Tuesday, November 23, 2004

In Memoriam: Bob Smith

I'm sad to learn that Bob Smith died last week. Bob was a salesman at WGMD FM, in the resort area here in Sussex County, Delaware. He had been a radio announcer, salesman, and station manager. His final 25 years in the business at were at WGMD. He was the station's first employee.

I met Bob when I first started working at that station back in Spring of 1986. He was what a salesman should be, in an industry too often represented by folks who demonstrate what a salesman should not be. WGMD owner David Schoumacher puts it very well, I think, in his memorial to Bob:

He never lied ... never exaggerated. If Bob said something, you could be sure it was true. Businessmen planned their weeks around Bob's schedule and Bob was always there right on time.

Apparently, the editors at the Cape Gazette agree. They have honored Bob today with an editorial column in his memory. I have the sense that this is a rare honor; one he deserves.

Bob sold commercial time, wrote copy, and recorded commercials. He had the classic radio sales voice -- a bit syrupy but solid and dependable. You always knew his work within a word or two. I was only in the radio business a few years, but much of what Bob taught me in that little station has served me well in the several jobs since that time.

I remember the first time I recorded an ad at WGMD. Bob watched me closely and, when I was done, said something like: "Good. You pronounced 'jewelry' correctly.' It was that sort of attention to detail that stays with me.

I lost touch with Bob after leaving the station; I still live here, but that has never been the sort of station I take to as a listener. I do want, however, to say a late, maybe lame, "thanks" to Bob.

He was a good man to have known.

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