crap, that had been polluting a few other outlets. Hootie and the Blowfish?

What a genius that Wolfie was – he put up a sales chart down by the washroom, and coffee maker on the main floor. Sales were down 12,000 percent, or something ludicrous. It gets hazy – but it came into sharp focus on the day I found out my Traffic reporter, JoAnne Sutton had been let go. I guess it was denial.

I knocked on the door of HR. It was opened by the dweeb that ran the department, and this is exactly what happened after 10 years of service.

“Can we have your Parking Pass please”? I took it off the lanyard, and I was handed a large Manila Envelope. “Inside are the details of your severance”; I was so stunned I blurted out “Did Gary Miles approve this (the big shot that used to run KISS as Uber Boss.)
They said nothing, and asked me if I could leave now.
As I was literally being hustled out of the building, co workers averted their eyes. Only one yelled “They are making a big mistake – you are a great jock….” Boom, out on the street. No car. I walked home.

I got back to a startled Julie.

“Well, that’s what you get when you trust Radio”. Julie had been let go, after nothing but great years at KISS, in 1993. She was thrown away. It was disgusting and it still bothers me, how employers want their staff to take a bullet for the shareholders, while they run and wet their pants, when something real occurs. There are about 5 Radio executives I like, but a lot of them were people, and I wouldn’t shake hands with, without counting my fingers, afterwards.

I will talk later about the good guys and the bad guys – but, I was smarting. I had one year. I knew that at 51, I was probably done. I sound young, but, Radio doesn’t age well – or now it doesn’t, anyway. I had to weigh my options. I had a mortgage, two cats and an unemployed wife – and my savings were already getting savaged. I was lucky to have income from the Family Holdings, but I don’t mind telling you, there were a few Kraft Dinner weeks that we had to endure. My Parents lent me some money – and we managed to struggle along. I went to Langara College and took a highly compressed “Web Publisher” course – that was absolutely terrible – and useless on the job front. I realized I would have to give radio another shot, but where.

I had promised myself that there was only ONE radio Operator I would not work for – Jim Pattison. The reasons are varied – and I am going to leave it at that. Well, hunger makes you do some strange things. I accepted a meeting with Gord Eno of JR FM, the Country outlet, in the City. He offered me weekends, and against my better judgment, I took it. The AM side of CJJR – was am600 – included Dave McCormick and Rick Honey, playing ‘standards’.
Rick and Dave were two of the best-known jocks in Canada, and the news team led by Campbell McCubbin was pretty fair. Chris Coburn, Clay and Karen and the rest of the staff were very nice. It was working out fine, until Rick Honey’s Cancer turned and the poor fellow asked me to sit in for him – the day before he died.

600am – after a nice eulogy, asked me if I wanted to do the Morning show. ( To be dead honest) - every fiber of my being screamed, “NO MORE 3:45 am – PLEASE”). But – I have to eat. I took it.

The worst move I made in my entire career.

Although, Greg Douglas, Campbell McCubbin and Larissa Lindberg, and the staff were great – I really disliked the P.D. Gord Eno, and I just had a visceral distrust of Gerry Siemens, the GM. I get feelings about people and I am pretty good at nailing the people to avoid.

I managed to get 600am good ratings, but it came to a swift end. The Country Radio Consultant, named Jaye Albright, was asked to peruse my show. She waltzed into my control room (that is NOT considered kosher) and presented me with a piece of paper basically outlining how she thought I sucked.

I asked whom the hell she thought she was, as I was trying to work here. She was blasé – and I suggested, politely, we would be seeing each other after the show.

To be honest – I forget exactly what I said to Albright. I think there were a lot of f bombs and worse. This was a tin pot station, run like a third graders lemonade stand – and with equipment, salvaged from the Andrea Doria (look it up).
That did it for me.

I left the stunned Albright in the hall, grabbed my keys and left.

The next morning, I did my show, and walked into the GM’s office. Siemens looked kind of stunned as I handed him the station key and pass – “Get yourself another stooge to work in this place – I quit – and if you have any questions – here is my lawyer’s number – I will never speak to you or your PD again”. I had never quit a job before, but this was just too much. No budget, no advertising, and a consultant - well – you fill in any words you think might fit. (*And they wonder why radio is in trouble).

Two weeks after telling Jim Pattison’s piece of crap station to walk – I had a meeting with a guy named Tom Allen. He was in the Movie Business (a teamster) – but he also ran a website called “Howestreet.Com”. He asked if wanted to try my hand at interviewing people about stocks and gold and investing. I told him that my knowledge was 300 level economics at University – but sure, thanks, why not?

That kicked off some of the most fun and most interesting 6 years of my life. Talk about switching racecars, mid race!

Next time – we learn the word DERIVATIVE and meet some incredible people.
Tom Jeffries
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