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In Praise of a Great Radio Manager

A Few Words About the Late Phil Goldman

By

Phil Goldman, radio and television pioneer

Phil Goldman, radio and television pioneer

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I recently received word that a man I worked for twice earlier in my career had passed away. My working relationship with Phil Goldman went back to my first and second stints at Q94 in Richmond, Virginia. WRVQ-FM is a legendary radio station and Phil Goldman was the man who was there in the beginning as the General Manager of a fledgling FM startup that eventually took the former capital of the Confederacy by storm.

The achievements of Q94 are well documented. This is not an article about a great radio station I was privileged to work at two times during my career. I'll let the historians sort out the details of one of the industry's powerhouse operations. I do tip my hat to all the great talents I met and worked with during my two trips through Richmond - first by the behest of Edens Broadcasting and then by a younger, leaner Clear Channel Radio.

By now, plenty of people - former employees and listeners - have no doubt posted complimentary thoughts about Q94 and Phil Goldman. I have met a multitude of people in this business but few deserve the admiration and respect I have reserved for Phil. Yet, the kind of appreciation I have for this man today could only have come from a perspective that required time and distance.

I did not appreciate Phil Goldman as much when I worked for him the first time as I did the second time. Nor did I appreciate Goldman's aptitude and style for management the second time as I did after being years apart from that experience. How does the expression go? "You don't know what you have until it's gone." Well, sometimes you don't know whom you've been working for until you're gone. On my first pass through Q94 I was a hotshot deejay making my way up the market ladder. I chose to leave for a higher paying, bigger gig. By the time I made my second pass through Q94 I was a major market talent, tired of Big League warfare, and looking for some sanity in a medium market with people I liked again. That's what brought me back to Richmond in order to work with people like Phil Goldman.

Phil Goldman had a management style that was low key, affable, personable, and friendly. Those sound like words most managers shouldn't have too much trouble incorporating into their style - if they wanted to. But, with Phil it was natural and sincere. I can tell you first-hand there are a lot of people in radio management who shouldn't be there. They are incompetent hacks who lack people skills, are selfish, and certainly do not understand how to motivate people or deal with radio talent. If I could, I would banish each and every one of them to minimum wage fast food jobs working under managers just like themselves. Yet, these charlatans manage to continue to stay employed. They usually come into a station, destroy it, then move on. If you've worked in radio then you know exactly what I'm talking about.

For a business rife with backstabbers and buffoons anointed with managerial titles, Phil Goldman was the antidote. Phil Goldman had a good ole boy style that was casual and low key but was a fierce competitor. He understood that radio should be fun and that the people working for you should know that. I never put in as many hours as I did while

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