Bob English

Bob English • Written August 2009

Bob English

Bob English began his radio career as a disc jockey while earning a B.Sc. degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.  An on-air and programming stint at KCUB, Tucson, put him on a team that won Billboard magazine's Station of the Year award and led to his affiliation with Les Smith at WUBE, Cincinnati.  He assumed General Manager duties in 1980, managed for Schering-Plough, then rejoined Smith in Seattle as President of Broadcast Programming International in 1983.  The lure of The "X" brought him back to local radio in 1987 until shifting to out-of-home with Washington Transit Advertising in 1992.  After managing the Seattle transit advertising franchise for Viacom, English was recruited back to his Texas roots by Lamar Transit Advertising in 2004 as VP/General Manager of the Dallas D.A.R.T. advertising franchise.  He formed English Communications Group in 2008 to provide expertise on out-of-home advertising models to investors and transit agencies.

The path that led me to Seattle in the early '80s passed, as it did for many, through the doors of Kaye-Smith Radio. K-S was originally a partnership between Danny Kaye (yes, that one) and Lester M. Smith, who landed in San Francisco after WWII, learned the radio station brokerage business, acquired stations of his own in Portland, then moved up I-5 to Seattle where his KJR/KISW combo became Rock radio legends. At its pinnacle K-S had a dozen stations in six markets, including Portland, Seattle, Spokane, Kansas City and Cincinnati and Les was the guy who ran it all. (Happily, I just received an invitation to Les's 90th birthday party, slated for October.) I'd been lucky enough to serve an on-air apprenticeship with Jim Slone in Tucson, AZ, and after KCUB won Billboard's Station of the Year Award, I was recruited by Les and Verl Wheeler to move to Cincinnati's WUBE. Yes, we did meet the stars of “WKRP in Cincinnati,” but that's another story.

I cut my management teeth in Cincinnati, made some money for Les, was well-treated and allowed to learn, survived the sale of the stations to Plough Broadcasting, which was then a subsidiary of giant drug conglomerate Schering-Plough that showed up in the annual report under “Other Business.” Shering taught the pro's & con's of working inside a large corporation and the stations continued to flourish, but I grew frustrated with the unwieldy decision-making process and layers of rules and reporting. When Les called in 1983 to say “You've never seen Seattle, have you”?, I was ready to move the family to the lee of the Cascades and Olympics to head up Les's acquisition of the syndication company Broadcast Programming International. BPI provided music formats for radio stations in medium and smaller-sized markets to run on automation systems. The delivery system was Ampex audio tape on 10-inch reels and we sent a lot of money to Ampex each month as we shipped those reels to a couple of hundred stations across the U.S. One of our unique attributes was a voice-tracking service (yes, at the time that was unique), also delivered weekly on audio tape. Our voices included Jim French, Larry Nelson, Bob Conti, Charlie Brown, Phil Harper & Ichabod Caine. Rather than record onto their computers and upload to the Internet (today's reality), they went into the studio each week and laid down tracks in real time.

After four years of working with clients who were everywhere except where I lived, I was ready to re-enter local radio and, Steve West had just led the exodus from KISW to Shamrock's new Adult Rocker KXRX. The “X” was a magical place for me and others, and at one point in time or another, nearly everyone there experienced both white magic and black magic. Naming names is fraught with the peril of those left out, but mention has to be made of Gary Crow, Mike West, Robin Erickson, John Maynard, Beau Roberts, Marty Riemer and Brew Michaels, who made The “X”'s white magic work so well.

In 1992 I switched from radio to outdoor advertising, and began writing a monthly column for Larry Coffman's MARKETING newspaper, a labor of love that lasted until my return to Dallas in 2004. The span of that column's life is a microcosm of the birth and maturation of personal computers and the internet. My early columns were composed on a Toshiba portable, the entire memory of which resided on 250 kb insert-able disks. Since I often traveled to visit family during the holidays, I would beg the use of a fax machine from my Dad's banker in order to get the November and December editions to Larry on time. A far cry from composing today's entry on a Dell laptop with a 1400 MHz processor and 512 MB RAM, from which I'll email Larry via my wireless connection, with the Golf Channel on in the background. Sadly, at least for the purposes of this recollection, I've lost most of my Marketing articles over the years, but did have a few copies of the paper from between June 1994 and November 2004 to offer this look back in time.

