Me and Drex with a couple of political guests. (FTR, Drex is standing on books to be this tall.)
Working with friends can be tricky.
Over my years in broadcast I’ve been lucky enough to make life-long friends through work: Sarah Daniels, Claire Martin, Jim Van Horne, Alison Redmond, Becky Posh, Theresa Warburton, Daren Millard, Kevin Quinn, Jamie Campbell, Joe Leary, Cynthia Ott, Kathy Woodgate, Mike Hennigar, Patrick Zulinov, Cheryl Loveseth, Lucia Polifroni, Allison Cooper, Dean Bender, Richard Garner….god, the list is (thankfully) endless. I could go on and on….but that’s not the point here.
The point today is, that for all of the friends I’ve met – and made – through work, I’ve also lost a great one. It was so sad and shockingly painful. The red flag went up our very first shift, I thought he was just having a bad day. He wasn’t. I went into our gig, that would take us from “friends” to “co-workers”, thinking it was the perfect storm of magic – it wasn’t. Sure, we made the on air product work, but behind the scenes it was brutal. Brutal. It’s a long story, suffice to say: our friendship was irreparably broken.
The person you know as your friend can often be wearing a completely different persona at work. It was, and is, a very painful truth.
To say I’ve been gun-shy about working with my friends since is an understatement. Nothing is “worth” losing a friend. Nothing.
In the past two weeks, I’ve jumped back into the friend/work pool. (I must qualify that both friends that I’ve paired up with on radio, recently, weren’t as woven into my world as my lost one) It was with a good dose of nervousness that I dove in.
First at Roundhouse Radio — I was invited to fill in on the afternoon drive show, solo. I wondered aloud to the boss there “if I might invite someone to join me”. Enter Larry Hennessey (who you have read here) — a pro’s pro, kind doesn’t begin to describe Larry. We had never worked together on air before, and yet, after four days of togetherness it was clear that we could jive. The shorthand came quickly, the respect and support was pure. Time flew by and we were both sad to see our fill-in stint end. We loved it.
As the newly anointed “Pirate of Radio” in Vancouver — with zero time between — the following week off I went to my “other” day-job, filling in on CKNW. I am thrilled to say that I get lots of shifts at The Top Dog, I love it. Last week I had a chance to join Justin Wilcomes (Drex) to fill in for Lynda Steele on their outstanding Afternoon Drive show. Now, Drex and I had never met when he texted me, via twitter of all things, 18 months ago to see if I might like to “do radio”. (It’s his fault that I’m AT CKNW.) It wasn’t until this past Monday that we actually shared the airwaves. Drex is a beast of a broadcaster, there is very little he won’t say – or do – in the name of great radio. He’s driven and funny, kind and tough, all wrapped into one package. We, too, saw time fly while on air. I’m very excited to wake up tomorrow for more.
Life throws you curve balls, and sometimes the disappointments of a bad pitch can keep you up at night — as is the case with my lost friend — but the great moments of magic do heal you.
I’ve learned these past two weeks that every experience is unique. You can’t paint it all with the same broad stroking brush. Live. Learn. Embrace.
You’ve likely noticed I’ve not named my lost friend, that is out of respect. He knows who he is and I hope he knows that I love and miss him. The interesting part of losing a friend, after trying to take a walk on the work-side, is that if given the choice — 100% of the time you’d save the friendship if given the luxury of hindsight.
Too late now for regrets. I’ve replaced that hollow place with a fortunate feeling, one that has me lucky to know that one can find fun when working with friends.
Thank you Larry and Drex — Lynda: You are up next…and I can’t wait!