It's Been Ten Years. Have I Gotten It Right Yet?

I beg your indulgence, as I pause for reflection, and self-serving promotion.

Ten years ago today, I became part of the South Central family. From the moment I walked in the lobby and met Linda, the nicest person on the Hill, I felt at home. And when Cindy Miller, the Goddess of Rock, took my hand and led me up to the rock penthouse, I began one of the greatest experiences of my life.

April 16, 2000 seems so long ago. Bill Clinton was sitting in the Oval Office. Scarlett Johansson and Megan Fox were jail bait. The Rams had just won the Super Bowl and the Pacers made it to the NBA finals before losing to the Lakers. It was the first year of Survivor, and the last year that Kathie Lee sat next to Regis.

Here in the rock penthouse, I've had the time of my life, sharing good times, and bad. It fell to me to announce that Bob Knight had finally become a casualty to his own temper at IU and that Dale Earnhart had died at Daytona.

I was not on WABX on 9/11, but I can tell you about the following Saturday, when a truckload of green lumber caught fire, sending clouds of black smoke through downtown Evansville, visible to much of the city. Several people called to see what was going on, perhaps dreading what they would hear.

It's been ten years of change for me personally, but this isn't the place to talk about that. I have (here comes the self-serving promotional part) a blog where I speak of my personal life, LIFE 4.0. I hope you'll look it over when you can. Friends tell their secrets, and you've been friends to me over this past decade.

I wasn't part of the original WABX staff, but I've been witness to some memorable milestones. I had a ringside seat for our fifth aniversary, our tenth anniversary, and our one millionth song. I've seen us add two more radio stations, and a digital division that sets the standard for internet marketing.

I even remember Dave B., who worked here one day then disappeared, never to be seen again. I still wonder what we did to piss him off.

It's been a fun ride. Watching Slaughter take over the rock penthouse as Mike Desmond looked on helpessly... giving away the Harley on the riverfront on a sweaty July night (temperature at sundown: 100 degrees)... hosting the concerts...the NASCAR parties, and that crushed car which caused such a stir of curiosity.

Ten years gone by, and it's a much different world. Much has disappeared over time. Even the original rock penthouse is now gone, a victim of progress. (I took one souvenir, the "Classic Rock That Really Rocks" banner. You can't have it back.) Music is now available so many ways from so many sources that the possibilities are hard to comprehend. So many things that are part of our daily lives -- HDTV, Facebook, wireless internet, GPS -- were unheard of or in their infancy ten years ago. There's no telling what the coming decade will hold.

I have made some tremendous friends, and shared much joy. I also blew a brain circuit one night and walked out in a kiss-my-ass blaze of self-righteous indignation. Those in power were kind enough to welcome me back fifteen months later without making me jump through hoops. I was, and still am, in their debt. I don't know that I could have been that gracious.

And oh, the people who shared the ride. I'm sure my memory is spotty enough that I'll forget someone (corrections and omissions will gladly be fixed) So to everyone with whom I have known the past ten years in our South Central Media family, my thanks to you, my dear friends. I love you.

To the DJ's and news people who whom I have shared the rock penthouse microphone, I say thank you, Shawn, Trish, Cindy, Brent, Kim, Mike, Vinnie, Kent, Biscuit, Jeff, Tommy, Krista, Randy, Dave L., John, Mark, Jay, Byron, Rick, Romeo, Mackenzie, Jason K., Thorn, Matt, Donnie, C.C., Sean D., Dodger, Greg, Jason M., Eric D., Eric P., Dale, Ross, Shanna, Falen, Kat, Sean R., Mallory, Katie, Rob...

Thank you to all the engineering, promotions, marketing, sales, office. and support staffs; our program directors, Cindy, Jason and Rusty; managers Rob and Tim; and to the royal family, J.P.and John David. And to Bettie, the Empress of the Rock Penthouse who was there at the beginning of it all, the birth of this family-owned company which defies the odds by surviving and prospering in a faceless corporate world.

Thanks to the advertisers, many of who have become friends. You bring WABX and our listeners in to broadcast from your businesses, and when we do that, everybody wins.

Most of all, thank you to the listeners. You've chosen to spend part of your day with WABX, to call in your requests, express your opinions, play our contests, visit our remotes. You've taken time for WABX, time which you can never get back. I've never taken that trust lightly. Words can not do justice to the gratitude I feel. May God shine upon you all.

Who's up for ten more years?


(Update 4-16-12: Linda Goebel, whom I refered to as "the nicest person on the Hill" passed away from complications due to breast cancer a few weeks after I wrote this post . Her presence here will never be duplicated, although Sarah Inman, and now Ben Smith, have taken on, and excelled at the task of greeting our visitors and riding herd over the masses of humanity here on the Hill. We also lost another beloved staffer, Karen Williams, in July 2011, also to breast cancer.  Last year's South Central Media team in the Race For The Cure was named in their memory.

Also, thanks to WABX rocker Jackie for catching my brain fart, when I mistakenly referred to Slaughter as "Slayer." You rock, Jackie!

In addition -- although I did not mention it in the orginal article because the wounds were still too fresh -- I have been blessed beyond belief by the sympathy and support I recieved following the death of Roxanne, my wife of 30 years, in September 2009. The kindness that came my way from within the South Central family, and from listeners who took the time to reach out, still warms my heart. S.K.)