Recession Mama

{August 7, 2009}   Sad News

–by Carla Marion

My heart is heavy with worry and sadness for two very good men. 

Two of my former co-workers were laid off from my old station. One had been there 31 years and is known by name more than just about anyone else in this market. He is a giant in this business. He is also practically family. He calls himself my “Dutch Uncle”. We are close. His daughter is a dear friend of mine and her daughter is around my toddler son’s age and they play together. His wife shares her incredible recipes with me and I attempt to recreate them, but with no luck most of the time because there is no better cook. I had the honor of anchoring alongside him for a few years…the best years of my news career. We are connected. And now, sadly, we have yet another thing in common. Here, Brad Barton tells us what happened and says goodbye as only he can:

“Shortly after my shift ended at 10, I was called to Brian Purdy’s office where Kurt Johnson and the new H-R director met me.  I had been out of contract since April and was on notice to expect a salary reduction of up to one-third.  I thought they might be informing me the new lower rate was about to begin.  Instead, I was told my position was being eliminated.  Since I did weather for KRLD, TSN and KVIL, had several endorsement clients and anchored a 5-hour AM drive shift, it was not exactly clear which “position” they were eliminating.  The fact is, everyone knew it was my salary that was being eliminated. 
I believe Brian and Kurt were sincerely sorry about what they had to do (to everyone) Thursday and I have no reason to think otherwise.  My high opinion of both has not changed.  They were very clear about the fact that it was strictly a financial restructuring and nothing punitive. 

I was told no one in the newsroom knew what was going on yet.  When Paul sent me upstairs, I asked him if I should finish my afternoon weather feeds before going up.  He said no.  Again, I have no reason to believe that he was aware.  Because of that, I promised Brian and Kurt that I would finish my TSN and KRLD midday weather feeds and slip out without anyone knowing what had just happened.  As my brain was descending into a kind of crisis-fog, it didn’t occur to me that I was only the first “whackee”.  It was a little more of a struggle but I recorded the last 5 pieces and logged off.   
I almost kept that promise to slip out without anyone knowing, but I told Chris Schneider privately because I needed someone I could trust to look after my personal property in the Weather Center before it would be packed up for me.  I have books, large maps, office supplies and mementos, along with 2 TVs I was donating to the station so we could replace some of the inop units we had been missing for months.  As he is a Christian brother, he and I had a brief word of prayer there in my office right before I walked out for the last time.  We both know this life is only a vapor and my career at KRLD is not the most important thing in my life.  I have a great wife who has stuck with me 32 years, two great kids I’m extremely proud of, my health and an unbelievably supportive church family, plus the prettiest 2-year old girl in Collin County.  My problems are few and small. 
Kurt and I agreed on the phone that I will continue to do spots for the clients who’ve committed to annual rates until their contracts run out and I’ve fulfilled my obligations.  I have no interest in burning any bridges at KRLD or CBS or causing any collateral damage, but you knew that already.   
Brenda was not going to be home all day, having lunch with the girls in Allen, and I didn’t want you to find out second-hand, so I called her from the road first, then I called you.  I talked with Mike last night on the Big Island. 
I wish I could express my gratitude to the listeners publicly but we know that’s not how our business works.  Bob Hathaway is the unretired champion and Neil Sperry takes my place as the second longest beard at KRLD.    
For the record, my broadcasting career at KRLD lasted 31 years, 4 months and 3 days for which I am extremely grateful.”


My other “work husband”, Mark Watkins, spent the last 7 and 1/2 years at the station. We have history and most of it includes laughing so hard that stuff came out our noses. He is a walking thesaurus/encyclopedia/dictionary. I loved working alongside him because of his brain, and because we just cracked each other up so easily. (It makes bringing you bad news every day a little easier) He and I shared the anchor desk for years.

And today they are both out of work.

Out of work + in this recession + in the radio business = not a good combination.

But they are both supremely talented men who will undoubtedly find work very soon.


recessionmama says:

From Heather: It was a very sad day for Dallas radio. I’m still too stunned to say much about it. Except I’m very proud to have had the chance of working with both men. They taught me so much. In normal “times” they would have no problem finding another gig, but these are not normal times. Radio definitely lost two of the good guys. It’s a sad day indeed.

RichC says:

Holy Smokes! Brad & Mark are the heart and sould of KRLD. I will miss both of them. What a bad day indeed!

