Thanks and good-bye
Final sign-off for the daily Tom Taylor NOW Newsletter.
Time to leave the virtual Press Box from which I’ve had the privilege of watching the game (the radio industry), and retire. Thank you for following me over any part of the past 31 years, from Kal Rudman’s FMQB to Inside Radio (the first time, under founder Jerry Del Colliano and president Steve Butler from 1989 to 1997). Then M Street Corp. with Robert Unmacht (1997 to 2002). Inside Radio (the second time, now owned by Clear Channel, from 2002 to 2007). Chicago-based Radio-Info.com (Diana and Rick Fleming). And since November 2012, RTK Media. That’s Robert Unmacht, Kristy Scott and me. I’ve greatly appreciated the journalistic freedom I enjoyed at all those places. (And thanks to the GMs and owners who accorded me creative latitude in my years as a PD, 1971 to 1987.)
Last Friday’s issue was the last full NOW newsletter.
For me, it’s time to slip out the side door, before my knees get too creaky. There are some pressing family medical situations, and my family needs more of me. I know I’m leaving many important story arcs unfinished – the iHeart Chapter 11 situation and how it emerges with new muscle...whatever Lew Dickey’s going to do with the $200 million-plus at his “blank check” company...and Entercom’s aspirations to become a full co-leader of the industry, alongside iHeart. From the three partners of RTK Media - thanks for your support. We’ve had a blast.
Just in – Nielsen has a year-end “data processing” snafu with December-book PPMs.
If you got the Day 1 ratings email from this NOW Newsletter on Wednesday and the Day 2 email on Thursday – just chuck them. Nielsen will re-issue both Week 4 for those two dozen markets, and also the full monthly book that covers November 8 through December 5. What’s more, Nielsen has postponed delivery of the Day 3 and Day 4 markets that were supposed to be released today (Friday, 12/28). That also means postponement of their Week 4 numbers – so it appears there are issues across the fourth week (November 29-December 5) in all the electronic-measurement markets. When are the re-issues coming, and when are the delayed deliveries to be re-scheduled? We don’t know yet. But this NOW Newsletter will be sending the corrected Day 1/Day 2 markets when they’re available, and the Day 3/Day 4 markets as they’re released. For Nielsen, end-of-year turns out not to be business-as-usual.
You know how at the very end of the credits, some movies give you a bonus scene?
We’ve got four of those, below (four new stories). And a thank-you to every NOW Reader who took the time to share a favorite radio story, over the years of “No Names, Please” and “You Can’t Make This Up.”
Honest, Officer… – Brian Wilson (formerly of New York’s WABC and Z100, etc.) says “Almost anyone who’s worked morning drive knows the nightmare of oversleeping. In my B104 Baltimore ‘Brian & O’Brien’ days, one morning I leaped into the car, put the pedal to the metal and roared down I-83 toward the Beltway. Yep, flashing red and blue lights in the rearview mirror. After a very large Baltimore County Police officer took my paperwork, he stopped halfway back to his car and made an about-face. ‘Are you the Brian Wilson on B-104? Follow me. I can take you down I-83 to your exit. You're on your own from there.’ I arrived behind the mic just in time. Two weeks later, I overslept again. This time, the officer was waiting outside my house. He said ‘We decided to keep an eye on you. Follow me, same drill as last time.’” Brian’s new book (“50 Stories: 50 Years In Radio”) is on Amazon.com now.
Brush with greatness – Bill Gardner has a story from Philadelphia’s WIBG – “One day my future wife Michaeletta came to pick me up after work, and as we drove away, she asked ‘Who was that man in the lobby with the beautiful eyelashes?’ After that description, I had to think really hard to come up with the correct answer. There was only one guy there. I told her ‘That was [world heavyweight boxing champ] ‘Smokin’ Joe’ Frazier.’”
Brush with (presidential) greatness – Frank Boyle says “In 1952, I was assistant advertising and promotion manager for GE Supply Co. and my boss had me chauffeur Ronald Reagan, then the TV voice for General Electric, to some key dealers. In the car, he told me how he got into show biz as a radio sportscaster on WHO Des Moines, as ‘Dutch’ Reagan. Years later, the national president of our fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi, felt we need some national publicity. His idea was splendidly simple and effective - name Mike Deaver as our Man of the Year. Mike was White House Chief of Staff and arguably then-President Reagan’s closest pal. Eight of us went to the White House to present Mike with the award. Then shazam, the hall door opened and in walked President Reagan and Vice President George H.W. Bush. Reagan joked with us, then opened it up for questions. I said ‘Mr. President, you probably will not remember...’ But he did – ‘Frank, I remember your telling me about my pals, Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart, and how brave they were in air-to-air combat in World War II, like you.’ Then the president said ‘And you were, what, a belly turret gunner?’”
Sometimes you do think of the right thing to say, in time – Al Peterson, now production director of Radio America Network, says “We had just picked up Watergate baddie G. Gordon Liddy at Radio American Network, and during a network break his first week there, he asked me where he could find the men's room. ‘Down the hall that way. But it's faster if you go in and out the back door instead of the main front door.’ ‘Yeah,’ he asked me, ‘but how do I get back in,’ referring to the self-locking exit. ‘Gordon,’ I exclaimed - ‘Just tape the door open. You, of all people!’” Keep telling friends (old and new) your favorite stories. As concert pianist and comedian Victor Borge was fond of saying, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”
Happy New Year – Hope it’s a good 2019 for you personally and the industry at large. As the old phrase goes – Count your blessings. (There are good reasons to be optimistic.) And thanks, from Tom, Robert and Kristy.