🎙️ Friday launches my 33rd year on WHAS Radio and television. We ran a contest on my 1st radio show where hundreds of people guessed when I would be fired or leave. The winner gets $500.
Only two entries are still valid. Jim McClellan needs me gone within three years or else Robert Rudolph is the winner. #loumedia #radiopersonality #Louisville
My radio career began in September 1976 at WKQQ in Lexington, although I did not go on the air until late 1977. Therefore my total broadcast career has surpassed the 40 year mark.
Tom Jurich called me last night to respond to the University of Louisville termination letter. More to come today at a 3:30 press conference at the offices of his attorneys.
Rick Pitino and I will talk about his firing and the Jurich termination letter at 5:35 PM today on 840WHAS Radio.
I spoke about the Jurich call with Renee Murphy at WHAS11 and then with Rachel Platt on Great Day Live…
…then to Bob Ley on ESPN’s Outside the Lines
— Outside The Lines (@OTLonESPN) October 25, 2017
Plus there were 840WHAS radio chats with Tony Cruise
and Leland Conway…then to WKRD to speak with Nick Coffey on “The Red Zone”
And I closed out the day on my own show interviewing Rick Pitino for 30 minutes. It was one of the most newsworthy days in my 40 year career.
Henry Sadlo and I have been best friends since childhood when we were next door neighbors. Today, thousands know Dr. Sadlo as a respected cardiologist and all-around good soul.
Thanks also to Regan Judd and Dr. Garth Beache for talking about challenges and remedies for heart issues. Later that day, Henry and I had a throughly personal radio conversation about our lives and heart health guidelines about exercise, eating, alcohol consumption, and signs of troubles. Happy Heart Month! Keep your ticker clicking!
I was never smart enough to get a real job. Nonetheless, this broadcasting thing seemed to work out.
Both of my sons have the media bug. Family tradition. It’s all good.
WHAS Radio “Ter’s Top 73 clips of 1987”
Getting paid to play in the snow? Sign me up.
In 2016, my media buddies roasted me as a fundraiser for Seven Counties Services.
My earliest TV series was the nightly news magazine PM Louisville with the delightful Ange Humphrey.
The 1993 Thunder Over Louisville broadcast from WHAS-TV was a technical marvel with an unprecedented number of cameras, aerial angles, and personalities.
The show came off without a hitch except for one thing. The ceremonial starter’s clock was off by 20 seconds. Check the above video at the 1:33 mark. A 7th grader pushed the button and …….. an eternity later…BOOM!
Below is the introductory piece for the nights coverage with Rachel Platt, Barry Bernson, Wayne Perkey, Terry Meiners, and hosts John O’Conner and Kirby Adams.
Is radio dead? Is TV dead? Nope. But there is a reframing of information flow.
A recent poll lists broadcasting as one of today’s worst career choices. You may be surprised to learn how little most TV and radio people earn. Others predict the end of talk radio following the 2016 elections. No way. Local talk shows allow each city’s residents to weigh in on local issues. The local radio station is the kitchen table where everyone can throw in their two cents or at least eavesdrop on those who do.
I completely love my 40 year broadcast career and have rarely regretted choosing it. I have learned 10 million things by talking with a zillion people on radio and TV. WHAS-TV’s Great Day Live and my WHAS radio show are valuable assets to local groups promoting important newsworthy fundraising efforts and social connectivity.
With today’s ongoing battles to jump the minimum wage to $15 per hour, I thought you might enjoy this 1976 memo that kept me from being laid off only months after I’d started part-time production work at WKQQ/Lexington. (NOTE: the boss had poor math skills. I earned $40 per MONTH, not per week, and that totals $480 annually). Our “full-time” deejays were knocking down $3 per hour or $84 per week if they never took off a day. (federal minimum wage in 1976 was $2.30)
That’s twenty-year-old me at work in the WKQQ studio (1977). Because I wasn’t laid off in 1976 and discouraged about working in media, my broadcast life has been massively successful. Someone gave me a shot and I have worked like a mule to advance over 4 decades. A recent charity roast spotlighted my highs and lows. For many others in broadcasting, it is a tough, low-paying pursuit. Here’s a blog from a meteorologist who started in 1999 for $10/hr after completing college. The love of the game keeps all of us in it regardless of monetary gain. (MORE: Why a $15 minimum wage is not the answer)
Now many of my contemporaries are leaving the business. Just this week, a group of WHAS-TV colleagues are rolling on to new dimensions. Each one of them has been a pillar of WHAS’ success and a vital part of my growth as a broadcaster. My radio company iHeartMedia also just restructured staff placement which left six cherished colleagues in search of new challenges. Each of them added positive value to my life and career. Broadcasting is certainly under siege, but by no means dead.