RE says:

It is indeed a loss for the Dallas radio community. Both of these men were respected and trusted sources of information. Reliability is often lost in favor of personalities, but these fine men were able to package both with sincerity. They will be missed.

Chilly Willy says:

That does it. No more KRLD for me.

Lydia says:

Thanks Carla for sharing this. I grew up listening to Brad and was thrilled when you started working with him. Although I don’t know Mark’s work as well as his, Mark will be missed, too. Everyone start bugging WBAP to hire Carla, Brad and Mark!!!!!

Gary says:


I am SO very sorry to hear the bad news. Read the Dallas Morning News article on Brad if you haven’t already, and read the ANGRY comments towards KRLD towards the dismissal of Brad and Mark. It is a sad day indeed, and Brad and Mark will be sorely missed.I’ve been a loyal, dedicated KRLD listener since 1980….NO MORE! Brad Barton was not ONLY the backbone of the station as far as weather goes, but in my humble opinion as a former broadcaster myself, he was the BEST NEWS ANCHOR as well…

Brad, we LOVE YOU, and we will miss you…KRLD has lost this listener for GOOD…1080 AM is now ERASED from all my radio presets….

KRLD will pay the price….you might as well turn off that 50KW transmitting signal…nobody CARES and nobody will listen!

Chris from VIRTBIZ says:

No Carla, Brad and Mike? Not much left to listen for. Best to you, guys!

Linda says:

Carla – thank you so much for your post. I grew up in Dallas and spent plenty of time in the closet with my flashlight and trusty radio listening to Brad update everyone on serious storms/tornadoes. He was the BEST! I am in Santa Fe but still keep up with the Dallas area and was very sad to hear about Brad’s departure. Please let him know there are so many listeners who wish him the best and know that his next gig will probably even be better.

BTW – I loved listening to you and Mark! Wishing everyone the best!

LewP says:

Good luck Brad I know you will land on your feet.

If you ever want to let me interview you for my blog, I would love to have you.

Take care sir.


Brad was a youth in my Dad’s church years ago… he was older than me and always seemed to have much more talent than I could ever dream of. Still, he was remarkably generous, even to the pastor’s kid. Ironically, when my parents served on the mission field in Mexico, we got to hear Brad’s voice every night – by some atmospheric quirk, KRLD’s signal bounced to us 1000+ miles to the south and was crystal clear after sun down. Perhaps the greatest memory of all came when I was in college and Brad did traffic overhead; he took my kid brother and me aboard his airplane to do morning traffic. My brother had never flown before and suddenly all of Dallas Fort Worth was spread beneath him like a canvas…he spent all morning with his face pressed against window, in awe of his city. Brad pointed out the landmarks, circled Texas Stadium, and even arranged to have some of the other traffic helicopters fly nearby to greet us. I vividly recall the chopper from WBAP tuck in along the left wing and the pilot (Dick Segal) salute smartly, grinning broadly, before banking over nearly 90 degrees and dropping away like fighter aircraft…

Brad’s humility and graciousness are not anything new… his destiny to share his wonderful gifts with others was evident even as a bright-eyed kid growing up in a small church in the midwest. As he so eloquently put, life is indeed a vapor. I have a wonderful feeling we will be blessed by his talents again and soon. Godspeed to you, Brad…

Dave Conner

Brad and I have been riding to work “together” for years and years and years. As a self-anointed amateur weather freak (active almost every day in either golf or baseball), I suck in as much weather info as I can. Brad was a trusted source, who (when not hurried by the latest round of accidents on LBJ)could almost paint a weather map in your mind — at least he did in mine, and I cannot be alone. His forecasts and updates appealed to both guys like me and to the casual weather observer only concerned with the daily highs and lows.

Brad, if you’re reading this . . . THANK YOU, sir. THANK YOU very much for many hours of enjoyment, suspense, anticipation, uneasiness, wonderment, and even fear — because weather can be all of that and more. You made it real and relevant. Good luck.

— Pepper KD5AVX

John says:

I didn’t know Brad, but I met Mark a few times when I was doing HS work for TSN the past two years (never got to meet you either, btw), but both men are consummate professionals. It’s very sad to see what is happening to what used to be a great industry. The great talent is being forced out, and there are no outlets anymore to develop new talent.

I agree, Carla, it is a very bad day.

