Thanks Austin for 7 great years
I found out today that I will no longer be on 104.9 The Horn - ending a 7-year relationship between myself and Austin radio.
I've always said radio is the best job in the worst industry in sports media. The people are great. The listeners are great. For the most part, your co-workers are great. But for radio stations to survive, they have to be a finely tuned orchestra from conductor to gong player.
And if you are part of a big cluster of radio stations, and the other stations aren't meeting financial goals, even a winning station like 104.9 can find itself on the auction block.
And that's where my man Ketch (Geoff Ketchum) and I found ourselves. On the outside looking in at the new ownership group - Total Austin Sports Radio - that takes over 104.9 on Monday.
Ketch did a great job of detailing the surreal nature of walking into the station today to find out we had to turn in our key cards.
There were only three on-air hosts who got whacked today - Ketch, myself and Chance Mock - so it's hard not to take things personally.
But I've been fired from radio before (after I did mornings on 1530 AM with a guy named A.J. Hoffman) back in 2006.
But after there was a change in management, replacing the GM who fired me, a guy named Steve Wilder hired me to do afternoons in July of 2007, and that show ultimately became the Bottom Line with Sean Adams. We moved to 1-4 pm after doing 3 pm to 7 pm to make room for Ketch and The Drive.
We all busted our ass to make 104.9 the No. 1 sports talk station in the market by a mile. Ketch and my shows both had 3 share ratings in sports talk's top demo (men 25 to 54) in the most recent ratings book, doubling our competition's numbers.
During football season, those numbers have reached 5 to 8 shares (in men 25 to 54) in certain parts in the mornings.
The Chip Shot Open golf tournament has raised thousands of dollars for organ donation awareness and has had nearly 300 golfers in morning and afternoon flights each of the past two years.
The memories of events like that as well as doing pre-game at Scholz's Biergarten every football Saturday will live on in my mind forever. I was also allowed to pay tribute every day at 7:45 am CT to my mother - Judy - who died of pancreatic cancer at age 67 in 2005 by saying what she always told me when I was bent out of shape - "Happiness is a choice." I'm thankful for all of it.
And, of course, I'm struggling with any explanation for why Ketch and I seemed to be on the losing end of today. We were basically told the new owners of the station have an issue with Ketch's and my ties to OB.
So I told the new owner - Frank Carter - "We have more than 12,000 subscribers who are the most die-hard, wonderful UT fans on the planet. If you think we take shots at the university, you are dead wrong, because our subscribers would drop us in a heartbeat if we did that."
But I did say, "We cover the University of Texas like nobody's business. We cover the Big 12. We broke realignment in the summer of 2010. We have contacts at every school in the Big 12 - from trustees to sports information directors. And they all return our calls and respect the hell out of how hard we work."
I said, "If someone has a problem with that, then God bless them, because I think the people of Austin are some of the smartest people in the country. They like who they are and where they live. They are well read and really enjoy hearing about the things that are important to them - UT, college football, the Cowboys, Texans, NFL - all packaged in what I've always called 'infotainment.'"
So with that all being said, let me get to the best part of this. I, like Ketch, will take a breath, gather and put all my energies into making OB the best it's ever been. Thank you to my OB family. You are the best. I'm here for you.