JUNE 1994 – It'll be this way for a while...every month or so, a report that FCC approval has been received for the latest in a series of “duopoly” transactions that will define the future of commercial radio...the long-awaited KOMO/KVI/KPLZ merger that created Seattle's second operating duopoly, as well as the announcement of another deal that groups KIRO AM/FM with KING AM/FM. These and upcoming transactions will contract the market's major stations from the current 10 owners down to five. The reasons for this contraction are several. Because of expansion that the FCC allowed in the early '80's there are too many radio stations to maintain financial viability. In the spirit of deregulation, hundreds of stations were either added to the radio spectrum, or were allowed to upgrade power and move nearer large markets. Some of the Seattle-area FM stations that grew from these opportunities include KNDD, KRWM, KRPM, KMTT, KBSG & KXRX. The competitive pressures that they placed on the existing stations far outweighed the available advertising revenues. At the same time, Wall Street discovered radio as an investment target, which accelerated the move away from local owner/operators like Les Smith and Wally Nelskog to names like Viacom, EZ and Affiliated. High prices created debt loads that threw more fuel on the competitive fires. Duopoly (ownerships of up to two AM and two FM's in the same market) is the FCC's attempt to restore balance. Shannon Sweatte was named GM of Radio Seattle, the merger of KOMO-AM with KVI-AM and KPLZ-FM. Bill Sigmar is GSM and Rob Dunlop is Ops Manager. Shannon was also honored as Broadcaster of the Year by the state broadcasters association. Bonneville Broadcasting will purchase News/Talk KING-AM to go with News/Sports/Talk giant KIRO-AM/FM. In a separate agreement, KIRO will handle advertising sales for Classic KING-FM, which will be owned by a trio of arts organizations as a result of a donation by the Bullitt family. Radio eras are shorter than most. For the staff and fans of KXRX, the seven-year dream was poignantly dispersed on May 27 with the final shows of Robin & Maynard, and Mike West (joined via phone by former partner Gary Crow of KMTT). As one who was there at the peak, I say for many, “For one brief shining moment, there was Camelot.”New offices and studios for KSTW-TV in the United Airlines Building and a new female co-anchor joining Don Porter on the 10 O'Clock News. Inga Hammond arrives from KSTP, Minneapolis.

NOVEMBER 1994 – In yet another aftershock on Seattle's metamorphosing radio landscape, the two drive-team teams of KXRX's halcyon years are back on the air as competing morning shows. Gary Crow and Mike West are reunited on KMTT – The Mountain. Just down the dial at 102.5, Robin Erickson and John Maynard are the morning hosts on Classic Rock KZOK. Major personality changes, along with those of formats and ownership, have created an environment in which, according to one station GM, “It'll be a years before the ratings are stable again.” None-the-less, the Summer Arbitron ratings show KMPS, KVI, KIRO, KUBE and KISW as the overall leaders, and gains for KZOK, KJR-FM, KNDD and KZOK. Asked if the Robin & Maynard Show would be the same as before, John quipped, “It's about all we know how to do. Seriously, they hired us to do “us,” and that's what people are going to hear on KZOK.” KMTT teamed Crow & West for a three-day reunion in September, and listener response was “overwhelming.” GM G. Michael Donovan feels that “this is the next step in making KMTT a legendary Seattle radio station.” Kudos to KING-FM for winning its second Marconi Award, presented by the National Association of Broadcasters to only a handful of stations annually. The Marconi is a real honor. KING-FM is the only classical music station in the nation to have received the award twice, and the only Seattle station ever to have won.