They were both hilarious in the March 2016 charity roast featuring the best of the best in Louisville broadcasters. Each member of that roast cast is a high earner in broadcasting (and the lawyer and UofL department head are also well-paid).
Lots of people enter the broadcasting game but only a few are lucky enough to make a decent living. It’s a tough business that demands a love of the game with a secondary eye on monetary reward.
Local broadcasting will continue to deliver local information, and more importantly, local compassion.
A 2009 blog post I wrote for a site compiling info on Lexington radio stations:
Terry Meiners, Lexington radio personality from 1977 thru 1980.
I was originally hired in 1976 to monitor the automation on the weekend overnight shifts. Eventually, WKQQ-FM “Double Q” went live and I was given a chance to go on the air when one of the original hires did not work out.
I am enclosing a photo of me (posted above) in the tiny WKQQ control room not long after it went live in early 1977. I am also enclosing a memo (also posted above) written by then program director Dick Hungate that laid out his proposed budget for taking the station from automation to live.
Notice that he saves my job because I am a part-time college student who makes minimum wage. Hungate’s actual calculation of my annual earnings is incorrect, but it still shows how cheaply a station could be run in that era.
WKQQ, which used the positioning phrase “Stereo Album Rock” at the time I was there, was a great launch pad for me. I started out doing late night, then evenings, then the morning show, then afternoon drive before tiring of it.
I learned to use sound effects to make it seem as though I was cutting the station’s grass while the music played. I would tell the audience that the boss was making all of us do multiple jobs so that we just didn’t sit around and actually “listen to that garbage we play on our station.” So I’d use a sound effect of a starting lawnmower, then seque into “Stairway to Heaven” and as the song ended, I would fade up the sound of the lawnmower winding down. Then I would breathlessly backsell the record, make a snide comment about the cheap boss, and go to break.
My career was just taking off.
Alas, I hit a pay ceiling in 1980 and was told “that’s all there is.” I opted to go to Indianapolis and help my brother run a grocery store for about 3 months. I was miserable and missed being in broadcasting. Oddly enough, I didn’t miss being on the air, just being around the industry.
I called Louisa Henson at WLRS-FM in Louisville and begged for a job. As luck would have it, the promotions director job was available and I took it. My only request was that I not have to do airshifts any longer because I felt they led to a professional dead end.
Naturally, when one of the WLRS deejays would call in drunk, I was summoned to fill in for them. Then I was persuaded to take the afternoon drive slot in 1981. Not long thereafter, Dan Burgess left to go to WHAS Radio and left a vacancy for a co-host of the morning show with a kind but soured-on-life jaded hippie named Ron Clay.
We formed the “Morning Sickness” show and it became a montrous hit for WLRS. It wasn’t long before arch rival WQMF came calling in December 1982. After a brief negotiation which jumped our salaries from $25,000 to $32,000, we jumped ship.
WLRS filed a lawsuit claiming “verbal agreements” were in place to extend work contracts for both announcers. The lawsuit was mostly dismissed by the judge, thus, Ron Clay and Terry Meiners were allowed to switch to WQMF with the stipulation that there’d be no transfer of the exact sketches or any other intellectual property from the WLRS show to WQMF.
It was the only time the word “intellectual” was ever used in conjunction with the careers of Ron Clay and/or Terry Meiners.
