There I was. Mingling at an event hosted by Claudia Chan trying not to think about how much my feet were hurting after being in my heels all day, when someone heard me say I used to work for CBS Radio and wanted to know where.
Within minutes after discovering she was at WODS in Boston when I was at WOGL in Philly we were off on a trip down memory lane as we discovered the many connections we had in common. Each name had a memory attached. A funny story. A laugh. A smile. I was transported to that time when I knew what it was like to know real community in the workplace. When going to work was about so much more than just the paycheck and the benefits. When "people" were still considered an asset to a corporation and not merely a line item. When you could really have a career path - if you wanted one. When you got promoted, the first thing you were supposed to decide was who you were grooming to take your place when you got your next promotion.
Selling radio when I started was boot camp training for understanding business in general. I was trained to be a "marketing consultant" not merely a salesperson. I learned to listen to clients and figure out how my station could solve their problems. I learned how to write copy and create promotions. I had to learn just enough to be dangerous about how a multitude of industries operated. It was where I learned that all advertising would work. It was just up to me to convince the client why our station would work best.
It was also where I learned how to manage with integrity amidst a lot of noise. Radio stations - especially music stations were never quiet places. The soundtrack in the offices was the same one we sent out over the airwaves. It stayed on- all day - every day - if for no other reason than to assure everyone we were still on the air.
Maybe all that music infused in our psyches was part of the reason we were all so happy to be at work.
This - of course- was before the Reagan era of deregulation when the focus went off the product and the people and shifted to EBITDA and stock prices.
Then it all changed.
The sense of community fostered within the radio station and connection to the sister stations in other markets was hard to replicate as consolidation brought the fear of job cuts and the "every person for themselves era."
But while we reminisced about a time that makes me smile - still - as I type this post - I wasn't thinking about what came after. I had even stopped thinking about how much my feet hurt.
I was awash in memories of crazy client promotions, live remotes, pink Cadillacs, and friends I made for life. And feeling extraordinarily lucky to have been a part of it all.
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