APRIL 1995 – In the few weeks since Seattle's TV landscape was irrevocably changed by the CBS network move from KIRO to KSTW, one conclusion is apparent: it's going to take time before the new competitive picture improves from fuzzy to focused. Adding to the confusion, CBS coverage of the NCAA basketball tourney has pre-empted prime time programming and KSTW's fledgling local news product. A unique perspective of the strategic impact of these changes was provided by EvansGroup's Sean Clark, speaking at a meeting of the Puget Sound Radio Broadcasters Association. Clark said that the new environment will “put the network game into an entirely uncharted area: full competition.” He noted that FOX's Rupert Murdoch had used his new premier product – NFL Football – to expand his stable of affiliates. As a result, the FOX station lineup on the desirable VHF band has grown from 25% to 40% of the total, adding $150 million in additional revenue. Following Rick Bauman's move to Northwest Radio Group, Northwest Cable Advertising GM Penny Taylor announces a series of promotions: Kerin Brasch moves from Seattle sales manager to the new position of director of sales/agency, and Catherine McConnell to director of sales/retail. Later in the year NCA will – for the first time – offer advertising on FX and The Nashville Network. KOMO-TV GM, Sandy Montgomery, announces the promotion of Carlos Espinoza to promotion manager. He'd been “acting” since Deborah Johnson's move to Phoenix at the beginning of the year. KIRO-TV has re-signed former news anchor Susan Hutchinson for its 5pm news hour with Steve Raible and the 6pm 'cast with David Kerley. After 12 years at KIRO, Hutchinson left in mid-'93 in protest of the short-lived Out of the Box news concept. Margaret Larson will consolidate her anchor duties to the 11pm and new 10pm newscasts. Seattle's chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has inducted five more area broadcasters into its prestigious Silver Circle, which recognizes lifetime achievement in broadcasting or related fields. They are: Gary Justice, who anchored virtually every KIRO news program at some time during his '72–'94 tenure; Stan Boreson, who with his accordion and baleful-looking basset hound No-Mo, entertained kids on King's Klubhouse from '49–'67; Ruth Fratt, who was KOMO's home economist from the late '40's through the '60's, using the on-air name, Katherine Wise; Bob Newman, better known as Gertrude and a host of other characters on the J.P. Patches show through the '60s and '70s, now a Channel 9 makeup artist; Craig Smith, KING program director from '88–'94, when he died at age 42 from complications following a bone marrow transplant.

MARCH 1997 – This time the facts are stranger than the rumors. A quickly fashioned three-company agreement returns orphan KIRO-7 to the ranks of major network affiliates in a reunion with the CBS network and has heads spinning at KSTW-11, where staffers anticipated a continuation with CBS under respected new owner, Cox Broadcasting. The switch apparently ensures that KCPQ-13 will maintain its profitable FOX Network affiliation, long rumored to be at risk. The deal that changes the face of Seattle TV involves A.H. Belo (present owner of KIRO and soon-to-be-owner of KING), Paramount Stations Group (a Viacom subsidiary with 11 stations and the United Paramount Network), and Cox (the news-heavy company that recently announced its intent to buy KSTW). Now follow this – Belo will trade KIRO to Paramount, in exchange for KMOV/St. Louis. Cox will complete the acquisition of KSTW from Gaylord for $160 million, then will trade the station and $70 million to Paramount in exchange for KIRO. Then Paramount will move to KSTW, sending CBS back to KIRO. The genesis of change occurred in 1995 when KIRO was bought by Belo and its 36-year affiliation with CBS ended with the network's move to KSTW. KIRO beefed up its news presence, adding hours of new weekly coverage. KSTW also invested in a local news presence. KIRO was hit with another change late last year when Belo purchased KING-TV's parent company and announced that it would choose to retain KING in the Seattle market. Rumors have abounded that Rupert Murdoch's Fox Broadcasting would be KIRO's new owner, which would have taken Fox Network programming away from KCPQ-13.

KCPQ was operated as a profitable second-tier independent before its affiliation with Fox, but has grown dramatically in conjunction with the network's maturation. KCPQ arguably was best prepared to adapt to loss of a network, but even the construction crews at the new Westlake facility are smiling at this outcome. Likewise, at KIRO's Broadcast House there are smiles all around as a result of the surprising fit of the glass slipper. A well-heeled new owner and the return of CBS are the answers to their every prayer of the past two years. KidStar Radio always had such a worthy purpose: providing quality entertainment and educational programming to children via radio, magazine, interactive telephones and computer. But it always seemed a little fuzzy around the financial edges. The money question came to the fore in mid-February when the company announced the layoff of nearly 50 staffers and prepared to shut down operations in Seattle and five other markets until fiscal reorganization can be completed.

