(By Eric Rhoads) Those of us who are in trade press for radio, self-described journalists, are in a highly competitive field. There are multiple publications and news platforms for a small industry, while huge industries such as real estate have only a couple of trade publications. Therefore one would think, at this time of the announced retirement of one journalist and the closing of his daily publication, that we might celebrate.
As a young man in radio who was trained in Randy Michaels-style competitive behavior that involved sending gravestones to competitors and going through the trash for promotion memos, I might have celebrated or gloated. Thankfully, time has matured me to the point where I no longer celebrate on the graves of competitors. There but for the grace of God go I — someone else could be celebrating my “death” instead. Therefore I am thankful for each competitor and the contribution each brings to our industry, and thankful that they make me stronger and keep me on my toes. Winning should not be at the expense of others; there is room for all, and those who do their jobs well and with respect will continue to thrive.
When I alerted a couple of friends I was writing something about Tom Taylor their reaction wasn’t favorable. Why acknowledge a competitor? Why, indeed.
I received the same reaction when Erica Farber was running Radio & Records and I
put her on the cover of Radio Ink, acknowledging her importance as an influencer in the Most Influential Women in Radio list. Some simply could not understand why I would be giving credibility to a competitor. Yet, at that decision moment, I had to ask myself which was more important: Should I be an objective journalist, or should I be insecure and try to protect my brand? She deserved the cover, so she was given the cover.
Tom Taylor was at this radio journalism game before I ever was, and I have to admit that he is well deserving of recognition. He is humble, not arrogant, not nasty, and not about trying to destroy lives. Instead, his intent is pure — it’s not about getting attention or building subscriptions, it’s about telling radio the stories of our world and keeping us informed in his own way.
Frankly, in the radio food chain, we don’t think much about the people who work late nights, long days, and weekends to deliver something unique and compelling. It’s just always there … till it’s not. At which time we notice for a brief moment and then replace it with something else. But I think the industry will wake up and take notice when Tom is gone. When you do, send him a nice note and thank him for decades of service.
Tom is also highly ethical. When Clear Channel (now iHeartRadio) took over Inside Radio in a lawsuit, Tom was asked to promote Clear Channel initiatives a little more than they deserved. Though his employment was at risk when the CEO at the time strongly suggested he do so, he refused. And when the insistence intensified, he left and founded RadioInfo. That’s the kind of integrity that earns a man like Tom Taylor a lifetime reputation.
I’d like to personally thank Tom Taylor on behalf of the radio industry. You made us all better, you kept your integrity, and you could not be bought. I respect that, and you’ve given me a role model for how I and others should always behave. You’ve been a good industry soldier, loyal, passionate, dedicated, and filled with good intentions, always.
Tom, I’d like to personally present you with a Lifetime Achievement Award at our
November Radio Ink Forecast conference. I hope you’ll accept, and we, as an
industry, will be there to raise a glass and give a standing ovation in honor of your
decades of service to radio.
We wish you well in your endeavors. You’ve served us well.
Founder and Chairman