Here’s how the news reached my ears…, er, eyes.
Monday, the night of the mildly tumultuous WFHB Board of Directors meeting in City Council chambers, I was expecting that august body to do a quick, pro-forma vote to extend Cleveland Dietz as acting general manager through December 31st. After all, that’s what Cleveland himself had told me would happen.
But the Board had been spanked verbally by many in the volunteer membership for much of the evening and, toward the end of the night, announced it would gather in closed session to talk about Cleveland’s future.
A future, by the way, I figured at that moment would last until the spring, at least with regard to our town’s community radio station. Cleveland himself had told me the Board expected to conduct another seemingly endless (my adjectives, not his) search for a permanent czar and the whole shebang could take until April. He caught himself when he said that and asked me not to mention the April thing in this communication colossus. I agreed to zip it.
It puzzled me that the Board should have to shut the public out of so minor a move — minor, that is, in light of the whole botched GM search that has been going on since…, hmm, let’s see now, oh, since Bill Clinton was president.
I pressed Board prez Joe Estivill for any information at all on Cleveland’s status. Joe shook his head. He wouldn’t commit to anything. I could only get him to commit to calling me when the Board finished up with its closed session.
Joe did call as Monday turned into Tuesday. The news he had for me was no news at all. The Board hadn’t voted on extending Cleveland as official seat-warmer and, in fact, had been discussing “some other issues” and would have something to say within 24 hours. I’d already started falling asleep when Joe’s call came in so, through the haze, I grunted humph. I like scoops and this, quite frankly, wasn’t much of one.
It seemed to me at the time that the Board had decided its best form of action in light of the Kevin Culbertson fiasco was to dither. Officially.
Joe asked me to sit on the “some other issues” news, to which a readily agreed. Surely there’d be no Pulitzer prize awaiting me for breaking the news that the Board was, y’know, thinking about something or another.
Flash forward to last night at precisely 11:40. Again, I was wrapped in the arms of Morpheus when the phone rang. By the time I picked it up, the caller’d hung up. It had been Joe. So eager was I to slip back into the dreamless that I decided, hell, I can call him back tomorrow morning. Surely whatever he had to reveal to me could wait.
I tossed and turned for an hour and a half until I sprang up from the pillow. Of course! I’ve got it! The Board decided Monday night to go back and offer the job to good old Chad Carrothers!
I jumped up and debated whether I should call Joe back immediately. Then I figured the poor old soul was probably drifting off into Z-ville himself. On a hunch, I cranked up this internet machine, just on the odd chance Joe’d sent me an email or Facebook message that Chad was back in the fold and all would be right with the world.
Once the Indian head test pattern had dissolved and Facebook flashed on my screen, I saw the real news.
Cleveland, that lucky dog, is in. For the long haul. Congratulations to the new permament general manager of radio station WFHB.
After six months of hand-wringing, waiting by the phone, and consulting oracles and tea leaves to find a new holder of the station’s riding crop, the Board has done something right. And the rest of us ought to pat the seven of them collectively on the back.
Tabbing Cleveland to steer the ship for the next few years is the safest and most healing move the Board could make.
Who has any problems with Cleveland Dietz? He’s as mild-mannered and uncontroversial a figure as can be found in the state of Indiana. Plus, he’s been trained in his job by none other than Chad Carrothers himself, whose coat he’d held in his role as assistant GM prior to CC’s unexpected move to the west last summer.
He’s proven himself capable and keeping him on permanently ensures that the station won’t go through any wrenching transition under a stranger. And even if the Board had elected to ask Chad to sit in his old chair, there’d be grumblings from those who found the old boss a little too rough around the edges.
The first person who complains about the Cleveland hire is nothing more than a person who complains obsessively, and maybe professionally.
Maryll Jones broke the news about Cleveland to the public and that’s as it should be. She spent a lot of time and energy — both physical and emotional — wrangling the roomful of cats that comprise the Friends of WFHB. I, for one, would like to see her sit on the Board of Directors just as soon as the rest of us can vote her in.