Her Name Was Marigold

Inspiration from an unlikely source


Marigold. You’ve probably never heard of her, but you know her parents.

You’ll meet her in a minute, this girl whose life has touched mine.

Hopefully, she will remind you of your unconquerable soul.


I don’t know how to start this, and I’ll be asking questions of you that only you can answer.

The easiest decision is always to play it safe, to hide behind format.

That’s not right. Hide is too strong a word. It implies judgment and that’s not my intent at all.

It would be easy for me to just say, “Do it!” but it’s not my job at stake.

It’s not my audience that’s listening. It’s yours.

So I don’t write this already persuaded of an answer.

I write it to encourage contemplation, to begin an internal discussion of your role, of your relationship with those who choose you every day.

And I understand that your listeners are most certainly as divided as is our nation.


I’m not speaking only to women, but especially to women, and especially to those stations that are primarily targeted to women.

I feel the need to say that the best News-Talk programmer I know is female; the best AC programmer I know is female; the best marketing mind I’ve known is female; and, I have been privileged to work with some of the best female talent in our country and abroad.

Strong, intelligent, independent, successful women.

Names and stations you would know and recognize.

They don’t need my help. I’ve learned as much from them as they from me.


So, I wonder how those of you whose audience is primarily female are feeling after the revelations of the past week or so.

I wonder how these exceptional women I know — and all of you I don’t — are dealing with the audio we’ve all heard: a Presidential candidate from a major party bragging about sexually assaulting beautiful women because he’s a media star, powerful enough to do so without consequence.

I wonder if they see what I see, hear what I hear, conclude what I have concluded.

I wonder if they feel this cannot be ignored any longer, if they believe they have a responsibility to the daughters they are raising and the daughters that love their station to stand up now and be counted.

For women. For girls who listen, who pay attention to what they — you — say.

I wonder if they, or girls and women in their lives, have been sexually assaulted and suffered silently.

I wonder how many of you, how many of your female listeners, see themselves in the faces we see on TV, the faces being insulted as not worthy of sexual assault.

The outrageousness of this ego!

I know they’ve dealt with sexism.

I know they’ve had to be smarter, work harder and deal with innuendo more often than their male counterparts.

I know they are paid less even though they do the same work as males. They’ve dealt with this subtle prejudice their whole lives.

Here’s my question: How can you not address what is the lead story on every newscast (even FOX) and the headline in every newspaper?

How can you ignore the topic on every listener’s tongue?

I understand that your station is music-based, that you don’t want to be polarizing and risk losing listeners. I understand when you tell me listeners come to you for entertainment and nothing more.

I really do.

But as a woman, speaking to other women and girls, how can you pretend this isn’t happening?

As I said, I can’t answer these questions. Only you can.

And if you’re not comfortable sharing publicly, I will safeguard the privacy of any comments you email to me.

So, who is this little girl named Marigold and what does she have to do with this??

She was the daughter of Clementine and Winston Churchill.

She died in 1921, a few months before her third birthday, of septicemia.

The description of her death, and the grief it poured on her parents, in William Manchester’s 3-volume biography of Winston, left me in tears.

Such is the power of words.

Her life ended before it ever had a chance to really begin.

But that didn’t change the impact she had on her father and mother.

They had to find the courage to survive, as do all parents who lose a child.

And courage is the point of this post.