Even the wealthiest.
Yesterday, I opened AllAccess to see that Robert F.X. Sillerman had died. He was 71.
I worked for Bob Sillerman. He and Carl Hirsch hired me to be the VP of Programming for a new company they started in the mid-80s called Legacy Broadcasting.
We had stations in Los Angeles, Houston, Detroit, Dallas, Washington DC, Minneapolis and Denver.
I was allowed to write my own contract when I was hired. The only thing they insisted upon was the term: 7 years, 9 months. Seriously. I’ve never heard of a longer contract anywhere in Radio. And, since my lawyer wrote it, it could not be broken. Kind of like being a MLB player. They could fire me, but they still had to pay me off. And, I was even given a very small part of the company.
What I was too naive to understand is that I was an asset. The success of KIMN when I worked there allowed Bob and Carl to borrow lots of money from investment banks when they were building Legacy. And the length of the contract was meant to last longer than the company.
What I came to understand is that money and power serve only to reveal the character of the people possessing it.
Legacy, worth over $700 million dollars a few years after it was formed, eventually led to SFX Broadcasting, worth $2.1 billion.
I’m grateful for my time with Bob and Carl. I got to work with some wonderful, talented people. I learned a lot, about money, about myself and what was most important to me.
All that money didn’t change the fact we all face: We are going to die. It didn’t change the reality Bob faced a few days ago.
And the realization that should come with that knowledge is that, in the end, the only thing that counts is how we treat others, especially those who have less than we do, those who can’t help us in some way.
In the end, it’s all that matters.