MAY 1997 – Rock radio roared in the Winter Arbitron ratings, with Album Rock KISW soaring back to double-digit shares to reclaim the mantle as the darling among 18-34 year olds. Alternative KNDD also surged back from a recent slump to the #2 slot with young adults. KISW's overall performance is the best in the past 18 months with gains in every demographic group. Adult Album KMTT “The Mountain” gained nicely to take the #2 position in the lucrative 25-54 listener group, and Classic Rock KZOK is third in that category. Ironically, another big gainer in this book is at the opposite end of the spectrum from these stations in every respect. Low powered, Country formatted and little known KKBY-FM in Tacoma (which first appeared in the ratings report last Fall) doubled its 12+ showing and more than tripled among 25-54 year olds. Ichabod Caine, who was a dominant personality at KMPS and KRPM for more than a decade is “The Cowboy's” PD and morning host. KOMO-TV is among only 31 winners of a Peabody Award, generally acknowledged as the most prestigious prize in the broadcast and cable industry. KOMO is one of four network affiliates nationwide to be recognized for investigative reporting and public service programs. KOMO news anchors Kathi Goertzen and Dan Lewis each hosted two of the winning reports. KING5 News won the Washington AP Broadcaster's award for Best Scheduled Newscast, anchored by Jean Enersen and Dennis Bounds, for the second year in a row. Paul Silvi, Gaard Swanson, Akemi Takei and David Levin also won Best Sportscast for the third straight year. KOMO-AM1000 was honored by the AP Broadcasters for Best Scheduled Newscast and Best Spot News. This after winning the RTNDA's Overall Excellence Award in March.KCTS-9 received the 21st Century Award from the Association of America's Public TV Stations for “positioning TV on the leading edge of digital television and laying important groundwork that will benefit the entire industry.” GM Burnill Clark was recognized with an individual 21st Century Award last year. Channel 9 also received word that Bill Nye the Science Guy has garnered eight national Daytime Emmy nominations. Bad Animals/Seattle sound designers Dave Howe, Mike McAuliffe and Tom McGurk were nominated for two Emmys for their work on the Science Guy, a Walt Disney presentation. Clark Ryan has been promoted to station manager/program director of Entercom's KISW-FM, which he joined as PD last year.

DECEMBER 1997 – A recap of a tumultuous year: January – Under Michael O'Shea's guidance, New Century Media quietly added four stations in the Phoenix market to the Seattle stable of KJR AM/FM and KUBE...KOMO-TV's Joe Barnes is elevated to VP/news director...TCI takes over operation of former cable competitor Viacom, as well as NW Cable Advertising, under the moniker TCI Media Services. February – Entercom Radio becomes Seattle's largest group, adding KIRO AM/FM and KNWX to KMTT, KISW, KBSG and KNDD. President G. Michael Donovan predicts, “A group like this seems really big now, but in a few years this will feel very normal...March – [KIRO-TV, KSWT-TV changes are detailed above]

April – resignations last month of three radio GM's: Kari Winston Johnson (KIRO AM/FM, KNWX), Gary Robb (KLSY, KIXI, KEZX, KRWM), and Rich Germaine (KCIS, KCMS)...after years in which Sonics TV coverage was available only on pay-per-view, fans will be rewarded with free broadcasts on KSTW-11...May – [detailed above]...June – longtime KIRO-TV GM Glen Wright takes over as senior VP in Belo's TV group...John Woodin arrives from Dayton to become KIRO GM...Belo moves Dennis Williamson from Portland to replace Tony Twibell as president/GM at KING-TV...move than 50 KSTW-TV employees, including VP/GM Kevin Hale are riffed in preparation for transfer to GM at Sandusky radio group is Marc Kaye, who was here from '87-'89 as GM of KNUA, now KRWM...July – Q-13's new home is state of the art. KCPQ staffers are moving into the building that began life as the Vernell Candy factory in the 50's. The station lays claim to being the first all-digital TV facility in the U.S. And its CD-quality audio system is the first of its kind in broadcasting...August – TV viewers might feel like they're reliving an episode of The Time Tunnel, thanks to last month's changes at local stations. CBS returned to KIRO-7, knocking off Emmy-winning News at 10 and the popular 7 Live; KSTW-11 is an upshifted independent with the addition of UPN successes like Star Trek Voyager and The Sentinel...KONG-16 debuted as a baby-boomer flashback...September – Major realignment of anchor assignments at KIRO-7...Hot on the heels of moving into its new $25 million facility, KCPQ-13 will have new ownership, Sacramento-based John Kelly who purchased control from the Tacoma-based Bob Kelly family...legendary KJR morning jock Charlie Brown retires with a final broadcast from F.X. McCrory's...October – CBS, the nation's largest radio owner, comes to Seattle as part of a $2.6 billion acquisition of American Radio Systems, owners of KMPS, KZOK, KYCW, KBKS & KRPM...November – M's bats lifted more than just long-ball during the summer, carrying flagship KIRO-AM to its highest ratings in recent memory with a 26% boost over last season...Crow & West, the long-running personality team, has split at KMTT – West teaming with John Fisher on the Mountain afternoon show...promotions wizard Gus Swanson is promoted to director of marketing at KJR AM/FM & KUBE...December – Radio will miss Riki Pritchard's grace and style. Her retirement last month as GSM of KZOK ends a 20-year career in broadcast sales and management...having departed KMTT, Gary Crow is set to take over the afternoon drive slot at KZOK. With morning team Robin & Maynard, he reprises a combination that once led KISW & KXRX to dominant histories....KMTT's Sandy Stahl is recovering from a broken ankle, suffered in a bike accident on the same Sunday, at about the same time, of the same ankle and requiring the same kind of pins and plates as the Seahawks' Cortez Kennedy.

