When I was writing about Georgio today it reminded me of working at WIGO here in Atlanta in the mid 80s when I was very young. I was thrilled to have that job and it was my first radio gig but working for Dorothy Brunson was like being in the Vietnam war. Dorothy was a cantankerous mean and bitter ass old woman.. period. Which is why me and many former announcers called the now defunct WIGO “Nam.” Have you ever noticed that MOST of the stations that were poorly run become defunct? While I can respect tenure and the sh… that we have all had to deal with in our careers to make it to the top, there is NO excuse for treating the up and coming industry people like sh… too. MOST of the “legends” I have come across in this industry were overrated… Because a TRUE legend, like say, an Elroy Smith, realizes the importance of nurturing the up and coming instead of destroying their self esteem. When you do that, you completely validate the poor treatment you received and now you DESERVED it. What is a legend? I don’t care how many years of experience you have it’s all about the way you treat people, which is why I have no pity for Don Cornelius and his Soul Train empire. He did that to HIMSELF because he had the personality of an envelope.
I was making $425.00 a MONTH in 1985 and I had just quit my job as a waiter at the Marriott Marquis making $700 a WEEK. This is probably why I always did radio for fun and never for profit because in black radio, THERE WAS NO PROFIT (laugh). Nate Quick who works in Dallas now and I worked at WIGO part time and where ever we could get an extra shift. We were good friends and we would talk about how we would go through the desks in the office looking for a spare pack of McDonald’s jelly because we were so fooking hungry (laugh). I laugh about it now and make light of it but I actually despise black greed and because of it, I often overpaid my employees because of this very experience working for this woman who was supposed to be a “legend” in the industry. Eventually, Dorothy fired me because we had one turntable in the studio (yes, one) and we had to play a drop before we started another record and cue up the record in 10 seconds (Lawd give me strenf) and she was so cheap that she would reuse 12 in album covers instead of throw them away when they were ripped up. A PD that she had promoted (who virtually disappeared after that) kissed her ass so hard, his breath smelled like sh… and she never needed to shop for toilet paper because she always had his lips. He stapled the 12 in covers together and while I was reaching for a single one day in a rush to get it on during the 10 seconds, The cover hung from my fingers as I cut three of them on those staples. I left a note on the album “Not a good idea, I cut my finger on these damn staples.” Dorothy Brunson called me in her office the next day and fired me. Sh…, I made more money getting unemployment after that from my job as a waiter before I worked for her so she actually did me a favor. My first experience working for urban radio was ALMOST the last but it prepared me for the years to come. About seven years later, I saw her at a Jack the Rapper event in Atlanta. I was working for KDKO as a programmer at the time and she got on the elevator and looked me square in the face and turned the other way (laugh). She had on a big yellow dress and she looked like the sun. She looked ridiculous. Everybody on the elevator HOLLERED when she got off except me, I laughed in her face (laugh) No, I felt sorry for her. She looked like a Evilene from the Wiz. I know she knew who I was but I was actually shocked to see her smiling when she got on and to see she actually had teeth. Success is always the best revenge and I proceeded forth. But I can’t believe the people that we put on a pedestal with all the actual HARM they have caused the urban radio community. Mostly from greed.
To that end, if a legend transcends time, I, and others in my generation, should look at her as a legend too, but we don’t. So what is a legend?