Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I'm Outta Here

During my radio career, I got fired on four separate occasions. The first was for refusing to take a more responsible position without receiving any additional money. The second was after being suspected (wrongfully) of industrial espionage. The third was after a new program director came on board and began systematically sacking the airstaff to provide jobs for his ne'er-do-well friends. The fourth was probably the most legitimate--an owner felt he needed to cut the budget and decided to sack the burnout case.

The third one happened on a Saturday afternoon. The new PD had been on the job a couple of months, and while he'd been careful to do the customary shuck--"we plan no major changes"--it was pretty clear that change was in the air. Two jocks and a couple of sales people had already been sacked. So when the PD showed up at the office that Saturday half-an-hour before I was supposed to get off the air, I knew precisely why he was there.

I finished my last break with, "Ladies and gentlemen, it has been a pleasure"--and walked out to face my fate. Would that I had done that last break with a bit more panache: "Ladies and gentlemen, my boss is in his office right now, and since he doesn't normally drag his ass in here on the weekend, there can be only one explanation for it--I'm about to get fired. But it's OK, really--working here has sucked like a $5 prostitute since he got to town. I take consolation in the fact that tomorrow, I will start whatever the next phase of my life is--but he'll still be the same slimy bastard he is this afternoon."

(At least I got fired in person. The woman who preceded me on the air that Saturday got fired on her answering machine that night. The PD could have sacked both of us in person when we changed shifts, but then he would have had to do the Saturday afternoon show himself. And he was the kind of asshole who wouldn't. I am not a person who carries grudges, but if this guy were drowning in a puddle at my feet, I wouldn't bend over to save him, and it's been 16 years.)

So anyway: A jock in Mobile, Alabama, quit her job on the air a couple of weekends back. "Izetta the Mood Setta" from urban contemporary station WBLX wrapped her show with a blunt rant (hear it here) about how she'd been mistreated and underpaid, and signed off with "I quit this bitch." She'd apparently been working at the station six years and was making only $6.50 an hour, but was also feeling back-stabbed by the staff and management.

Management, by the way, had a priceless comment amidst the usual corporate boilerplate about how Izetta should have spoken up about her complaints. The representative suit also criticized her for using words on the air that could have been damaging to children. Please. It isn't like a child who's been listening to R&B and hip-hop hasn't heard the word "bitch" before.

(Thanks to Pat for the tip.)


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