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Lisa Miller - "How I Got Into Radio"

The Story of How Norm Feuer Started in Radio

10-4-2013

Somehow, I think Ive always known Norm Feuer. Hes a wonderful man with a warm and winning smile, and a personality.  But the memory of Norm thats engraved in my mind is the photo I have of him from the mid-1980s lined up with Jeff Smylan, Norm Pattiz, Carl Hirsch, and a couple other owners celebrating the expansion of their respective companies and the growth of radio at an NAB. These men, who looked like teenage boys grinning from ear to ear, had just brought forth a new generation of owners who grew up with transistor radios under their pillows. Norm has always made radio fun and reminds you of all the reasons why radio is the best business in the world.

Now, in his own words, Norm tells us how he got into radio

The first 10 years of my business career were at New York ad agencies all in media and media documentation. I moved to Life magazine (a weekly at the time) and was a marketing associate, when one day John Crandel, the Ad Director of Life, walked into my office and introduced me to a young kid and said, We hired this MBA graduate and hes going to save the magazineteach him everything you know." So I taught him everything I knew and then we went to lunch. Weve been best friends and partners in business ever since. That kid was Herb McCord.

Herb got hired away to CBS Radio spot sales by Charlie Warner. Herb set up an interview for me with Charlie. Charlie and I hit it off. There were no openings at spot sales, but Charlie set me up with the CBS TV guys and the CBS FM guys.

Coming off an interview with TV, I bumped into Charlie in the hallway and he asked me to come into his office. Unbeknownst to me, an opening had occurred at spot sales so Charlie began to interview me like we had never met. I was caught off guard and blew the interview. Herb called me and asked what happened. I said, "I just blew it...he caught me off guard." What are you going to do?  "Im going to call Charlie and do it again." So I called Charlie the next day, a Friday, and asked him if I could see him on Monday. He said he was going to be traveling Monday but he could see me that afternoon.

There I was in the same wrinkled suit I wore the day before, I needed a haircut, my shirt was frayed, and I was wearing an ugly tie, and in desperate need of a shoe shine. There was a cleaner on 43rd Street, where you literally stood in a barrel, gave the cleaner your pants and jacket that he pressed while you stood in your underwear. I bought a new shirt and tie, got a haircut and a shoe shine. I showed up at Charlies office and my first job in radio was the result of a switch pitch. Charlie taught me that, as a national rep, a switch pitch was worth 10 orders to the station guys, so from time to time I would lose an order just to switch pitch it.

Reach out to Norm at nfeuer@bcaradio.com

Lisa Miller is the President of Miller Broadcast Management in Chicago. She's also one of Radio Ink's Most Influential Women in Radio. Miller can be reached at Lisa@millerbroadcast.com or 312-454-1111.

To read more "How I Got Into Radio" columns, click HERE.

So, how did you get into radio? We'd love to hear the story about why you're passionate about radio.



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