JANUARY 1998 – The New Year begins with salutes to three unique women who have shaped Northwest broadcasting. Jessica Longston's death in November at age 90 closed a chapter of broadcasting history that began more than 50 years ago. From her first station in Burley, ID, to the early-50s creation of KAYO, Seattle, Longston pioneered roles for women in the men's club of station ownership. Like her contemporary, Dorothy Bullitt, Longston was a visionary with a keen sense for business. Her broadcast group included stations in Bellingham, Moses Lake and Havre, MT, in addition to Seattle...When Riki Pritchard resigned as GSM of KZOK-FM, it marked the passing of a special grace and style that defined her 20-year sales and management career. Riki quickly outgrew her beginnings at KBFW, Bellingham and landed in LA, at the then-huge KROZ and KIIS. Riki returned to local radio as LSM at KZOK, she briefly segued to KMPS (before the two stations were under common ownership) then back to KZOK as GSM, where she remained until last November. Milestones include two terms as president of PSRBA, chair of the RAB's Sales Advisory Council, and a member of the Management Leadership Conference Committee...The biggest sales job in Seattle radio is Lucy Rice's chair as director of sales for the nine stations under Entercom's umbrella.

Rice administers a team of seven sales managers and two national account managers, with a total staff of 50 account execs. The Entercom stations attract about 30% of the total radio audience and just under 40% of the total ad revenues. It's an awesome responsibility and one that redefines the paradigm for radio sales management in the age of deregulation and consolidation. In prior years, sales managers oversaw marketing, inventory management and promotional coordination for only one or two stations. Today those functions must be applied to more properties, and accommodate the new cooperative promotional environment between co-owned stations.

SEPTEMBER 2004 – Spring...when a young man's fancy (and a considerable number of women's) turns to...baseballIn past years the bedrock of KIRO's dominating ratings for as much as three-quarters of the year. Things are different now that the Mariners are in their second season on KOMO-AM. Sure, by now the team's precipitous fade is known to all; but for most of the Spring rating period, hope still sprung eternal. And the M's have helped build KOMO into a competitor after years of languishing: this book a #5 finish in Total Listeners 12+ and Top 10 in Adults 25-54. That's down from last Spring, but still heady stuff for a station that was used to finishing in the 20s. The changed landscape affects considerably more stations as well; seven of the leaders had their best performances of the year. More than a handful experienced gains ranging from 20% to 50%.The radio community lost a dear and unique personality with the passing of Alice Porter at age 44. Alice brought small-town Oregon seacoast values to her long-time morning show partnership with Bruce Murdock & Tim Hunter during the heyday of Adult Contemporary radio on KLSY. She was equally known for her resounding laugh and compassionate heart.

