Recession Mama

{August 9, 2009}   Brad Barton Update, In His Words

–by Carla Marion

It’s been a few days now, but word continues to spread about Brad Barton’s shocking layoff from Dallas/Fort Worth News/Talk CBS radio station KRLD (1080AM).


The longtime meteorologist/news anchor/morning news host is among the most trusted names in Dallas/Fort Worth media and his unceremonious termination is still sending shock waves across North Texas, as you can read in the comment section of the previous post. Brad and I have been in touch quite a bit these past few days. I worry about him and Brenda more than he knows and having just been through the “your position has been eliminated” axing myself, I can bet I know exactly what he’s going through right now. But he is a man of extraordinarily strong faith with a family equally as strong and those two things matter more to him than any job could have ever mattered.

Here, once again, Brad gives us an update on what life has been like the past few days, seeing all of the comments on not only this blog, but the various others in the area:

“Wow.  I feel like Jimmy Stewart at the end of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ “the richest man in town.” 
I can’t thank Carla enough for setting a match to this little firestorm as only she can.  I never realized I had so many friends and not just listeners, of course, with friends like Carla and Don, you don’t need many others. ;}
The public comments here and in the media blogs have been kind beyond measure and almost all positive.  One negative was a former radio announcer who liked “my predecessor” better.  My most recent predecessor (several years ago) was Mark Watkins who co-anchored mornings with none other than Carla Marion.  As a former radio announcer myself, I can say Mark’s combination of voice, script delivery and recall puts him among the elite talents in broadcasting.  If I were in charge of finding network talent for a new national network, Mark Watkins would be the first one I called.  Compare him to any of the current radio network anchors and he’s already in the top ten percent.  I’ve been Mark’s supervisor, trainer and co-worker but I’m happiest just to be his friend.  I hope we can get together next week.   If the former radio announcer was referring to “my predecessor” in the KRLD Weather Center, there was none.  I started it from scratch on a borrowed desk with an HP 386 in the “wire room” of KRLD.  Maybe I’ll write a book. 
And to hear from David Conner and remember his great family was an extraordinary treat.  I hope we can meet again soon.  I finally broke down and put up a Facebook page to keep from sponging off Carla, but I warn you, I’m just a neophyte.”

Keep those comments coming, I know it means the world to Brad and Brenda.


Katy says:

I think you should write a book, Brad! Texas weather is so unpredictable, as is life. It was great working with you briefly. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with Carla. I know the listeners really appreciate all of your years at KRLD! You’ve made a big impact in a big market.

Brad Barton says:

Katy, how nice to hear from you. I know that you are great friend to Carla and many others here in DFW. The feeling is mutual about working with you. I hope to see you again and catch up.

recessionmama says:

From Heather: What a perfect description of Mark Watkins. He really is a top notch pro! I’m honored to call him a friend and mentor. He was always so much fun to work with and his ability to recall copy and anchor off the cuff were brilliant. He will be greatly missed. He was a HUGE asset to the station.

Now a few words about you Brad.
I will never forget the first time I met you. I was 23 and just hired to do the “overnight” shift at KRLD. I was pretty “green” when it came to weather, but you made me feel welcome. I had been told by the news director that if I “screwed up the weather” then I would get fired. Obviously I was terrified. Thankfully, you showed me how to read a weather radar, answered all of my questions and told me to call anytime I felt uncomfortable. You never complained about my middle-of-the night phone calls. I aways felt better when I could pitch the weather off to you. You were literally the “calm” in the storm. I can’t bear the thought of weathering a Texas storm without you guiding us all. But I know God has great plans for you. He always does.

Brad Barton says:

Heather, I remember those early days fondly and now, how you’ve grown into the well-balanced quality human being you are. Great talent, great person, great family, the whole package. Thanks for sharing those first experiences. They bring back happy memories. As with Katy, I look forward to seeing you again.

recessionmama says:

Thanks Brad! As always you are such a pro and a class act.

My association with KRLD goes back a long way. My mother was a devoted listener who used to talk about listening to the station when she was a young girl in the Texas Panhandle in the 1930s. I got up for school hearing Chim Terry from the kitchen and listened to Eddie Barker on Comment in the afternoon. Later, I worked there myself on two occasions–at the original KRLD-FM in the early seventies in its album-rock days and in the early eighties as an announcer on the big band music segments and, later, as a board op after the switch to all news in ’82. And I have remained a loyal listener even though I have been out of the business for over twenty years. It has been incredibly sad to hear the station deteriorate with its shrinking staff, impoverished news coverage and proliferation of mindless rant shows. But the saddest thing of all is the dismissal of Brad Barton, just about the last link to the old days when KRLD was a genuinely great radio station. I knew Brad only slightly during my eighties tenure, but I have respected his standards and depended on his weather coverage all these years. He will be missed in so many ways.

Myra West says:

I was shocked and saddened to learn that Brad is no longer with KRLD. He is being missed by more people than can be counted. Thanks, Brad, for the years your wonderful voice came to us, bringing information that would help us throughout our days.

Kat says:

Carla, thank you so much for the info. I could find nothing but speculation out there. Brad, there are so many praying for you and your family. I can’t wait to follow you to your new spot! I admire your rising above but it WAS one of KRLD’s more (out of many!) stupid decisions!

