One of my mentors taught me an important but painful lesson years ago. Armand remains a good friend today. He’s now the General Manager of WWCA in Gary, Indiana. When we met, it was while we were both working at a now defunct radio station in the Western Suburbs of Chicago, WKKD-FM.
Armand had been a Program Director and had worked in sales for several radio stations at the time I met him. He sized me up right away as someone who needed a lot of help. And he was very willing to share his knowledge and experience.
We worked together again a couple of years later at another now defunct suburban Chicago radio station, WCRM-FM, where he was the Sales Manager. I was working as Afternoon Drive jock and Production Manager and one day as I arrived for work, the General Manager called me in to his office to tell me that he was promoting me to Program Director. Whew!
Thankfully, Armand was there. He coached me through the next several months of baby steps as I learned how to lead a staff and oversee the programming of a station.
So, what was the painful lesson?
Armand is also a very talented voice-over guy. His voice is pitched a little higher than mine, but he understood years before I did that the “big announcer” thing was going away.
So one time, back when we lived in the Chicago area, Armand and I both auditioned for a voice-over job. A couple of days later, he called me very excited, because he got the job. My reaction? Oh, it was very mature. I believe my exact words were, “That’s the last time you’ll ever beat me.” That’s right. I might as well have stuck a knife in his back.
He was quiet for a moment, and then simply said, “I’m not so sure that’s true.” As soon as he said that, I realized how hurtful I had been. And more importantly, a moment later I realized that my arrogance might well have been part of the reason I didn’t get that job. I had just assumed that I was so good I didn’t really have to work hard on the audition.
I’m very grateful for all of Armand’s help years ago. And even more grateful for his enduring friendship (and patience with me) to this day.