One Year, Already

That seemed fast…

A little over a year ago, long-time programmer and well known radio personality, Barb Richards, decided to walk away from her radio job and spend this next phase of her life doing something totally different.

When I heard of her decision, I was saddened that another one of radio’s really good talents was leaving, because the loss of each Barb Richards diminishes radio’s future.

I reached out to Barb and asked her if she would share monthly updates about her new life this first year, never imagining she would be so open and vulnerable about her setbacks and emotions. I should have realized this same willingness to share is what made her such a great leader and air talent.


Hit the one-year anniversary of my new job the other week. Hard to believe it’s been a whole year.

The toughest part was having to learn everything. My brain was a lot more tired than it had been in a long time. There were so many things in radio that were instinctive. I just did them, without thinking. I had no instincts at this new place.

One time, I just totally forgot that something had to be done. It was my third or fourth time through it, but I just forgot because my mind wasn’t triggering yet on auto-pilot. The job was very challenging and tiring the first several months.

I was surprised at how many missteps I took. There were a few where I felt so stupid. Times where I said to myself, ‘I should have known better.’ I guess I thought I was more perfect than I actually turned out to be. Ha!

It kept me on my toes to listen and learn. Yet there were many times that I knew what to do because of a similar experience in radio. I don’t know why people think a radio skill set won’t translate to many other jobs and businesses. I’m telling you it translates well. You may just have to translate for the HR person so they get it.

Radio understands life. It’s a great persepctive to bring to any table.

While I have lamented in the past about radio being so busy, job cuts and all, I quickly came to the realization that all jobs are busy these days. It makes learning very difficult. Be prepared to hit the ground running, with a learning curve you have to navigate at the same time.

In order to continue to move forward, I learned just what I needed to get the job done. There were times during this first year that all I could do was stay afloat, let alone try to learn something new. It was overwhelming at times.

I got very fond of saying, ‘I don’t know what I don’t know.’ Someone would turn to me in a meeting and say, ‘that got done, right?’ Next thing I know, I’m on the phone begging the printer to turn around my project in one day. My agenda got reset a lot because of what I didn’t know. Reset agendas are pretty much second nature in radio. So, thankfully, I didn’t waste time being upset about it. I just plowed through and got the job done.

It has taken me a year to get into the rhythm of this job, the day-to-day balance. Now I have some idea of what lies ahead as opposed to guessing, so I can balance my time more. I know the busy times and slow times, the big annual projects and the daily work.

I finally spend less time figuring out and more time doing. Last summer, I didn’t know I should be working on Festival of Trees, an annual report and a programming schedule — all at the same time. This summer there will be forward momentum on all of these projects.

I think all the experiences are pretty normal for a first year. It had just been a long time since I had a ‘first year’ so I didn’t remember the learning curve, the personality match and how to manage my time. I had to think about everything. Kind of glad that first year is done.

Of course, nothing will ever beat my radio career. But when I made the decision to leave, I shelved those treasured moments and went into my new job with an open heart and an open mind and found out the world outside of radio is a pretty darn nice place to be.