We last left off where PD Bruce Gilbert had (wisely) resigned. The CBS numbskulls brought in Spittle,Gavin. He had worked at 105.3 before. He was PD when Russ Martin would tape him to trees and had a buzzer in his office. If the buzzer went off, it was his cue to dash into the control room and does whatever Russ wanted him to do.
Let’s move to January this year. Bruce was gone; enter Tim Collins as interim PD. talk about surreal and otherworldly. Brain dead moves would soon be commonplace. He was over his head. And he was also a candidate for permanent PD. But it was Spittle,Gavin that got the job. His first day would be the Monday after the Super Bowl. His first order of business was an all-staff meeting. With his mirthless candor he proceeded to tell us there would be changes. Things would be different. And out of nowhere he says, “Greg, your list segment is gone”. Calling me out personally in a mandatory meeting was when I knew he was mentally measuring me for a coffin. One thing to know, our ratings were in the shitter. Horrible and embarrassing! Even under Bruce they weren’t very good. But now it was Spittle,Gavin to implement his ways. He wanted to be more ‘Cowboy Friendly’. Since we were the flagship he didn’t want any more attacks. He goes, “we all know Jerry and he sometimes makes some puzzling moves. Let’s move on from there and highlight the positive”. Richie and I looked at each other and shook our heads as if to know we were doomed. Spittle,Gavin wanted to be in our show meetings (a definite no-no in talk show radio). He also wanted to meet with us after every show. We complied and to our astonishment, most meetings were canceled because Spittle,Gavin either forgot or went home early. But it was the content mandate that ensured terrible carelessness and intellectual chaos. In talk radio you view a show as segments; each is its own show. With our five-hour show we had 20 segments, and that is a motherfucker. Research showed that our off-shoot segments were the most popular; Dead and gone, current events of the day, Sybil’s Stuff, Whitt’s End among others. Spittle,Gavin demanded 90% sports or in radio land 18 segments, and not ever going more than two segments with a Cowboy story, and remember, only the positive when it came to Jerry’s Boys. So we went to work, and it didn’t work. For the months of February, March and April we were destroyed. Ratings were dismal, and I tried to protest, but it fell on deaf ears. Remember, I was a short timer. Spittle,Gavin knew it, and I did too.
In the media world a secret can’t be kept, although The Ticket was an exception. (I’ll tell ya about it somewhere down the road.) In my 27+ years in DFW media I developed many sources, most being secretaries, engineers, and especially the sales crew. Those people know what’s going on and what is gonna happen. My back channels were meandering and deep. So along mid-March the rumors started flowing. It was also the time that RAGE began to break from format. We took more chances. Our sports/non-sports segments were at about 75-25. My stance being that I’d rather be fired using my script than being canned with someone else’s, but I knew I was a dead duck. Spittle,Gavin is a dour, cryptic, uncommunicative twerp. His ambiguous motives left everyone scratching their heads. Think Gilligan and Frank Burns. He is also a fibber. More than a few times I caught him in twists of truth. Let me tell you a story. On the first day of the NCAA tournament we were doing a remote at Papps G’s. The place was packed and the emotions were high. And if you remember there were several games that came down to the wire. Keep in mind that the Fan was the exclusive carrier of the tourney. We had been promoting this for over a month. And by having exclusive rights no one could carry the games.
Even while doing the show, Richie and I kept a hard look at games. With upsets on the line we called and asked Spittle,Gavin if we could do a live ‘look-in’ which basically meant going live to these games. He said, “Well is anyone in market carrying the games?” Richie and I almost swallowed our microphones. We said, “No…We own the exclusive rights”. Anyone else that carried the game would face stiff fines and punishment. He then said, “Yeah, that’s a good idea let’s do it”.
So the PD didn’t even know we were carrying the games?
It was mind-boggling and didn’t take long for whole staff to know this. That’s what we were up against. A PD with a warped sense of news, mandating the ass-kissing of the Cowboys, micro-managing show content and now didn’t even know the basic rules of exclusivity. Spittle,Gavin and Tim Collins projected jungle derring-do, but in reality they were sailing the S.S. Dipshit into murky waters. It was pathetic fatalism at its best. Around the first week of April I couldn’t take this Green Acres radio. It was manned by Fred Ziffel, Hank Kimbel and the Ralf brothers. So I proceeded to Spittle,Gavin’s office, and told him I knew I was on the chopping block; that Firing was inevitable. So I suggested we do an exit plan. He seemed startled. “How did I know this?” He says “no you’re not to be fired. You’re a big part of our future plans. Not sure why you’d think like that”. I told him to look me in eye and tell me. He looked at me for a fraction of second, then bowed his comb-over head and answered while beaming at his desk. I repeated, are you sure you want to stay with that answer. This time he was gazing at his shoes as he states, “I promise, you are not in danger”. This owlish, high minding effete defeatist held my career in his incapable mitts.
So then April 15 came. The Monday after the NRA Texas 500 I strolled into the station at my usual 12:15. Richie and I were joking about the weekend when Spittle,Gavin appeared. He said he’d like to see me in his office. I put down my iPad and strolled in. I had a major blow up with Tim Collins at Texas Motor Speedway. It got ugly as I told him just how clueless he was. I thought I would be scalded and to talk more Cowboys. So I walk in the room and was greeted by………………..
Sorry, but I’ll tell you the climax of this meeting tomorrow….