Bill says:

What a powerful testimony!

Brad, thanks for sharing with Carla and Carla, thanks for sharing with the rest of us!

KERA just purchased a second station. KERA, are you paying attention to this opportunity?

Dave C says:

Brad was a member of my Dad’s church long ago in Wichita, KS. He was always a generous person, even to the scruffy son of his pastor, and was always eager and willing to exercise his talents for others. When my parents served on the mission field in Mexico in the 1980s, they heard Brad’s voice every evening – through some atmospheric quirk, KRLD’s signal bounced 1000 miles south and was crystal clear after sunset. When I was in college, Brad to my kid brother and me up in his airplane to do morning traffic over Dallas Fort Worth. My brother had never been in an airplane, and here was DFW arrayed beneath him like a miniature model. He spent the whole flight with his face pressed to the window as Brad gingerly navigated around, circling Texas Stadium and pointing out various landmarks (including our house). He even arranged for some of the other traffic pilots to fly along side to greet us… I vividly remember a helicopter tuck into formation behind our left wing and the pilot (whom I later learned to be Dick Segal) snap a sharp salute and a big wave to my brother before banking his helicopter nearly horizontal, dropping away like a fighter aircraft.

Brad’s generosity and humbleness were never a surprise; he was destined to be a warm and engaging man, eager to share his profession, his faith and his smile with anyone he met. The market will miss his smooth baritone… my hope is someone will snatch up this wonderful talent so he can return to the work he loves and for which his prodigious gifts can be exercised. Godspeed to you, Brad Barton, and to your family.

Dave C

Texan in North dakota says:

I have listened to Mr. Barton for as long as I can remember. It has always been KRLD that I would tune to when the weather was turning. As with any and all news, I could trust what I heard from Mr. Watkins, Mr. Barton, and Miss Marion. I always knew I was back home in DFW by just the sound of those three voices on my radio. All will be greatly missed.

craig says:

Hi Carla,

I am so sorry that today was so difficult for you. This is a part of life that “sucks”. I will keep you all in my prayers.

Patrick says:

I listened to KRLD many times and can attest to Brad Barton’s abilities as a meterologist and is sad to see him go. You are correct in your equation as we humans give less and less attention to Radio we will eventually lose Raido itself.

My prayers are with you and all employes unfairly laid off.

maverick says:

Thanks Carla

Praying for Brad and Mark that they’ll find new jobs, and that maybe they’ll be able to stay in this market.

I can’t tell you how many times I tuned into KRLD when something important was happening. Ya’ll did such a great job.

Brad painted such a vivid picture of the weather for us radio listeners…you could tell he really enjoyed what he did, and his enthusiasm for not only giving accurate forecasts but teaching the listener a little bit about the “whys” of weather events really came through in his broadcasts.

Best of luck everyone

Tom B says:

I am not related, that I know of, to Brad Barton. With that disclaimer out of the way, I have to say that this is very upsetting to me.

Brad Barton and Mark Watkins are both very familiar voices. They are reasons that I have listened to KRLD for 12 years (yes, I know that Mark was only there for 7 years). I have depended on KRLD these years for integrity in news reporting. Personally, I am very disappointed in this move by KRLD or its parent company.

I will find something else to listen to… Obviously, integrity no longer matters. It is more about money!

Kev says:

I’ve been listening to KRLD pretty much daily since the first Gulf War, and all I can say upon hearing this news is….are they out of their minds??? I can’t imagine KRLD without Brad Barton.

Allow me a quick rant here: This is what happens when corporate bean-counters are in charge, rather than the creative people who actually produce things of value. I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time, the first time a creative person let a noncreative “business” person take over the parts of the job that the creative person didn’t want to do. And it always ends like this, with the creative person getting the boot, while the uncreative person remains. It’s time for the productive class to rise up and take this country back, in situations large and small.

Thanks for posting this, Carla. (BTW, I’m a fellow KNTU alum; I think we missed each other there by a few years.)

David Allen says:

Sorry to hear the News.Always counted on Brad for the Weather…And Brad if you happen to read this as someone else said you can create a mental picture of where things are happening. I know no matter what time of day I tuned in to KRLD and heard your voice during a storm It was something to worry about.
TV weather radar is OK but the Radio PICTURE seems to hold up Better when the Power goes out.

