It’s funny how quickly things can change. One day you’re stressing out trying to meet the demands of your everyday obligations. You know, things like your job, trying to stay on top of the yard work, the plumbing issues, and trying to keep your wife from killing you because you’ve been working on the road for five out of the last six months. And on top of all that, you absolutely have to have your column turned in by 3:00 P.M. every Wednesday afternoon.
And so it went. For the last two years and eight months without fail, I’ve managed to get it all done. Then last week, out of the blue, I got a call from Denise Hall, the owner of the Topeka Metro News. She informed me that she had sold the paper and that I’d better contact the new owners to find out whether or not they’re interested in continuing my column. So I did.
The answer came in the form of an e-mail the next day. It simply said, Mr. McGinty, sorry but we won’t be able to run your column anymore.
Well, that’s that then. I can no longer call myself a columnist, but then neither can any of the other local columnists that have always been a big part of the paper. The new owners have decided to drop all local commentary from the paper and keep a couple of national syndicated one’s.
I’m not sure why they‘d want to go that route, but it looks a lot like the strategy, Spike Santee used when he took over one of the most popular radio stations in Topeka, AM 1440. The first thing he did was to fire Jim Cates. Then came the local DJ’s, followed by Steve Forman and Deb Goodrich. By the time he was done, he had managed to get rid of almost all the local people and replaced them with national syndicated shows.
Hey, it’s their world, they can do with it what they want. But they do need to understand how that strategy worked out for my old buddy, Spike. He took over a radio station that had always enjoyed ratings at the top of the charts because of local participation. And a year after he took over, their ratings have dropped to the very bottom of the charts.
Was I disappointed? Yes. Was I pissed? Oh hell yeah. It was a little like getting kicked in the gut. I thought for sure they'd at least write one last column, you know, just to say goodbye and all that. But the new owners of the paper thought otherwise.
But you know what? None of that really matters. I received a text massage from my daughter that same afternoon that brought everything in perspective for me. (Dad, everything’s normal, there’s no cancer and I’m okay.) God, you have no idea how much of a relief that text was. After that news, any small disappointment I may have felt, whether it was real or imagined, just sort of faded away.
So now, I’m just going to keep writing and posting on my blog. I’ve decided to keep Wednesday afternoon as a deadline and I'm going to try writing a book of some kind. And my offically cancer free, daughter has promised to work on it with me. Today, I’m stuck working in Pratt, Kansas and I’m okay with that.
Take a minute or two today to give your kids a hug and tell them how much you love them. Call your mom and dad if you can. Maybe you grandparents, too. How about your brothers and sisters, maybe your mad at them over some family squabble or something. Call them to burry the hatchet. Maybe you have an aunt or an uncle who’s not doing so well. Give them a call just to let them know you’re thinking about them. Life’s too short not to.
Life is full of disappointments, large and small. Just try to keep them in perspective.
I hope all is well with you and yours today, and I’ll talk to you guys next week…