Mark Watkins says:

In my career, few have influenced my betterment more than Brad Barton. When I first arrived in D/FW in 1981 to rebuild KLIF News, I marveled at his skills. Working with him at KRLD these last years has been inspiring and instructive. He is by any measure tops, and I am honored to have worked with him.

Martha says:

I can’t imagine KRLD without Brad Barton. His was the voice of reason and civility in a radio world that now cares little for either. I will continue to miss him and am quite sure that I won’t be tuning in each morning as I used to, and certainly not for the weather.

Phyllis Smith says:

I was on vacation when the ax fell on Brad and Mark. I am so sad to lose such talented, honorable men. Reading your descriptions of what happened on that dreary day is a testament to your incredible humanity and ethics. I, along with everyone else I’m sure, worry about the same fate. At this point I have the only steady paycheck in my house while Don works diligently as a freelance Cameraman and Editor to find whatever work he can in this blasted recession. Losing my job..well…I don’t even want to think about it. I just want to say thank you to both Brad and Mark for their lessons in humility, forgiveness and kindness. I only worked with you guys for about 2 1/2 years, but I will never forget your amazing talent and work ethic. Brad..I expect you to pass on some delicious recipes. Who knows…maybe with some time off you could reinvent your career as the next great chef! With love and respect to you both…

Marcia says:

I have listened to KRLD for several years now, especially on my drive into work very early in the morning and on my drive home in the afternoon. When I came to work Monday morning, KRLD was on my car radio and I heard Mitch Carr giving the news. I was a little surprised but thought maybe he just filling in for someone. Then it slowing began to sink in by today (Wednesday) that I had not heard the words “filling in for” used when Mitch’s name was announced. So I started searching and found that both Brad Barton and Mark Watkins had been let go from KRLD. Huge mistake, KRLD! I had someone tell me once that the answer is always MONEY and I find that more true every day. How sad that someone who has been with a company for over 30 years is not valued as a person or an employee; someone who has made this station what it is today. All management saw was how much money they could save by firing Brad. You get what you pay for and while you may be able to hire someone for less money I seriously doubt you will ever get someone as talent and well respected. Well, they just lost a listener. There are plenty of other stations in town I can and will listen to. I stopped watching channel 5 over the Rebecca Miller firing and I will now stop listening to KRLD for the Brad/Mark firings.

Mike says:

Brad –

I never met you, but I feel you’ve kept me and my family safe for as long as I’ve had one. We feel that a part of our family is missing.

Please let us know when you get a new job – we’ll be listening!

Bobby says:

I have read many of the comments about and by Brad Barton. Somewhat like one of the other comments, I wondered why Brad wasn’t giving us the weather updates…..well, when we checked the station personality log — NO Brad Barton…that is when the worst became obvious.

No person is perfect. No weather forecast is perfect. BUT our family has relied on Brad’s forecasts for many years. My #1 station was KRLD for weather and news….that is until Monday..just after finding out what had happened.

It seems that Brad is the kind of person who would have made a positive thing out of this “budget cut” … not the kind of person to rant and rave about injustices. Maybe giving him an opportunity to tell his audience what was happening would have been so much better. Folks would relate to this. My goodness…how many others have faced the same situation of being let go because of budget issues.

But the way this was handled…..reminds me of the firing of Tom Landry. That was probably the worst media disaster and personnel mis-handing of recent times…maybe until this one. One would think that history would be a good teacher….maybe not…obvioiusly not.

Anyway, I wish Brad and Mark the very best.

We are waiting to see where Brad ends up giving us the best in weather….can’t wait to re-program that ‘ol radio button, update my favorites on my computer, and get ready for a new station to listen to.

Thanks for 31 years of faithful, dependable, professional service to our community.

Richard K. Jarrell says:

Brad – I have been a daily listener to KRLD for 25+ years and a big part of that was listening to and trusting you. I feel the same about Mark Watkins, another true professional. I am furious with KRLD to see you both gone. At first, I thought you were on vacation, then I realized you had lost your job. Where ever you land is where I’ll be tuning my radio to. God bless you and lift your spirits during this trial.
Best regards, Richard Jarrell

Lyn-G says:

Brad — I have also been a daily listener to KRLD for some years and I have come to depend on the accuracy, professionalism, and outright “sanity” of your weathercasts. I also thought you were just on vacation from KRLD and was sad (and mad!) to learn that CBS chose to let go the singularly best weatherman in this market. I have now deleted KRLD from my radio scans. I am praying and hoping to soon learn that another station has decided to hire you. May God bless you and your family during this time between jobs, Lyn-G in Grapevine.

Joy says:

Since moving to Texas, you are the one that I had come to trust and rely on for accurate weather reports. It was always comforting to know that you were there, keeping us all up to date on the weather, especially during storms. It is hard to listen to KRLD without you there–there is definitely a HUGE void without you.

Please let us know as soon as another station has hired you!

Thank you for your many years of wonderful service,

Polly says:

We have all looked forward to some good rains and the cooling winds of Autum. It is not the same without you. I too am anxious to know where you move to. KRLD has some good programs and people but, it was your weather casts the kept me loyal. I live in the county where all farmers are weather nuts. I was so sorry to lose your level headed support in storms.
May God bless you and yours.

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