Today’s #MediaMonday comes to us from Bruce Kelly – new Operations Manager at 90.7 FM “The Goldmine” at The East Valley Institute Of Technology in Mesa. I’ve known Bruce since the beginning of my public relations career. And if truth be told, it was during one of his morning show promotions in the late ‘80s that I met Donny Osmond for the first time.
So, BK, time to share! What do you want to tell the blogosphere about yourself today?
Well, as Jerry Garcia said….”What a long strange trip it’s been.”
Quick reminder – my Valley radio career from 1985 until 2000 featured my morning show on three great radio stations……the legendary KZZP, Gary Edens’ KOY-FM (Y-95) and Fred Weber’s KKFR (Power 92). All three stations were tremendously successful in both ratings and revenue and I had the time of my life at all three brands.
In 2000, I left the Valley for my hometown of Washington, D.C. for two reasons –
My wife and I were raising a new family with a one-year-old daughter and a newborn son – my older children lived back east with their Mom and I wanted to make sure both sets of kids could relate to each other as a whole family, rather than half- sister/brother or step-children. Mission accomplished.
Second – I was invited to be a part of the launch team of the new frontier of entertainment content delivery – XM Satellite Radio. I spent more than five years there and built some of the top-rated channels, as well as traveled the globe doing special projects for the company.
Miami then came calling to replace a 50-year market legend Rick Shaw – the Bill Heywood of South Florida. Always a tough assignment to replace the legend – though ratings tripled, I was a victim of the dreaded “budget cuts” that started to rear their ugly head even as far back as 2008.
Next challenge came from out of the blue – to reform one of the most recognizable music brands on the planet – Bob Marley’s Wailers. Bob and I became close during the last few years of his life during my first stop in SoFla during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s – at XM we hired my old friend Junior Marvin, Bob’s lead guitarist, to help with our XM reggae channel. One thing led to another and we hit the road for an extensive run around the USA, Europe and South America.
Living on the road means a plane, a bus, a hotel room, a venue, back to a room, back on the bus, back on the plane – repeat the process 100 times. Not as glamorous as most would think.
A radio company in Fargo, N.D. approached me…….yes I said Fargo……to run their four station group as VP of Programming as well as host their morning show on their News/Talk station. Fargo is a wonderful place to raise kids, little or no crime, healthy economy…..but…….IT’S DAMN COLD FOR SIX MONTHS…….then the spring floods arrive. Quite a different lifestyle than anything I’ve ever experienced.
Out of the blue again came this opportunity with EVIT and their brand new FM station launched early in 2011. A former producer of mine AND then teenager we hired at KZZP for our research department, Steve Grosz, has been the broadcast instructor at EVIT for a decade and the sole driving force in securing the FCC license for this amazing new broadcast platform.
Steve needed help in community outreach, fundraising for this non-commercial entity and brand establishment to help this project get off the ground.
That’s why I’m back in the Valley after a 12-year absence – a true circle of life – working for and with my former protégé in mentoring the students enrolled in the EVIT broadcast program.
With today’s broadcast consolidation, budget cutback and reductions in force - (R.I.F.) – it is virtually impossible for a teenager to learn the skills need to begin a career in the media. At EVIT we train the student on all aspects of OS like Pro Tools, Final Cut Pro, Prophet and Next Gen. Many of our recent grads are already working for local Clear Channel, CBS and other broadcast outlets – walking in with the training and skills that are required to hit the ground running.
Arizona has always been my “spiritual” home and I’ve been searching for the right situation for me and my family to return and live and love the desert and all that our state has to offer. I’m still trying to figure out the new 202 Freeway though : )
I would love to hear from new and old friends in the biz:
firstname.lastname@example.org or cell (701) 412-1944.
Thanks Abbie for this opportunity to be a part of your Media Monday!