Here is the unvarnished truth. The whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have work at XRT for 44 years. In dog years that’s…..crap. Can’t find my calculator. A long time. For the radio business…..an extremely long time. I was asked in 1981 to take over the morning shift for four weeks until they found a replacement. I took one for the team. I spent many years of the prime of my life working the all night shift. I had no problem staying up past sunrise.
Waking up at 4:30 AM was a real challenge. But it was only for four weeks. Eight months later I asked my boss if they’d found anyone yet to do mornings. Oh….why don’t you keep doing it. Groovy. (P.S. future management types….good way to promote someone without having to give them a raise.)
So for the next eleven years I got by on very little sleep, and then was told they were putting me back on middays because they finally found what they were looking for. I was informed it wasn’t a demotion. But it was in the eyes of the world. Ouch. Here comes the unvarnished truth part. I was offered jobs, even mornings, at other stations because they thought the time was right to lure me away. And if XRT had replaced me with a “shock jock” or “morning zoo”, I would have gone for the doubling of my salary and saving face by staying on the glamorous morning shift somewhere else.
But they replaced me with Lin Brehmer. I knew Lin because he had been our Music Director then moved to a place colder than Chicago for a year. I stayed at XRT (and I didn’t get a raise that time either), because I knew Lin. I knew his heart. I knew what he was made of. I knew his passion for music. I knew he was the only one I could talk to about John Fahey and Leo Kottke. I knew he loved his wife and son with even more passion than he had for music. I knew he could make me laugh. I knew he’d be up for trying to make it from Belmont & Cicero downtown to Heaven On 7 before they closed for lunch. I knew we could order three entrees and appetizers for the two of us. I knew he could recite more poetry than I’d ever need to here. I knew we both bled blue for the Cubs. I knew he had the courage to stand for something and never fall for anything. I was proud to follow him on the air. You can’t call that a demotion….to follow Lin Brehmer.
He’s a great hugger. He laughs like he really means it. He’s the loudest big baby I’ve ever met in my life. I love him.
I remember 25 years ago, if I’d gotten a dollar for everyone that was upset that I was replaced in morning drive, I’d be rich. If I got a dollar now from everyone that loves Lin, I’d be ever richer. See. I told you. Give him a chance. He’ll grow on you….like a fungus. And if I got a dollar for every time he made me laugh when there wasn’t a microphone around, for every time he consoled me as we went through that time of life when our loved ones passed away, if I got a dollar for every time I’ve felt proud to know him….I could put all of your kids through college.
We are all richer because Lin Brehmer offered up his physical and mental health to get us up in the morning and be our best friend in the world. It’s not just a slogan. It’s life. Our life with Lin.
I love you Lin, ya big baby. Now let’s see if you can do another 25! I got your back. We can do it.