Friday, March 2, 2012

Goodbye CNNRadio, old friend

It is the end of an era.

An era which brought me to New York. To network radio. To where I am and, in some ways, who I am today.

On April 1, 2012, CNNRadio, where I worked as New York correspondent for a decade, will cease to exist as it once was. No longer will it be a full service network. Instead, it will become a podcast service.

The correspondents, thankfully, will remain employed. Most of the rest of the staff, sadly, will not. Editors. anchors. Gone.

Some who have toiled for years. Mike Jones, I'm reminded by another former CNNRadio journalist, just celebrated his 25th anniversary there.

In some ways, this is a result of a changing media world. Perhaps CNN has lost some of its luster. The brand no longer attractive to as many radio stations. Or maybe it's just the economy. CNNRadio is not the first radio network to fold. It probably won't be the last.

I can write from my very narrow perspective about what it was like to work as correspondent for CNNRadio. The stories I covered. The lives I may have affected. The lives that, without question, affected me. People who were kind enough to invite me into their spheres for a period of time and to share with me - and by extension - my audience - a degree of intimacy. The kind of intimacy only radio can instill.

I remember being on the air - live - as the second tower came rumbling down on a day that remains as vivid today as then - September 11, 2001. Choking back my tears and emotions. Trying my best to remain objective. Failing at it.

When my vice president and general manager, Robert Garcia, phoned me the next day, I was afraid it was to tell me I was through - for being so opinionated in my reporting. Instead, he simply said, "this is the reason I hired you Gary."

It was that kind of leadership that made CNNRadio the family - and the fantastic news organization it was.

But being a correspondent in a bureau far removed from the daily activities of a network doesn't give one a full overview of what CNNRadio was. Robert, on the other hand, the man CNN entrusted to grow radio into a major player in a very competitive world, saw it from all sides. So I direct you to his blog. Where he, in much better fashion than I, can tell you from the heart how wrenching it is for him to see those left behind when he moved on suffer the news that their years of efforts have come to this.

Please click on this link to read his moving piece. And please join me in wishing my former colleagues and friends at CNNRadio the best of luck during these very trying times.

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