There was this snowflake. The snowflake caught the jet stream and traveled around the world before melting into a flyspeck of a puddle on a some guy’s foot in Ecuador…who promptly drank it. The story of the adventures of this fictional and ill-fated snowflake changed my life…and I was only in second grade!
My teacher, a cute little smile factory named Mrs. Kantor, wrote all sorts of complimentary things on my paper which gave me enough encouragement to think writing was something I might like to pursue. I was too young to think about it as a career, but not too young to think I could come up with good stuff to write on school desks, bathroom walls and autograph books.
After that I also caught a jet stream but to no place in particular. At first I wanted to follow my older brother’s footsteps to become a doctor, but I when I saw how hard he had to study I quickly ditched that idea. My idea of studying for an exam was to crank the stereo, put my feet up on my desk and breeze through my notes and textbook for, oh, a good, hard, fifteen minutes.
After playing the Cowardly Lion in the 5th grade presentation of “The Wizard of Oz” and getting rave reviews for the way I swung my tail, I wanted to become an actor. So I majored in speech and theater in college at Oswego State in upstate New York. Guess what? I couldn’t memorize lines so the hell with acting.
During the first month of my freshman year an upper classman with whom I shared several drunken binges decided I’d be perfect for a job as a DJ at WOCR, the campus radio station. Incidentally, Al Roker also worked there. He was three years behind me. So my buddy dragged me down to the student union where the station lived, told the guy on the air they should give me a shift and the guy told me to come back on Saturday where I would be on the air from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The first record I ever spun was “Jean” by Oliver. It was sappy as hell but a giant hit. The first word I ever spoke on the radio was, “uhhhhhhh.” To make a long, long story short, it launched a broadcasting career that took me from some little radio stations in Central New York as an afternoon and morning drivetime announcer, to Tucson, Arizona , where I earned my Masters in Journalism at the University of Arizona while working as weekend weatherguy, producer and reporter at KGUN-TV, while holding down announcer jobs at two radio stations, and ultimately to CNN as a founding producer at CNN2 which became Headline News (which became dreck) and finally as bureau chief and correspondent at the CNN Detroit Bureau.
After the purge of 2001 where hundreds of us were laid off from CNN, I freelanced briefly at the Automotive News, then was hired as National Auto Writer at the Associated Press where I spent 15 months before I was recruited by The Detroit News to be their General Motors beat writer. After three years there, Chrysler hired me to launch their first blog which was basically the company’s very first foray into social media.
After a year there, a team was created around me within Corporate Communications which melded social media, broadcast media relations, the media website and video production.
I’ve led that team, now called FCA Digital Media since Oct. 1, 2006 and have been blessed with three original members remaining from the ten I started with and five who came later and are just wonderful and talented people. Our team is unique in the industry and I’ll write more about it as we go along.
The one constant in my life, besides my great family, is writing. Believe me, I’m no TV hunk so it was my writing that kept my career alive. Figuring out how to make the transition from broadcast to print wasn’t easy, but with some help from kind and patient editors it was a success. Now, writing for social media and videos for Fiat Chrysler, the ability to put a few words together has kept me going 41 years into my working life.
Writing is never work, it’s recreation. I believe I’ll write for the rest of my life. In fact, the only thing I’d ever want on my tombstone is “he was a decent writer.”
So this website is all about the writing. Some of it will be observations on life based in truth, some will be anecdotes from my crazy worklife, some of it will be totally fiction, but the goal of every single piece will be to give my readers a little verbal oasis where you can hopefully sip a little levity and crack a smile or a grin.
I’d hate that snowflake to have melted in vain.