Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Holy Crap! They fired Greg.

That was my reaction when I saw the Robert Feder article late yesterday afternoon. Greg Solk, the VP of programming for Hubbard Broadcasting, has been fired in what the company is calling a "restructuring".

This story is shocking on a couple of levels. First of all, he was fired by Drew Horowitz, who was his mentor over these past twenty years. Secondly, this is not just some executive being fired. Greg Solk is one of the top programmers in radio history. He created the Drive format--that was his baby. He oversaw those Chicago properties on a very "hands on" basis. Don't kid yourselves, the employees of those stations considered Greg to be the boss man. Nothing happened there without Greg's approval. To say Greg's departure is a big loss is an understatement.

If you really want to know more about Greg, read this interview I did with him in 2010. He was about as unguarded as he's ever been during an interview. There are some great radio stories about his Loop days.

Greg was my boss for many years at the Loop. He was a tough boss, but he was always fair to me. On at least three different occasions during my Steve & Garry days, Greg came out to the elevator on the 37th floor of the Hancock and talked me out of quitting DURING the show. He did it in a very calm way (not exactly Greg's calling card), by telling me stories of things he had gone through in the exact same position (he was their producer too--it was his first radio job), and promising me that he had my back. Greg is the one who gave me my first on-air shift in Chicago, putting me on the Loop FM doing weekend overnights, and the Loop AM hosting "The Best of Steve & Garry". He also re-hired me a decade after I left the Loop to work with a new show he had brought in featuring Spike Manton, Dobie Maxwell (now an Eckhartz Press author), Max Bumgardner, and Bruce Wolf.

Robert Feder printed Greg's farewell message to the staff. I want to reprint a portion of it, because it impressed me very much...

As far as thanks, there are far too many people to mention, as it took an army to help me succeed, but I certainly want to thank my mentor these past few decades, Drew Horowitz, and three of my longest running partners in crime, production wizard Matt Bisbee, chief engineer Kent Lewin and assistant Fina Rodriguez, all who helped me more than they will ever know.

Not many radio executives thank their production guy, their longtime assistant, or their engineer. That was a classy touch by Greg. Those three people followed Greg from station to station, from company to company. And, by the way, all three are pretty great people.