Inevitability Is Inevitable
April 26, 2016
They say that stars are burning out all the time. In the '60s, scientists found particles of a stellar corpse in Antarctica. The composition of this seemingly insignificant mass stunned them; suggesting imminent potential for life beyond here. And for many years, NASA has been beaming radio signals into the deepest corridors of space -- defying imagination -- expecting that one day return-signals may reach back to us from some corner of space and time beyond our ability to calculate. There are, they say, more stars than all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the world.
They also like to tell us that time runs in a continuous linear thread: minutes to hours, hours to months, months to decades; it's not really true. For me there are only moments. It's like when you hike up Mt. Hood enveloped in fog, groping your way through the tree line on paths of rock, seeing only a few feet ahead. Then, suddenly the fog parts giving way to brilliant sunshine and a boundless vista below; rare moments, clearings in the fog, on the high ground.
Life's unforgiving pace has escalated. Media has become Churchill's "riddle, wrapped in a mystery, surrounded by an enigma." On a given day it's easy to let it all get out of proportion, and for a lot of people it seems more and more common to lose perspective, make decisions from weakness, then let it slide away. A lot of people and companies are under unprecedented stress, making the relatively simple seem infinitely complicated.
Cliché as it sounds, "clearings in the fog" can ride on the words of a motivating success story -- someone with no agenda in a neutral corner. A good colleague, legendary radio architect George Johns has an uncanny ability to slice through the superfluous to articulate the necessary, just as he did while helping build icons like KVIL, WRMF, and the entire Fairbanks group. A few fog-clearing bullets from George:
"There are only a handful of people in the world who can make a stock rise -- none of them work in radio."
"If dropping 40% to the bottom line isn't enough to make it work, maybe it's time for some new leadership."
"A cause is everything, but making money for an owner is not a worthy enough cause to inspire radio troops to rally around it indefinitely."
"Adversity usually unveils who the real person was all along."
"If most people on the radio used the word 'you' far more than they use the word 'I,' ratings would improve."
"Really smart executives always hire people smarter than themselves."
"If a big crowd always follows a charismatic leader, just who would that be in your building?"
On your way to the next 24 hours, ask yourself, "Do I love what I do ... or do I just go through the motions? Can I say that I'm a mentor to people? Is my inspiration for entering radio enough to justify staying in radio?"