On the day before Thanksgiving, one of the stations in the group I work for, news-talk WTDY, announced a format change, and eight people lost their jobs.
I have been fired from radio gigs in the past, although I was never part of a conference-room mass execution. I’ve made that stunned walk out the door and back to the car, where you sit there in the silence trying to get your brain around what the fuck just happened. I felt that way walking around the building on Wednesday afternoon, even though I still have a job.
I knew and liked everybody who lost their jobs at WTDY. A number of people from our college days together believe that Sly’s career is mostly the product of good luck; in fact, he’s one of the hardest-working and most-principled broadcasters I’ve ever known. Crystal, Shawn, and Amy are the kind of professionals anybody can learn from, even an old dog such as I. Dylan, Lindsay, and Deana put heart and soul into their work every day, and I admired their dedication. I only knew Sly’s producer Morgan well enough to say how-ya-doin in the hallway, but I know how much Sly relied on him every morning.
Some of these people have been through this kind of thing before; others have not. Radio jobs are harder to come by than they used to be, and it’s possible that some of them might end up doing something else to pay the rent. But others, the radio lifers, will find a new job at another station, because ultimately, being in radio, no matter where you are, no matter who you work for, is like being in love with a bad girl. Once she’s got her hooks in you, she can batter your heart however she chooses, and you’ll take it. Plus, you know there’s a good chance she’ll break it entirely one day.
And after she does, you’ll swear, for a while, that you’re never going to love somebody like that again. But you will.