Recession Mama











–by Carla Marion

The dark clouds over Dallas/Fort Worth didn’t seem so threatening on Tuesday for those of us who heard that wonderfully reassuring voice on the radio again. Sure, it was a different frequency, but the voice hadn’t changed a bit. Here, meteorologist Brad Barton fills us in on what’s been going on…and shares the exciting news:

brad

Carla,
 
Here’s an update on what’s happened in the two months since I was dismissed from CBS.  It’s been an exciting time.   
 
First, Brenda and I are grateful for every act and expression of kindness from the management and staff at KRLD, many others of all stripes and our Bethel Methodist Church family in Southlake and throughout Texas.  The comments and best-wishes are again, just heartwarming. Carla, Don, Ed Spencer, Jason Sickles and Steve Blow of the Dallas Morning News, you have helped us more than I can ever express.  And I must thank God for his faithful and providential care. 
Case in point:  Although our prized Blue Bird Wanderlodge had been on the market for over a year, we really needed to sell it after I was laid off.  Just one month later, on Labor Day, a couple in California who thought the coach was already sold, found it again, called us, agreed on a price and wired the money within 24 hours.   
 
As for employment, I have begun a new business known as WeatherTrust to deliver syndicated weather forecasts and other content to various clients. 
 
My websites are coming on line now, including
http://www.brads-weather.com, bradsweather.com, weatheroncall.com and others.  The main point of my website is to alert you by phone of severe weather in your area, then give you a link to click to hear live streaming storm coverage as I’ve done on the radio.  Soon, your  internet-capable phone will be your emergency weather link wherever you are- in your car, at your kids’ soccer game or in your closet when the power goes out at the height of the storm.     

I’ve also had a couple meetings with corporations both in and out of media to discuss some very interesting ideas.   
 
But the crowning jewel of the past two months has been a plan quietly formulated by Tyler Cox to bring me on board as the new Chief Meteorologist of WBAP.  Since 1922, WBAP has been a perennial leader in all of its chosen formats.  And beyond the richness of its past, the WBAP of today still has principled leadership that appreciates talent and loves broadcasting, not just the profits that come from broadcasting. Just to be a part of one of the eight most powerful, influential and honored radio stations in America is a privilege few people will ever know.  To be entrusted with weather coverage where the legendary Harold Taft once held court, is an honor and solemn responsibility that I take very seriously.  I am humbled and extremely grateful.  And I already feel at home.  Since the deal was kept secret for some time, it was a surprise to most people at WBAP, and a shock to Hal Jay, whose look was just priceless.    

The next time the skies turn dark, just remember, I’m right here in Weather Center 820.  The weather leader in North Texas radio is WBAP.

Brad, this makes me just want to stand up and cheer!

On a personal note, I am filled with joy that you have a new radio home …and what an amazing home it is. (I am beyond thrilled to be a back-up, fill-in anchor at WBAP.)

What a small and crazy world.



–by Carlawbap

Some pretty strong storms blew through the Dallas/Fort Worth area a few hours ago, and it was so reassuring to hear a trusted voice back on the air, telling us where the storms were headed and what we should expect. Meteorologist Brad Barton, who had been on the air in Dallas for more than 30 years but was shockingly laid off two months ago from another news/talk station, made his return to the DFW airwaves today on WBAP News/Talk 820AM.

Having worked with Brad for more than a decade, I can tell you that he is once again where he belongs: behind a microphone, and in front of a weather radar. And the people of North Texas once again have a place to  turn when the skies darken.

We’ll be hearing from Brad, in his own words, very soon…so stay tuned!

A BIG “Congrats!” to Brad and Brenda and to WBAP for this wonderful news.



{August 14, 2009}   Oh Happy Weekend!

–by Carla

It’s been alooooong week. Toddler Boy is smack dab in the middle of the Terrible Two’s. I’m this close to throwing in the towel. You win, sweet boy. Watch as much TV as you wish, eat whatever (or how little) you want, sit in your dirty diaper all day and never nap again. You win. And now they BOTH have tiny, little, not-very-cute, matching colds.  

