Boise native Tom Glade started his career in radio more than three decades ago at an AM powerhouse in Salt Lake City.
He remembers back to the day when he used Velcro to fasten his first FM tuner under the bottom of his dashboard. Glade’s jobs have taken him across the country. Today, he’s vice president and market manager for four Clear Channel Radio Wichita stations, not one of which is AM.
1. Is it true you’re known as an SOB in the business?
“I am an SOB. I am the son of a broadcaster who is the son of a broadcaster. . . . That makes me a double SOB.
“I was actually in pre-med when I started college because I really didn’t want to work as hard as my father did.”
2. You wound up working just as hard, though, especially when you managed stations in San Antonio, the home of Clear Channel. Why come to Wichita?
Wichita “is calmer and cooler than being in the hometown of the world’s largest broadcast group. . . . It was an opportunity to downsize a little bit, and I did that both personally and professionally.
“Markets like this, you don’t hide behind research. It’s your wit and your sense on how to manage . . . against the other groups.”
3. Radio has changed so much over the years. Do you see a time when there won’t be disc jockeys anymore?
“No, absolutely not. . . . People want to know what’s going on in their community, and they’re going to want people to speak to that.
“There still needs to be that personal relationship. Radio is still a very personable business.”
4. Speaking of relationships, is it hard to recover after going through tough contract negotiations with employees like B98’s Brett Harris, who wanted to leave to start his own station?
“Well, it is if you want to hold grudges. But we’re here to win. . . . We’re here to be successful.
“I really don’t believe in public floggings. You need to keep looking forward. . . . If you keep wanting to go back and punish people for the foibles and the past, you’re going to get bogged down. That’s been my whole philosophy.”
5. What changes do you see for Clear Channel here in the future?
“Clear Channel is working real hard to find other partnerships and other relationships to keep us ever more involved in the Internet.
“You can go anywhere now and have B98 just like it is here.”