The year was 1979. In May, we purchased a townhome in Warrenville, IL (a suburb west of Chicago) from the Pulte Home Corporation. At the time I was working as Classical Records manager for the big Rose Records store at 214 South Wabash Avenue in Chicago’s Loop. (I’ve just learned in my web search for information about Rose, that they evidently sold the company to Tower Records some years ago.)
Through a series of serendipities, I was hired by the new Vice-president of Sales for Pulte to work as the Sales Manager for our sub-division. I went from having a 45 minute train ride to work every day, to having a 30 second walk across the street! What’s more, I was making more money than I had ever made. The job went pretty well. I sold nine houses between June and December of 1979. One of the m was to Frank Dawson and his wife Cindy.
Frank, Cindy and their two kids walked through the door of my office in the first model home. I greeted them, and invited them to walk through our three models and asked that they stop back in if they liked what they saw. The two kids (one boy and one girl, as I recall) took off through the door that led from my office into the first model. Cindy was right behind them. But Frank Dawson stopped just as he was walking through the door, turned and asked me the question that ended up changing the direction of my life.
“Have you ever worked in radio?”
“No, I’ve always been interested in it, but how do you get into radio?”
“Well, my name’s Frank Dawson, and I’m the program director of WKKD Radio over in Aurora and I’m looking for some part-time help. Why don’t you come by and audition?” He reached into his pocket and handed me his business card.
I thanked him and said maybe I would.
As I mentioned, Frank and Cindy bought a house from me, in fact they bought that model house we were standing in at the time of that conversation. Over the course of the following few months, Frank asked me a few more times if I would come audition to be one of his part-time announcers. I actually thought he was kidding at first, but after 5 or 6 times, I realized he was serious.
So, one morning in mid-November, I finally drove to the station and did the audition. It consisted of reading a few news stories, the weather, and a commercial script. He told me to read everything twice and to stop the reel-to-reel recorder when I was finished. So, I did and then walked down the hall to his office when I was done. He introduced me to Todd Beezley, the production manager of the station as I was leaving.
A few weeks later I was sitting in my office when Frank Dawson called me. He said that 7 people had auditioned for the job and five of them had previous radio experience. I was sure the next thing he was going to say was that he had picked one of them, but instead what he said was, “And the best of them was you.”
“Nope, you were the best. Can you come to the station Monday evening around 6 to start training? Dave Fischer will be here and he’ll show you what you need to know.”
I agreed to be there on Monday, hung up and sat in stunned amazement for a few minutes. I then called my wife to tell her what had happened. It was now the middle of December, 1979. If you’re old enough to remember that year, what happens next won’t come as a big surprise.
About two hours later, the VP of Sales walked into my office and sat down with a heavy sigh.
“Bob,” he said, “There’s a recession on. The president of the company has just been fired. I’ve been demoted to your job. And we have to let you go.”
Bang! That was the club God used to help me see that my life journey was now headed in a new direction. I would no longer be in Real Estate. Now, I was going into Radio and from there, as I’ve written previously, into voice-over.
That’s my story. What’s yours?