Andrew found a very lucrative and part-time “turnaround” career after he retired from his corporate division President job at age 55—at what was the height of his career. This definitively was NOT his chosen time to leave the corporate world. In a horrific scenario, he had to leave when he was told he suffered from a fatal disease with a year to live. (Spoiler alert—Since I am writing this story 20 years later, you now know that this was a shocking misdiagnosis. He is alive and well and smiling at me!!!). Anyway, back then….by the time it was determined that this was a malpractice-worthy medical mistake…he’d left his job, couldn’t get it back because they’d offered the plum position to someone else and the only jobs at the company weren’t nearly as desirable. Clearly, the amazing news was that he was going to live a long and productive life—the difficult task was finding a new productive life.
Become a consultant again was his first stab at getting back in the game after a 9-month hiatus. After all, he thought, he’d been a consultant in the radio industry before…but, “the phone never rang”, he said wistfully. Instead, he shifted gears and started calling brokers in the industry to help him identify radio stations in need of a turnaround. The first station he uncovered needed a General Manager, so Andrew stepped in with the goal of turning around rock- bottom ratings and an almost unheard of loss around in order to sell the station. With a one-year contract, he moved to New England, while his wife stayed working in New York—and for that year, a commuter marriage ensued.
While the story of how he did manage to achieve those goals and bring the station up to a #6 market rating is somewhat beyond the scope of this blog, it’s such a great story that I just can’t keep it to myself. So…here’s a quick synopsis. Is there anyone who doesn’t know about Don Imus…and his “choice words and commentary” about anyone and anything? Well…as Andrew was taking over the station, Imus was looking to expand his reach beyond New York City, so Andrew convinced him to use his station as that stepping stone. Just after the deal was struck, Imus had surgery, so the station could play only outdated reruns…not the deal Andrew had signed on for. Smart businessman that he is, Andrew refused to pay Imus until he went live. When Imus did go on air, he BLASTED Andrew by name for delaying the payment. If you know Imus, you wouldn’t be surprised at the insulting, demeaning and histrionic vitriol that came out of his mouth. While Andrew was hurt, distraught and clearly emotionally bruised, the ratings did start to climb! And after a year, with those incredibly improved ratings, management sold the station and almost everyone walked away happy. Andrew’s ego and self image still smarted, … until…he heard Imus unleash a similar attack (albeit for a different reason) against the next station manager he worked with! When Andrew finally confronted Imus after the whole affair, Imus gave him a brotherly pat on the back, grinned without a hint of contrition or apology and explained: ”You know— it’s all only an act…don’t you???”
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