In 2004, I managed to land my first major-market radio job in Edmonton, as a community cruiser. In the grand scheme of where I wanted to end up in radio, this was what I considered to be a foot in the door. It was a shot to work in the building I grew up inspired to be a part of, and I was going to make the absolute most of it.
During my interview, I made it perfectly clear that my goal was to be on the air full time. I would take whatever task and assignment given to me before then, but that was my goal.
One day, Ian Sterling approached me and said that I should get a tape into the boss and see about doing some fill-in shifts. I didn’t think much of it, because this was a mega station and I was just a noob. Sure, I had some experience, but country? Sure… why the hell not…
A few days later, the guy in charge said, "Hey, I hear you have some on-air experience - I'd really like to hear a tape".
Holy crap... he means it. Okay...
I was pretty edgy back then – coming hot off of rock radio with a chip on my shoulder which far outweighed any real confidence, I did my best. It wasn’t always the greatest – in fact, that same person that put me on the air took great pride in the fact that he had to “reign me in” instead of push me forward. The best memory of getting my ass kicked was him sitting me down in his office, playing a call that I thought was “innovative, hilarious and fresh”, then pointing out that there wasn’t a damn funny thing about it.
Years went on and new opportunities came along. With his blessing, I was given chances to advance. In a business where saying the wrong thing can call for your head, I have no doubt that my neck was spared more than once. There was a time where it seemed I was groomed to follow in his footsteps. He wasn’t afraid to kick my ass when I needed it, all the while managing to pull my ass out of a fire more than once.
In a personality driven business, sometimes business wins. We’ve had our ups, and most certainly we’ve our downs… but as I reflect over the time I’ve known him , I can truly appreciate the good share of one-on-ones over the years. While I don’t get to say I work with him anymore, his rousing support and continued encouragement are why I’m writing this today. As I continue my career, I can only hope that it is one as successful as my friend, the guy who gave me many a shot over the years, Chris Scheetz.
Chris taught me the importance of meaning what you say, and following through on a promise made to the audience. He taught me how to earn trust, and how to listen to my heart. Anything I ever tried to do in support of a charity came from his lead... Chris taught me that what we do on the air CAN and DOES MATTER.
Even at our worst, we still managed to find our best in each other. Nothing is ever cut and dry in this world, no matter how much we try and control things. While I’m still not half as good at it as he is, I think I’ve learned a few things from him over the years.
Congratulations on 25 years Chris.