Monday, November 17, 2014

Let Me Second That Motion

The announcement from Country Radio Broadcasters that Jeff Smulyan will be given the 2015 Tom Rivers Humanitarian Award during the opening ceremonies of Country Radio Seminar 2015 is another great decision from the seminar's board.

If you want to peruse the many, many wonderful giving works Jeff has spearheaded and been involved in, click here to read the complete press release listing a lot of them.

I'd like to add a personal reflection on what Jeff has created for the people who work for and with him, which in today's corporate radio competitive environment is another level of humanitarianism.  As their company website notes:  "Emmis is the 9th largest radio group in the U.S (based on listeners) and has been voted the Most Respected Radio Company in a poll of industry CEOs."

Other owners wishing to establish a positive productive "family" environment for their employees would do well to go to click around and learn about a winning culture. 

He purchased my hometown baseball team, reunited two guys named Griffey and turned a losing ball club into a winner, though it wasn't a winner for Jeff.  He used radio marketing tactics and rallied a community to the team's side, getting attendance up after years of apathy by local fans.  He lost money on the deal, but made baseball fun again for Puget Sound fans.

That's when I first observed that this was a guy who did the right thing first and worried about bottom line secondarily.

"Emmis" is the Hebrew word for “truth," and I first got a chance to work with the company when they purchased "KIX" (now "The Arch") in St. Louis from Zimmer.  

We had a very good run and thanks to a wonderful group of people, managed to make a pretty good showing against a powerful incumbent.

In Nashville I was a fly on the wall when they made their first presentation to the Music City community after buying the now defunct KZLA, which was very impressive.  

Of course, from Terre Haute, Indianapolis and many other legendary radio stations, they have shown their ability to win long term in many markets.

I brought up the no-doubt painful Mariners, KZLA and KIX situations for two reasons, having seen Emmis' greatmedia.greatpeople.greatservice® mission in action for a very long time, even in situations where circumstances led them in the infamous "other direction."   

Their people and the culture Jeff and his team have innovated show "class" even in places where it's not easy to do so, living Eleven Commandments of doing business with a humanitarian tone indeed.

Charitable works are terrific, and Jeff has performed many, but the way you live your life in all aspects is even more noteworthy.

Our entire industry is better because of the values exemplified every day by Jeff Smulyan.

1 comment:

Fred Jacobs said...

Jaye, I just stumbled upon this post about Jeff Smulyan, and you have echoed my thoughts. I remember when I was launching Classic Rock. The Emmis guys brought me into Indy because they were considering it for NYC. They ultimately signed on a loser station called Hot97, but I never forgot how respectfully I was treated.

Later, our company worked with Emmis in Austin, St. Louis (for the mighty, mighty KSHE), Chicago, and other markets. Every step of the way, it was a pleasure and honor to work with dedicated broadcasters with a common goal of doing the right thing and making it work as a business.

Jeff has shown his vision and courage in recent years with the NextRadio initiative. He is totally deserving of this honor.

Thanks for taking the time to recognize it for the smart move it is.