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KFRC San Francisco Radio WFIL PhiladelphiaDr. Don Rose was one of my radio heroes.

Not because he was so successful, but because he achieved his success by being himself on the air…and by remaining an incredibly nice, warm person even when he dominated the 4th largest market in the U.S. (In San Francisco, there was Dr. Don…and then there was everyone else.)

By the time of PD Grad School 2000, Dr. Don had retired from radio. He and Gary Owens graced us with a 2-person panel session called “The Radio Entertainer.”

This brief excerpt is from that session.

That’s one of the secrets that successful radio professionals don’t quite realize until they hang up their headphones:

No matter how successful they become, how many fans they have, how much they’re honored by their community or by the radio industry, the success — in some important ways, their very existence — is ephemeral.

When they retire, or when they suddenly discover there’s no place for them in radio any more, their fame fades quickly.

The good ones put as much dedication, sweat and hard work into their careers as does any other professional. But at the end of their careers, the successful architects can look back at the buildings that bear their imprints. The artists have their paintings. The authors have their books.

But the radio personalities? All we leave behind are the memories we helped to create for others.

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  • Glenn Garvin November 30, 2012, 9:12 am

    Well, you’re not totally correct.


  • Dan O'Day November 30, 2012, 10:36 am

    Of all the times I’ve been interviewed by newspapers, all but one misquoted me — included direct quotes of thing I never said.

    The Los Angeles Tines, New York Times, et al …All of them got it wrong. The only one to quote me with 100% accuracy: the student newspaper for Stanford University, when I was a jock in San Francisco.

    The student reporter was Glenn Garvin (the commenter above).

    Re: The “Cruisin'” series:

    1. They weren’t actual radio air checks. They were faked (um,
    “voice tracked”) in a recording studio.

    2. Anyone who sells a copy of that LP on eBay will make more from than Dr. Don did; he told me he was stiffed on the deal and never made as much as a penny from it.

  • Scott Snailham November 30, 2012, 7:42 pm

    That’s 99% of the people on the planet right now. Radio talent comes and goes based on popularity and technology. You don’t need a lot of humans anymore on the air. Celebrity voice tracking and computers acting as jukeboxes playing “60 minute music marathons” have replaced the need outside of a morning show.

    This is why I’m big on when you have a gig, are successful in whatever you consider success, ENJOY IT while it lasts. Life is too short to dwell on what might have been, if you’re better then someone else, or any of that BS that exists in the ego driven society that is media.

    Eventually your life will boil down to being 6 feet under and a obit in a local paper and a few memories from friends and family for most of us. Don’t waste it. Enjoy it!