Shaken, Not Stirred: Radio, repossessed.

January 15, 2017
Jim Bond

Jim Bond

Shaken, Not Stirred: Radio, repossessed.

#ShakenNotStirred.

A blog by Jim Bond.

There’s been some talk recently about ethics in radio broadcasting, especially as it applies to news coverage. While the industry enjoys a noble past and probably a noble future, there are always ignoble examples.

In my younger years I had an early morning news/talk/entertainment show with one of the oldest radio stations in the country. It had a distinguished history but had faltered under irresponsible ownership several years before I got there.

Employees were accustomed to payroll checks that were ‘not ready for prime time’ and other financial issues.

So about 6:30 one morning I was interviewing a guest on the phone, and, having a view of the front door I saw a couple of suited gentlemen at the locked door,  seeking entrance. They were accompanied by uniformed officers of the law. Also present was a moving van parked adjacent to the building, attended to by a couple of workmen.

Understanding the serious nature of what I was seeing, I concluded my conversation, signaled to the gentlemen, and went to a commercial break which would only last a minute. Then I charged down the hallway to open the door. The gentlemen entered the reception area and handed me a document signed by a judge, indicating that they had the right to remove all possessions from the building.

The radio station was being repossessed. I was right, these were not men at the property to deliver a package from a local department store.

I raced back to the control room, and despite being host to a news/talk/entertainment show I grabbed a 33 rpm vinyl album from the shelf and quickly turned the turntable on to provide diversion for the locals.

From there I went back to the reception area and called the station’s owner to explain the dilemma, reading him the document. I turned the phone over to the most serious looking suited gentleman, returned to the control booth to continue my report of news/sports/topics to discuss on the air. I was, as you can imagine, very distracted. I watched as the serious suited man at the front desk signaled to the workmen to start moving furniture to the van.

As I was delivering scintillating conversation on-air, I couldn’t help but wonder what was going to happen as the workmen approached the control room and started to repossess my chair. Would I remain seated while they wheeled me down the hallway, microphone in hand, still chattering away, much like a captain going down with the ship?

They were one room or so away when the station’s owner came bounding through the front door, spent about five minutes talking with the most serious looking suited gentleman.

They were standing since all the chairs had been removed.  

Still delivering sparkling conversation such as: “Hey, I wonder what the high temperature will be today”, I noticed an exchange of cash from the owner to the most serious looking suited gentleman.

After that occurred, the workmen began returning furniture.

The crisis had somehow been averted while I was still charming listeners with fascinating commentary such as: “Hey, what’s the third hue on the color spectrum”?

What I found out later was that the owner had used substantial on-hand cash to pay  the most serious looking suited gentleman; funds  intended to pay off property taxes on his house, later that same day.

The radio station had been saved, as was apparently the owner’s house, through some ‘sleight of wallet’.  

I left the station that day understanding that my days there were numbered. I could count many more satisfying ways of producing talk shows than trying to broadcast from the inside of a moving van.

 

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