Today, after saying goodbye to the few people working over the Holidays, I closed my laptop, left my pass card on top and strolled out of 2001 Thurston for the last time.
This, after deleting 20,000 in-box emails. Another 15,000 sent. If you have been waiting on something from me, whoops. Sorry. That’s a lot of notes and it got me thinking how much things have changed. Our server holds emails for 2 years only. I remember getting hand written phone messages from reception on pink paper and thinking how important I was to have them staked up on a restaurant order spike on my desk. Too funny.
Back to the point here.
I’ve had 8 months to prepare for the final walk to the car. Today was a storm day so there are piles of snow covering what were open spaces. That will cause some grief next week as people get back, but not today. I was ready, until I started to well up thinking about the last 20 years. That building has always been much more than a workplace to me. It is about the people. The amazing people. It’s not easy to tally up the number of folks that have gone through. Although shredding files for 3 weeks gave me an insight I’d forgotten. Not saying I shredded a lot, but we may need a new machine. It wasn’t sounding great when I finished my last few files. It’s crazy how obsolete paper has become. (See phone messages above) Now we save as a PDF and you’re good to go.
There have been several hundred if not a thousand people who have worked at Thurston.
It is a special place. (Foundation issues aside…inside joke) There are people I met on day one in 1999, who are still there! Keep in mind Rogers bought CHEZ in August of 1999 and there were 3 locations in Ottawa that were merged into 2001 Thurston. That was in September of 2000. To name some of the veterans, Mark Hunter, Mary D’Angelo, Julie McIlvenna, Alison Young, Stephanie Grant, Terry McDougall, Cathy Pendrith, Nancy Stapleton, Jacki Navratil, Christian Dubois, Anna Audet. The list grows when it comes to folks who started before I did (some long before) and are now enjoying life outside. Steve Colwill, Dave Schutte, Gabe Karlin, Judy Wilson, Mark Papousek, (the late)Cindy Woods, (the late) Doug Anderson, Scott Parsons, Nida Drake, Renaud Timson, Dan Youngs and Craig Jackman. It’s always risky doing lists because omissions are highly likely. Apologies.
Suffice to say, it’s been a remarkable place to spend 40 hour weeks. It was rarely WORK. I will miss it all, but some things more than others. In particular the culture we created. The Thurston team is made up of a mixture of highly experienced and committed professionals and some energetic up and comers. The competency box is an easy check. It’s also filled with a wonderful mixture of diverse thinking problem solvers. Rogers is a demanding company. That’s why they are so successful and why it is such a great place to work. They always want to improve. The best is yet to come.
The key to succeeding is to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Isn’t that the solution with everything? It’s always asking how we get better everyday? I heard a great line about culture recently and it was defined by how you act when your boss isn’t around. In other words, doing the right things. Always. Even when no one is looking.
And finally, the fun.
There was rarely a day when laughter was absent in the building. Even on the toughest days. Laughter is a coping mechanism for many in radio. To actually be in radio, you have to be a little bit broken. We use comedy to deflect. It’s well known that many newsrooms use dark humour as part of process. We not only laugh to cope, we laugh to help us keep things in perspective. Those who know me know that when I see someone being frustrated with something trivial, or they are in the weeds on something, one of my most used lines is “it’s not that complicated, we play music for a living….how lucky are we”? And essentially it’s true. We entertain and delight audiences, serve the community and help business’s become more successful. To do all that and have a blast everyday is pretty special. And as I said, I’ll miss that terribly.
I’m feeling extremely bullish on private radio. There is a lot of runway left in this insanely advancing technology revolution we’re in. As long as there is commerce in the world, radio will continue to play an important role in product branding. It needs to keep reinventing itself and that’s been hard for many inside. Radio has to not only use its traditional strengths of being free, local, ubiquitous and having great personalities, but also discovering and exploiting radio’s role in the new audio business. It’s an exciting time and I look forward to watching it all develop. And continuing to be part of the solution.
Thanks to all my great colleagues and contacts for all the support and friendship over the years. This is just adios and not goodbye. (I watched The Irishman and saw Ronnie Vale, who I thought was Stevie Van Zant, sing Spanish eyes at an award dinner, classic)
It’s New Year’s Eve 2019. My last day at Rogers. I’ve had the time of my life. Happy New Year.