Thursday, October 21, 2010

Add A Wife, Lose A Job!

Denise and I announced our engagement to our family and friends in Philly and Sarasota. It was a really exciting time for both of us. We posted our engagement notice in the newspaper, and were flooded with tons of good wishes. I was proud to be engaged. That was quite a change in tone...considering I used to utter the phrase,"I'll never get married!". Usually guys who say that really need to wait and find the right woman. Seriously....wait. I did. Do the world a favor.

We were experiencing that "pre-wedding" glow. Our engagement period was 11 months. That's just enough time to enjoy the moment, plan the wedding and ponder the future together. In fact things were going so well...that Mr Charlie Foxtrot ( you're smart, figure out the hidden code) was just waiting to pay a visit to our blissful lives.

Mr Foxtrot showed up in the form of a drop in ratings for the morning show in August of 1990. I didn't think much of the dip in audience share. The morning show ratings sky rocketed and an occasional blip is common. Unfortunately, the station management went into a panic mode! They decided to change the entire format of the station. This kind of knee-jerk reaction is not that uncommon in my business. Imagine if the Dallas Cowboys won 10 games in a row, then lost one by 20 points. Would owner Jerry Jones dump the team and replace them with soccor players from MISL? Of course not. But Jerry Jones isn't a radio executive.

First the station announced that the new format would "Oldies". HA!!!! I'm freakin 27years old playing music that came out BEFORE I was born. Who is Herman...and why does he have Hermits? When I was on the radio in Philly, I interviewed stars like David Bowie. In the oldies format interviews were harder to come across....because most of the acts were dead! This new "radio opportunity" was not going to last forever.

Denise has always been the most supportive partner in any storm. And this was a STORM. The wedding is now weeks away, and I'm playing garbage like, "I'm Henry the 8th I am". She implored that I look elsewhere for work! I started sending out tapes of my show to radio headhunters. Thankfully, I got a nibble from a great man named Jim Meltzer in Buffalo, NY. He flew me out twice to interview at a heritage radio station called KISS 98.5. We quickly hit it off, and it was clear we both wanted to work together. BUT...the clock was ticking in Sarasota. On September 12th 1990, the bad news arrived in a Fed Ex package. I was being let go from the Oldies station.....just 8 weeks before our wedding. OY!

Jim Meltzer in Buffalo agreed to hire me 6 weeks later. But now a new problem arrived; How do we plan a wedding in Philly, while our "stuff" sits in Sarasota, and start a new job in Buffalo??? One word..DENISE. Somehow she was able to hold down all three forts, while I started my new job. I was actually on the air for only a few days. Denise and I drove a rented minivan back to Philly to get married. We only had 1 day for a honeymoon...then back to Buffalo. We then flew to Sarasota to move our "stuff". Eventually, things calmed down. Denise and I were able to take a real honeymoon the following year.

Denise and I look back on that tumultous time around our wedding and laugh. Charlie Foxtrot tried to screw things up. But Mr Foxtrot underestimated how much love Denise and I had for each other in November of 1990. And our love has only grown stronger.

Next... "Get me out of Buffalo!"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Honey....Are You OK????

Denise and I decided to get married the following November. Usually, the man goes out and buys the ring FIRST....then gets down on one knee and proposes marriage. As you read in the previous blog posting, it didn't "roll" like that. Now Denise and I had to go out and pick an engagement ring... together.

Shopping for diamonds with your future wife has both pros and cons. Let's start with the positive aspects: a) You'll see which design she truly likes b) It's very romantic c) The ring won't have to go back to the store for proper fitting.

Now the negatives of being in a jewelry store with your soon-to-be finance: a) She will pick a diamond that you certainly could never afford in 100 years of working at your present job! b) There is no "b"'s just a world full of "a".

I must have had a psychic premonition about the cost factor as we walked into the De Soto Square Mall in Bradenton, Florida. I had never given serious thought to what the costs are with diamond engagement rings. As I got out of my '86 blue Toyota Corolla, I just stood there in the parking lot and pondered the $$$$$. I literally just stood there....frozen...didn't even blink my eyes. Denise stopped and starred, and started calling my name. She said that I "didn't look good", that "I was pale".
No kidding!

There was some good news about this shopping adventure. We only had to buy the diamond. Denise's mom worked at a small jewelery store back in Philly and passed along the store discount for the mounting. Even though it was a small ring, it was still the most money I had spent for something I couldn't drive or sleep on.

We eventually picked a diamond to go with the mounting. I proposed to Denise on December 15, 1989 in the living room of our apartment. We celebrated at a restaurant called Bandstand in the Sarasota Quay shopping mall. Interestingly enough..our marriage outlasted the restaurant AND the mall!

Up next...."Congrats on the're fired!"