NOVEMBER 2004 – Phil Harper is gone. He faded from this earthly plane on Oct. 11, due to complications from diabetes and heart disease. As Jones Radio Networks' Klem Daniels put it, “Phil had two heart attacks before, flat-lined both times, and they brought him back.” This time it was not to be. The way he consumed life, it was unlikely that Phil's span would go the four-score-and-seven route, but 64 is too soon. There were too many more Harry Nile mysteries to record with Jim French, too many dirty jokes to tell, too many “suits” to offend in the recording studio. From an email string of remembrances:

I see a recording studio, I see a helpless engineer and I see three earnest, business-suited, consummately professional female clients. And I see Phil, dressed in his own version of 'business casual' – asking if his clients had heard the one about the two fat lesbian hookers.” Of course, there was the voice...a deep, raspy, whiskey-smoked growl that kneaded its way into you like a deep-tissue massage...perfectly balanced between pain and pleasure. Moreover, there was a presence to Phil Harper that commanded the room. He was a bear of a man, but his aura was more than that, like the way a black hole in space sucks light from the stars. And then there was the language. Once again, from the email string: “We'll all miss Philly-Dog's bizarre stamp collections, his constantly exploding-like-a-dirty-bomb sense of humor, but most personally, I'll miss his joyous greeting to me whenever we'd show up together at a session. 'Hey Rosey, I have fresh filth for you.”Harper entered radio while in the Army, moved to the Northwest in the late 60's to work for King Broadcasting and in 1977 began an eight-year run as host of the KMPS morning team with Don Riggs, Carolyn Duncan and (later) Patti Payne. That put Country on the map in Seattle and made Phil's reputation. Like a true radio dog, Harper was working at KYCW-AM and KPLU-FM at the time of his death, in addition to his long-running lead role in the syndicated “Adventures of Harry Nile.” He was tapped for the part by Jim French, whose “Imagination Theater” is syndicated around the country. Ancil Payne was much more than just a respected chief executive of KING-TV, which he's credited with “saving” in the early '70s and guiding to national prominence.

He was a mentor to rising young broadcast and civic stars like Aaron Brown, Pat Cashman, Charlie Royer, Jim Compton and Emory Bundy, among many others. And he was a strong supporter of the arts, serving on the boards of a number of local arts organizations. He died last month at the age of 83 after a battle with cancer. Payne was born Sept. 4, 1921 in The Dalles, OR, served in the Navy during World War II, got a degree from UW and was an active member of the Young Democrats, where he met Stimson Bullitt, who eventually brought him to a struggling KING-TV in the 70s. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Valerie, daughters Alison Payne-Baader of London, Lucinda Payne Santiago of St. Louis, and Anne Barker of Bainbridge Island.

It was a privilege to write about broadcasting for MARKETING's readers, and it kept me close to a media form that I'd loved since childhood. Producing this history reminds that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Broadcasting has long been populated with special, creative people; and while I think there's still some truth in that today, there's been a decline. There still are special and creative people in radio, but there aren't as many of them, and these days the ones who remain are a bit banged up. Some of that is cyclical with the economic times, but radio was declining several years before the recession hit.

Listening levels among most all age groups (and especially among younger ones) had been dropping for years. The most recent study shows an uptick in listening, which one hopes is true, but may be related to the switch to the new Portable People Meter (PPM) to obtain ratings information. The conglomeration of hundreds, even thousands, of stations in large companies has led to cost reductions that include fewer live on-air people in many markets, and that reduces the opportunities for young broadcasters to grow into future major market leaders. In truth, there don't seem to be a lot of new ideas coming from radio. Yes, many stations are developing strategies for integrating with on-line and other digital technologies, and that's an important transformation. But radio's essential product doesn't seem to have changed much over the past 25 years. The DJ patter, the contests, the live remotes from car lots are the same as they were when I joined the club.

That might be okay if radio's appeal to its audiences was growing, but that doesn't seem to be the case. And with ad revenues down 25% for the second quarter in a row, maybe someone will say, it's time to do something to shake things up and make radio exciting and relevant again. I hope so, because it sure was great when things were that way.

Epilogue: Our publisher insists on a personal update. Nearly five years have passed since my return to Dallas and it's been even better than I'd imagined it to be near my son and daughter, their spouses and three grandsons. It's a drive of a few hours to see my parents, brother's family, aunts, uncle and cousins. My best friend from high school and college has a drink with me every month or so. After a great run with Lamar Advertising, I chose not to relocate when the company eliminated Dallas positions, and formed my out-of-home consulting company last Fall. The comp plan is heavy on futures, but the boss and I get along reasonably well. About a year ago I met Renee, and she's helping me to see how much more I can do in this world. Life is good and I am blessed.