Local radio legend passes
...Dylan would not have been born
...I would not have met Heather
...Ben wouldn't have happened
...and on and on it could go, the impact of one man's life on another.
Kelly was a radio man, through and through. Walking into the radio station - CJOK and KYX 98 at the time - I saw it immediately. It was a professional office, complete with announcers in dress shirts and ties. The interview was a full day affair, complete with a comprehensive tour of the station, panel interview, and a guided tour of the community. To say I was impressed would be a complete understatement; I was blown away.
Kelly clearly believed the connection between running a radio station and being "connected to the community". That wasn't a clever catch phrase with him; it was a philosophy. As a senior manager, part of my mandate was to volunteer and make a difference. That is the only reason I was able to devote so much time to the interPLAY Festival in those formative years. He supported it 150-percent.
There are so many memories associated with those radio years from 1996 to 1999, many of them connected to Kelly, and his fervent belief in "what gets measured gets done". There was a high standard that was embedded in the culture of the OK Radio Group.
Radio people will understand this example. If you had a remote coming up, it would include the following: an in-person pre-meeting on site the day before the broadcast, arrival no later than one hour before the start of the remote, all of the equipment in ship shape, the radio station van spotless, and exceptional service all the way around to the client. They were paying a premium for a premium advertising experience and we were expected to deliver it to them every single time. And if things went wrong (and they did), it got talked about on Monday morning.
We enjoyed many a conversation about broadcasting ideas, promotions and working with young announcers. We shared a dedication to excellence and did everything we could to achieve great results for our listeners and our clients. At times, that dedication got intense, and resulted in internal fireworks, other times, it resulted in great celebration and festivity. Kelly was at the heart of it all.
Kelly struggled with his health in the last few years of his life. I didn't get to see him during this time, but others did. They always reported that he had an excellent attitude and his spirits were high. That's Kelly. That will always be Kelly.