The Real Roy Hennessy

Influencing as usual.

The second Program Director and the first General Manager I reported to was Roy Hennessy. He was my PD at CHED Edmonton and he gave me my first PD job at CITI Winnipeg.

To say Roy was fun to work with is an inadequate description. Radio was no different than Hollywood with Roy. His people skills came naturally and he was a top rated Morning host at LG73 in Vancouver in the salad days, before he got into “management”. He was a smooth and very funny man who dressed well and lived to the max!! Cars, homes, boats and wine!!!

I didn’t realize how cool it was and how lucky I was to work in Moffat communications until recently. I mean, I understood where I was and what I was doing as a job, but it became natural. Like it’s supposed to be this way everywhere. It was not.

Roy was a immense part of my radio education. He taught me to treat people well, and enjoy what we do. He also taught me to think big. Wow, could that man think BIG!! And with that attitude, he was not afraid to do things. Well, in fact, I’m sure he was a bit unsure at times, but never showed it to us.

Of my 42 years in radio, Roy was manager and mentor to me for about 10% of that time (in 2 cities). But what I learned from him and the early influence he had on me became part of my DNA and standard operating procedure as I navigated my own path in broadcasting, working with people.

Roy passed away Tuesday night surrounded by family and friends. Dawn and I are thinking about you and will be forever grateful for all you did for us!!! You are a giant of a human!!! Condolences to his family and friends.

I must close this with a messenger chat I had with Roy a few years ago. It clearly articulates how he thought about people, radio and life!! We should all be such a dreamer.

My note to Roy……….

Hi Roy, Happy New Year……..I wanted to reach back to thank you for your kind comments on the 365. And the birthday greeting. In truth, I have so many great memories working with you and have always been grateful for your support. I remember vividly how you “offered” me the job in Winnipeg…….we were in the lounge in the Westin after a day of touring the city in Satellite one and with Captain John in the plane…….you said to go up to the room to call Dawn and see if she could come out to Winnipeg to see the city as well……I got upstairs and there was a bottle of Dom Perignon and a note that said, ‘Congratulations, Danny Kingsbury, Program Director, 92.1 CITI FM!!!!! I still have it. I also remember you and Brenda showing up the day we moved in with the CITI Van that had a new fridge and stove in it….house warming……wow. Throw in the tuxedos for the parties and the staff recognition night at the stadium with rings for the men and necklaces for the women… memories go on and on and on……and have influenced me over the years about how to treat people…..or at least try to……..obviously it’s not just the materialistic things you did……like get me out of a car lease, but also the things you taught me about radio period. I was lucky… question. I just wanted you to know that I haven’t forgotten all this stuff and never will. I hope to share a glass of anything on my next trip to the west……..and until then, I remain in your debt. Cheers.

Roy’s response……..

Well thanks for the great memory jogger… one thing I never told anyone in the Peg was I didn’t know what I was doing! No job description….I called McLaughlin after I’d been there for 6 weeks and asked when we were going to sit down and go over my job description…like what do I do?….. He chuckled and said “just keep doing what you always do!”… Whatever the hell that meant? Do all the things that I believed would make people happy, more productive, more creative and love to come to work? that is really all I used as my guideline… and of course… the budget was just an estimate! of all the stations, all the cities, all the staffs I worked with over the years.. Winnipeg was the best! I think back to the vision I had of building an unbeatable team.. by getting them to let their passion out, that nothing was impossible, that releasing all that energy in a positive way was sure a lot stronger than trying to come up with all the answers by myself! At least I realized I wasn’t that bright!.. I also sometimes wonder how we could have so much fun, get into so much mischief and still get the work done It’s amazing how easy it is to get people to do their jobs in outstanding fashion when they don’t think they’re doing a job or going to work…they’re just having fun! Anyway, it sure worked in the Peg… and you probably didn’t realize that the job you took on was really tough… we had to change CITI… no beer – no profit..pretty simple…but coaxing the audience to come along as we made it broader and more appealing was not an easy job… CITI was so solidly placed in the market… but we nudged it enough to get into the black and that made the top floor happy. Anyway it has been rewarding watching all the things you have accomplished and I’m sure that you have had similar experiences that give you personal satisfaction =- knowing that you have made a difference and have helped so many other talented people grow and succeed. There’s no better reward than that. We should get together and tell lies…. Brenda and I (34 years now) live in Toronto, where she had an idea 9 years ago for a small niche business installing signs for major national retailers.. I helped her and our partner set it up and the two of them have made quite a success of it. It’s called Upright Signage Management & Installation.. the webside explains it… but she is justifiably quite proud of seeing her idea come to life and profitably too! Anyway, we are here, half an hour from the airport, in a condo on the lake, life is pretty good. Let me know when you are in the area and let’s figure out where we can have burger and beer! Thanks again for reminiscing..

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