Anyhoooooooooooooooo, like I said, it’s been a long week.

It’s also been just over one week since the most shocking round of layoffs in Dallas/Fort Worth media I can personally recall, with Brad Barton and Mark Watkins being let go from CBS news/talk radio station KRLD 1080AM (from where I was let go back in December).

As you know from my previous posts, I’m close with Mark and Brad (I had the great honor to have anchored alongside both), and Brad and his family are close personal friends of mine and my family. In fact, we’re getting together tonight for coffee and dessert…our first real chance to sit down and talk since his layoff. Brad and Brenda were here at the house within a week of my layoff….something for which I am eternally grateful.

The upside of being laid off: You have heaps of time to get together with friends and family and reconnect with people. I’ve met more of my neighbors in the past 8 months than I had in the almost 6 years we’ve been here. And most of THEM have been laid off, too.

How crazy is that!?



{August 11, 2009}   Veteran Journalist Loses Job

From Heather

Mamas and Papas,

It’s been a rough year for journalist everywhere. I have personally seen 10 of them get sacked since December. They’re friends, wonderful humans and extremely talented. So it seems so unfair to see them go. Losing your job often feels like someone ripping away part of your identity. So many Americans feel this way now. It’s just another testament of the recession.

Longtime KRLD (1080 AM) Meteorologist Brad Barton and KRLD afternoon anchor Mark Watkins were the latest friends to go. Their departure last week caused sadness and outrage in the community.

Here’s Mark’s recollection of the day he was laid off. It really applies to anyone who has ever been let go, fired or downsized. It’s honest, true and heartbreaking. Thanks for sharing Mark.

on the air

Happy Trails

By: Mark Watkins

This week I joined the millions of other Americans who have lost their jobs thanks to the folly and greed that led to the recession. Far brighter people and better writers have addressed that elsewhere, so I will not do so here. Bitching gets tiresome after a while, regardless of its merits.

Here I will speak of the man who terminated me — a sort-of Everyman in the Corner Office. He is a good man and it pained him to pull the trigger on employees he had known for years and liked.

 Most of his day was spent in such closed-door, one-on-one meetings, all unhappy and woeful. He is paid well for the position he holds, but on this day it didn’t feel worth the anguish he inflicted on talented, skilled and valued employees. He said all the right things befitting his position: he professed his care and vowed to do anything he could. He listened attentively to every plea, curse word and rage, as if he were a preacher consoling a confessor.

Virtually no one else knew in advance of the coming tragedy. His second- and third-in-commands had not been briefed, the decision was so quick. It was evident to those he terminated that the order had come from On High: “Cut, cut deep and cut now.”

It’s brutal out there, said the sacker to the sackees. And on this day, Brutality slung its scythe with deadly aim.

Card keys and other such company property were collected then and there and forms were signed and witnessed by the only other being in the death-house meetings: the HR person, charged with detailing how the condemned would be executed and how long it would take to exhaust the last, pathetic breath of life in the now-former employees.

The slain carried themselves from the gallows to their lockers and desks to perform the sad ritual of removing all possible evidence of their existence. Some of them appeared to colleagues to be visibly wounded; others were just unusually quiet. All left the premises quietly as their co-workers watched, speechless, at dead men walking.

The executioner went home at the end of the day with a knot in his stomach and a foul taste in his mouth. The business that he once loved so passionately had become — much more so in recent years — a spiteful and foul thing, virtually unrecognizable now.

What lies before him in the days ahead is a company of edgy and frightened employees. Today was a repeat of previous restructurings. His employees, already spread thin, must take on even more. Hell, he’s laden with additional responsibilities and no additional compensation.

But he must carry on, leading and encouraging, remolding and pushing. He is the face of the company. To all his shaken flock who so earnestly seek reassurance and hope, he must appear steadfast and confident in the future. He must make omelets. And chicken salad. And lipsticked pigs.

At least he has a job. I don’t.  

 microphone

 

 

 

Please check out Mark Watkins’ blog at http://www.markthenewsman.blogspot.com/

You won’t be disappointed.

 



–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).

brad

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.



{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.



et cetera