The judge also demanded that the duo not transfer the show’s name, so the new WQMF show was called “The Show With No Name.” The new show commenced in January 1983 and was a dominant player in Louisville radio until Terry Meiners left to take the afternoon drive slot at WHAS Radio in June 1985.
A six month non-competition clause with WQMF kept Terry off of the new station until “The Terry Meiners Show” debuted on December 2, 1985.
University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino is under fire for alleged scandalous behavior between players, recruits, and their adult guardians with prostitutes. Prostitute/madam Katina Powell claims she brought multiple prostitutes into UofL’s Minardi Hall at the request of former director of basketball operations Andre McGee.
The salacious story is told in Powell’s book “Breaking Cardinal Rules.”
Also, CBS Sports quoted an unnamed source saying that Ohio State freshman JaQuan Lyle, a former Louisville recruit, acknowledged to the NCAA “the gist” of allegations of paid escorts.
Pitino had no idea any of this nonsense was going on. I’ve known him for 25 years and can assure you that he would STRANGLE an employee for doing anything of the sort. Nonetheless, people are overanalyzing his radio chat with me, searching for code words or signs of inconsistency.
He’s hurt. That’s it: lock, stock, and barrel. This is PTSD stuff for Rick.
National media has not been kind. Sports Illustrated blasted U of L for creating what it claims is a hostile environment for women. A female U of L senior took issue with that characterization in a blog post, although the comments section told at least one story that affirms the S.I. story.
There is a significant difference between a giant media company and a university. Sports Illustrated is a subsidiary of Time Warner, which sells provocative products to earn dividends for stockholders.
The University of Louisville’s mission statement of “research university with a commitment to the liberal arts and sciences and to the intellectual, cultural, and economic development of our diverse communities and citizens” ducks the reality that it also sells sex through the pelvic thrusts of its acclaimed Ladybirds dance team.
So let’s take it down a notch on hating Sports Illustrated. Today’s school mission statement is to find out if prostitution took place on U of L’s campus and to take action to prevent it from happening again.
— Terry Meiners (@terrymeiners) October 10, 2015
Some fans were not pleased with my radio interview, apparently unaware that Pitino and I talked the day before and I asked him whether he was thinking about resigning and other details that came out during the radio chat. (I mentioned the Wednesday private phone call multiple times on the radio leading up to the Thursday evening interview).
— Harold (@LilHurl) October 9, 2015
— Bob Valvano (@espnVshow) October 9, 2015
Members of the media understood the validity of my questions, and Rick Pitino’s wise choice to publicly stake out his turf (after the Lyle revelation and Ramsey snub).
Rick Pitino to @terrymeiners: "I'm sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me, but that's something I can't control."
— Joe Sonka (@joesonka) October 9, 2015
My question about about the university president’s omission of support for his coach teed up a perfect response from the Hall of Famer.
Great job by @terrymeiners on the interview with Coach Pitino. Tough to ask the tough questions when you know the person so well.
— Keith Farmer (@KeithFarmer18) October 8, 2015
WHAS radio's @terrymeiners conducted a great interview with Rick Pitino. Asked some really tough questions.
— John Lewis WDRB (@JohnWDRB) October 8, 2015
Rick knows how to effectively deliver his message. He is hurt that someone under his employ would (allegedly) do something so reckless that it endangers the Louisville brand.
These rules are posted in the Cardinals practice facility.
Planners become winners. Don’t get lost in today’s story. Rick has already prepared for tomorrow and the day after while most people are dazzled by today.
Amid the WHAS-TV reunion memories, former news anchor Jean West told a great story from our early days at the station. In 1986, I took an opportunity to shock a Klansman who was to be interviewed about his request to the city for a White Power rally.
As Klansman Kenny King (KKK!) sat quietly awaiting reporter John McGrath and a camera operator, I strolled into the lobby holding Jean’s hand and leaned down to plant a passionate kiss on her right in front of the stunned racist. McGrath, who enjoyed interviewing societal outcasts, later said Kenny the Klansman needed 10 minutes to compose himself before he could do the interview.
The reunion of former WHAS-TV employees is to celebrate the station’s 65th anniversary.