CARLA, I Hope some one in the Area sees the Local talent that is ready in the wings to start building a SMALL AT FIRST Locally owned and operated station.And might be able to get folks back to work make a little money using locally generated Ad revenue.
Thanks for Posting Brads note.

ScottP says:

Agree with all posters. THis is a loss that KRLD will feel for a long toime to come. Presets were 1080 and 1310. That’s it. I knew that if the clouds were building, Brad let me know where NOT to be. Mark brought the news with professionalism, and Carla, you were just plain great. Ernie and Jay gonna do 24/7 now? The Flipoff can only keep so much interest. So long, Brad and Mark. let us know where you land on your feet.

mary poulsen says:

Brad Barton gone, now what is the reason to tune into KRLD? I always felt safer if a storm was coming to listen to Brad. He always knew what was going on with the Texas weather better than most anyone else. I can’t
see how losing Brad’s listeners can possibly be good for business.

Judy Bryant says:

I was shocked and sad to read today about Brad and Mark. I agree with all posters and I wonder what I’ll do when bad weather strikes? I always turned to KRLD and knew I’d get the best and latest updates. I miss you Carla and am happy to learn about your blog. It took me awhile last year to learn what happened to you.

MW says:

Not Mark Watson, too. RATS!

Teresa says:

Carla, I was very sad to hear the news about Brad. When they eliminated your position, I still would listen to Brad about the weather; but now, it´s goodbye to you KRLD for good!!!!! in just 7 months, you have let go of 3 of your BEST people, and how: “your position has been eliminated”; what a joke you have become KRLD, who are you still going to keep?. Didn´t these 3 people Carla, Brad and Mark deserved better than just being called a minute before and told “your position has been eliminated as of now”?. I am furious!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brian Hill says:

A sad day for Dallas radio news listeners. When I was anchoring morning news at KPRC in Houston in the ’90s Brad did weather for us. Not only did we get great forecasting but one of the best ‘radio guys’ in the business doing it. I’m not surprised how Brad described his last day at KRLD. He’s always been and always will be a class act.

Jeri says:

How do we find out where Brad Barton will “land”?
Because that’s the radio station / web-site / TV channel I will be listening to – reading up on – or watching.

Charles says:

I’ll miss all of you guys.

All of you have handled this very well and I admire you even more now than before.

KRLD has lost another listener and I look forward to finding all of you “ON THE AIR” soon.

[…] journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee… and while my fellow recession mamas were mourning the lay-offs of two veteran journalists, I was wrestling and wasting trivial thoughts on…clothes and […]

Gilbert says:

Just got back in town and heard the terrible news. Hope Brad get’s on with someone else, I’ll be listen there. Good guys always win!

Patrick says:

Just think of all those spots that KRLD ran highlighting the fact that THEY had the only full-time meteorologist. Guess it wasn’t as important as the bottom line. Besides running commercial after commercial after commercial these days (I’m sick of all the commercials!), they also need to eliminate the high salaries. I’m so glad Internet radio is easily available today because commercial radio is so, well, commercial. KRLD has always been my favorite morning and afternoon drive news and weather source. I’m really missing Brad and Mark. I hope to hear them back on the air somewhere soon.

Switching to another station as a protest, though, is not that easy. If, on rare occasions, I listen to 820 in the morning, I’ll usually forget that the radio is still tuned to 820 when I leave for my drive home in the afternoon. I have to quickly change the station before I hear too much of their vile afternoon programming. I hope they’re NOT hiring.

Beverly says:

The morning and afternoon drive to and from work is just not the same! I loved Brad’s humor and Mark was witty as well. Unfortunately, the chemistry doesn’t work well in the morning. It is a little better in the afternoon, but it’s really awful listening to KRLD now.

Matthew says:

Very happy to hear today that Brad Barton was hired at WBAP 820 and will be the chief meteorologist for that station. This was a fabulous move on WBAP’s part for a wonderful man. Mark Davis announced this at 10:50 a.m. today!

Gary Jordan says:

CONGRATULATIONS Brad! Way to GO!!! WBAP—-Here I COME!!! I can’t tell you how many times in the last couple of months I’ve instinctively wanted to tune to 1080 for BRAD…and then realized there WAS NO BRAD on 1080…I was lost, NOW we’re FOUND again! WBAP just gained LOTS of former listeners of KRLD.


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