After 14 years, I’m leaving 98.7 KLUV.
Rumors aside, I’m not retiring. I have a freshman in high school; I can’t ever retire. Ownership simply declined to renew my contract. It’s a business, and I understand. My last show will be Sept. 14.
My departure began with exiting the morning show a year ago. Though also not my choice, it was the right thing to do. Before that, my blood pressure regularly measured 210/110. Heart disease runs in my genes. One night, I prayed to be around to see my daughter start her life as an adult.
You’ve heard the expression, “Be careful what you ask for.” God’s answer was that I no longer had to get up at 3 a.m. I can’t quibble. One year later, my blood pressure is 120/70.
During the transition, management asked me to develop new content for the station — which I did. One concept was the all-request “Saturday Night Special.” I was soon getting calls from all over the country, from Brooklyn to Honolulu. Another was the interview show “Dusty Attics,” which is the most worthy thing I’ve done professionally. I still believe there’s a home somewhere for both.
Regarding what to do next, I’ve had discussions about children’s books, and I’m working on a screenplay that tells a story I sincerely believe the world needs. We built a backyard recording studio. There have been conversations about returning to TV. I’m invited to speak at or emcee events dozens of times a year. I love the theater and the stage.
Podcasting has also been suggested, and there’s my website. Most of all I’d like to teach at a local college. I’ve spent decades around people paid not to listen. I’d like to be in a place where people pay to do the opposite.
I’d especially like to thank so many of the colleagues I’ve enjoyed spending time with for nearly a decade and a half; their names are in the longer version of this on my website. To all those co-workers who found me intense and uncompromising, I understand. The reason has always been the people upon whose shoulders we stand, and I apologize for the occasions when that was the only thing I thought of. I know no other way.
To the many advertisers who supported the show, thank you isn’t enough. All the interview guests, the charities and causes who thought we could help — and the listeners who helped us do so — allowed us to do something much greater than merely playing tunes or giving away tickets. You gave us the means to serve.
Most of all, thank you to the listener. One thing I learned from Ron Chapman long ago is that we don’t have an “audience.” We have a listener. We speak with one person at a time. I saw you in my mind’s eye whenever I turned on the mic, and I will see you if I’m fortunate enough to stand before a mic again.
Watching from the studio as evening falls over the traffic below and city lights twinkle is an incredibly magical thing. You put on those headphones, crank the volume and feel the rhythm, knowing that you’re playing the soundtrack to someone’s life, hoping that it carries them away from their burdens and cares. There’s nothing else like it in the world. I’m eternally grateful to have had the opportunity.
More than a few kind folks have told me I’ve “got this.” Actually, no, I don’t. I never have.
But I trust the one who does.