Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tightening the Noose

We became a three person show back in July, if memory serves. Though Mark and I tried to do the best we could to make it work, the shows misfired much more often than not. A Top 40 radio market shouldn't be a training ground for someone on a morning show, but with new gal Natalie, that's what the show had become. Knowing that Natalie, as the hire of the Clear Channel Las Vegas Market Manager, was pretty much untouchable, we were left to make the best of an increasingly bad situation. We had no idea what to use Natalie for, and she had no idea how to be a producer. Bad combination.

Let me say, again..I think natalie is a nice gal. I certainly thought more highly of her than Mark did, and was constantly defending her when Mark would have a tantrum- which happened pretty much every morning. We knew that since she was hired by the top gun, that person would want to see her spotlighted more, so we went down the path of "new girl in Vegas" topics, topics that landed with a thud. Listeners don't like change, and reaction to her when I was out at events ranged from tolerance to hate. No one who spoke up claimed that she added anything to the show. "Why did they think you needed the help" was a common question, a question Gregory Hines couldn't tap dance around.

The show muddled on. Both Mark and I knew that if the ratings went up, it would be a "Natalie bump". If they went down, it would be the fault of Mark and me for not including natalie enough. We had entered a "no win zone".

The ratings went down, and the reaction was predictable. Brooks was fired, and Mark and I were called in (not Natalie. Just me and Mark) to explain what the problem was. Mind you, we never received a Gatorade shower for good ratings, and the ratings were good much more than they were bad. "Natalie needs to be included more. You guys don't like her. Give her more to do". The reaction was more predictable than a long wait at the DMV. The simple answer of "maybe people don't like Natalie" never came up. Sometimes the answers are so simple, they're ignored. This was a case in point. Natalie was here for keeps. I started to annoy Mark with the idea that I was going to be gone by the end of the year. The more I needled him, the more the idea made sense to me (and to Mark, I think).

We went a glorious month or so without a replacement for Brooks, and things couldn't have gone smoother. This isn't a knock on Brooks at all, just that those of us on staff had been around for so long that we could handle the responsibilities for as long as needed, allowing management to hire the person they thought could best handle the load. I knew some people who were happy that Brooks was gone. To me, it was like losing your closest ally. In came New Guy, and he was carrying the final nails in my KWNR coffin.

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