Years ago I worked as a Radio Research Director for a company that owned sixteen TV stations, and twenty-nine radio stations. I would put together rating sheets, promotional items, you name it.
It was a good paying job, and I was with them for about three years. The funny thing about this job was that two things that were most important for this job were two things I didn’t know shit about.
Number one: the company was Hispanic. I didn’t know Spanish, I knew enough to curse out your average a-hole but not much more. I’d learn.
Number two: Everything in this company was done in Microsoft PowerPoint. I never opened the program. I’d learn.
The company had an in-house AM radio station and the more popular FM station also in-house. It was always a blast to watch the various Ranchera bands come in to play live on one of the stations. They’d have their trumpets, and accordions. It was wild.
Of the many people I met, including Jenni Rivera, Jose Luis, a guy who hosted a TV show, which was the Spanish equivalent of the Jerry Springer show, seemed to have the most impact on the Hispanic community. At my initial interview, I was taken to the set of the show. They showed me which chairs would be covered in some kind slime that dropped from overhead when audience members disliked a guest.
The biggest thing I noticed was the communities’ love of Jose Luis. Let me explain, if I have a problem in my life I would never in a million years think to contact Jerry Springer in hopes that he may help me out.
One morning I got to work early, around 7:30 or so, and there was a woman waiting outside the building. She waved me down, from what I understood, as she only spoke Spanish, was that she wanted Luis to help her to stop being ripped off by her racist landlord. Apparently, the guy knew she was illegal and he changed the rent every month with an attitude of “What are you going to do about it, you’re illegal?”
I explained, with my less than stellar Spanish, that Jose Luis doesn’t arrive until about 11:00, so I could take the message or any info she wanted, and I’d track him down to deliver the message.
She pulled out copies about a dozen Xeroxed sheets of paper, leases, notes and receipts. I put them into an envelope and said, “I’ll hand him these in a few hours.”
She looked pleased and said in broken English, “Mexicans don’t need to be treated like this.”
I nodded and walked away.
Hours later I found Luis right as he was walking to his dressing room. I handed him the papers and explained the story. He said that he received about five of these a day. But he would have his assistant look into it. If he couldn’t help, he could tip someone at the paper to investigate.
I don’t know what the outcome was, but I do like that it wasn’t blown off.
Unfortunately, when radio rating dip layoffs happen, ratings dipped I was let go.