That was the reaction from a colleague when she found out one of the following:
- I listen to John Tesh.
- I picked the Flyers to win the Stanley Cup.
- I decided to finally take the leap of faith and go out on my own.
- All of the above.
As is human nature, speculation ran amok. Some are convinced I was fired. Some think I was forced out. One other theory involves a complex rope and pulley system. Fact is, none of that happened. I made the conscious choice to give this whole chestnut a shot. But it never would have been a reality without those nine years -- the last three at Entercom being a major point of inspiration.
I started in the radio industry as an $8-an-hour board-op (a board-op is someone who "operates the board" for a radio station -- basically, a DJ who doesn't talk) working midnight to 6 a.m. on the weekends. I was eventually allowed to speak . . . and I'm not sure that was actually a good thing. What made this an even bigger groin kick was that is was an Adult Contemporary station ranked 19th out of 23 stations in Portland at the time. Bear in mind, I have a degree in International Studies, worked for a Japanese bank at one time (I don't recommend it), spent two (really fun) years at Nike, then decided to strip it all down so that I could have the opportunity to talk about John Tesh songs to the four people listening at the time I was on the air.
That is my "walking to school 8 miles in the snow uphill both ways" story. Now, after nine years, I stripped it down again. The difference this time is that I am armed with some great knowledge and wisdom tempered with equal parts reality and humility. I also now have the courage that I didn't have before. As one of my friends so delicately put it last year, "Dude, man up and give it a shot."
I really love radio, and a big chunk of my business will be dedicated to creative consultation and advocacy for radio groups, agencies and anyone else who will lend me their ear. This marks a time for renewed energy and excitement in opening that next door.
I am terribly optimistic. But if it all unravels, I suppose I will always be able to talk about John Tesh on the radio.
Am I nuts to do this?
What's the one piece of advice you would give a new, smaller agency?