Photo: Me. Don't come at me about it.
You know, at the time, I never thought 24 years later, this party... would continue to be... the party that it is.
I have a couple of side-hustles. One of 'em is curating 90's music for a show called Backtrax USA. I got a package yesterday containing some gear I need to do what I do for the show... and it was wrapped up in this note.
If I were back in Tampa... I would have taped this note up on the center of the back of my office door.
Why? Just because.
Once upon a time, I hung things up on the back of my office door which inspire - for whatever reason.
Some of the things I hung up:
The Mayor of Lancaster's declaration of TOBY KNAPP DAY in the City Of Lancaster... declared on my last day at FM97 WLAN radio...
An aircheck memo from one of my APD's at Q102 in Philly.
A birth announcement from a friend of mine back in Lancaster who overcame a ton of obstacles to become the mom she is.
A note from the same guy who sent me this note above to let me know I was indeed good enough to work at this radio station I was once romantic about... but never had the chance to "crack the mic" on.
At the time, they had made some choices about part-time talent which made me feel some sort of way... and, being the unkempt and unruly young broadcaster I was... I went off in an email. I was in Lancaster at the time... he was the OM of the station at the time...
His note said, "A horse walks into a bar and the bartender says... "Why the long face?"
It also shared a few more thoughts about "things" which I will keep to myself... because they are - and continue to be very personal... but just know that I finished reading that note knowing that, yeah, I was ready to work at the place I was romantic about... but that I didn't need to be so romantic about it... because, as I interpreted that note, I was destined for more than a part-time job on a big radio station in a big city.
That note was enough.
Because of that note, when the time came, I decided it was time to make a move... to see if I could actually do this "radio" thing on a grander scale. I'd had some different programmers reach out to me on the back-channel... One in Dallas to do Country Music Radio. Another who couldn't officially talk to me because another station in the company had some ideas and plans...
Because of that note back then, I reached out to a PD and said, "Hey, I see you have an opening..."
Because of that note, I set out to prove there was nothing I couldn't do in radio... and that there was no market, no station, no format... which I couldn't "do" as a radio presenter in America... or around the world.
Fired up? Yeah, I was. Still am. And I've lost track of all of the cities in the country I've been "live" on... because that note lit a fire under my backside.
The rest became my personal history.
I share this with you today because mentors should be celebrated.
I share this with you because there are indeed people who inspire... who make you better. Who take the time to teach you - in spite of your flaws, weaknesses, insecurities and whatnot. They see something which they know they can ignite and make better... They are teachers, leaders, bosses...
Celebrate the ones in life who have made you... you. And don't do blow in the Governor's Office Bathroom.
Today's Hottest Music is on... I'm Toby Knapp doing it with you... it's 54 degrees OUTSIDE... dial carefully and good luck... here's Hanson... ON THE HITS... THEEE HOT ONE!
Someday I'll share the memo...
Once, a PD in Allentown, Pennsylvania - also a mentor - looked at my list of "references" and past Program Directors and said, "Wow... this reads like a who's who list... do you know how many people would kill to have these names on a resume?"
Yup. I do. Still do. And what I've learned... continues to be invaluable. And that list is much longer now...
Mentors. Celebrate 'em.
Thanks for reading...