Chapter 31 - Meet the New Boss

Pete Moss walked slowly across the parking lot thinking about the first day of a new normal for WRSE and WMJM.  

He was adjusting to the idea of being the owner and how ill-prepared he was for the responsibility. 

Thankfully, Kevin Storm was willing to take on a new role at the station as General Manager, allowing Moss to continue news and plot a path for the station’s and his friends and colleagues future. 

Pete asked Emjay to cover the morning news for him today so he could get ready for a meeting with everyone on staff.  Kevin greeted him with a cup of Karen’s coffee and one of her cinnamon rolls. 

“Good morning, boss.  Are you ready?” 

“Watch it there, Kevin, please call me Pete.  

"I hope so.  What I’d like to do is reassure everybody they’ve got a job and we’re going to do all we can to keep it that way.  I’d like you to cover the broadcast schedule for the week and the re-assignments we talked about last night.  Then we’ll tell them about the employee stock offering I hope we can pull together.  Think that’s enough, Stormie?” 

“You got it, boss!”  Kevin gave Pete a soft punch on his shoulder, he knew Pete was prepared for the job. 

Pete and Kevin walked into the station’s conference room and found the whole WRSE/WMJM family gathered around the table, sharing chairs, or leaning against the wall.  Everyone got quiet. 

“Good Morning, everyone.” Pete started, “First, I want to thank all of you for coming to Jack’s funeral yesterday.  It meant a lot to me and a lot to Jack’s friends for Jack’s station to be represented. 

“Second, while there are some things in flux right now, I can tell you this.  The station is staying on the air and will keep operating like we have been.  As Jack’s succession plan goes through the court system, there may be some moments when things look bleak.  But, Jack’s plan was for us, all of us, to keep his dream alive.  

“About a month ago, Jack told me he wanted me to become owner of the station and we planned to do that over several years while I learned the ropes from….”  Pete paused, stepped back and grabbed a tissue to wipe some sand from his eyes.  He cleared his throat and continued. 

“No one saw this coming, and I wish Jack were here today because I’m not ready.  Thankfully, Kevin Storm has experience running a radio station and has agreed to step in as our general manager.  I’m going to keep doing the news with some more help from Emjay as long as she can stay with us.  It’s going to be business as usual, but the first special thing I’d like us to do is put together a special program about Jack Beeman and what he means to Roseville. 

“Steve and Jeff will be leading the production, but we’ll need all hands on deck.  If you’ve been wanting to work in production or help out with interviews – now is your chance.  Let either Steve or Jeff know you’re interested and we’ll give you some instructions and put you to work. 

“Finally, while some roles are changing; as far as I’m concerned we are still colleagues and I’m glad we are in this together.  We’ve done some great things this year – the ski show broadcasts, the live remotes from Gus & Tom’s, and the program about Jack is going to be excellent.  I appreciate your work and your confidence.” 

With that, Pete stepped away from the front of the room and slowly made his way around the room, pausing to shake hands and exchange some words with each person.  That’s when the tears started to flow for Pete, it was the first time since he got the call from Chetek where he didn’t have something waiting on him and he could finally relax and react to the course of events which changed his life and the city of Roseville. 

Kathy Jones was the last person Pete spoke with, and he wished her well on the upcoming Sports Tonight broadcast from Gus & Tom’s.  It was the first night of the playoffs and the hometown team was in the state semi-final game tonight at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. 

Kathy and coach Suter were driving to La Crosse after lunch for the game and live remotes before, during, and after the game.  Steve Jackson and Coach Sawyer were calling the station’s play by play for WMJM and WRSE. 

The rest of the coaching brotherhood – Mac and Hidorn are hosting Sports Tonight from Gus & Tom’s.  The two coaches would keep tabs on the other semi-final game taking place in Oshkosh and scores on the playoff games involving teams from the bigger schools. 

All of them were pretty excited to have Roseville’s team make it this far on the road to State and for the success their little show was experiencing in its first season.  One of the Madison TV stations even came out to do a feature story for the news on the small town station.  Gus & Tom were pretty excited to get an opportunity to maybe make the air as a backdrop for the show. 

While Kathy and coach Suter got ready, Steve Jackson was already driving north to LaCrosse.  

Before the staff meeting, Pete and Kevin told Steve they wanted him to be part of the station for a long time to come.  Among the items on the table was becoming the voice for the station’s big broadcasts, a role previously performed by Pete.  Moss told Steve he knew he couldn’t do everything, instead he’d be available to fill in when necessary. 

Traveling north along the Mississippi River through Cassville, Jackson thought to himself the future for the station, Roseville, and himself was looking pretty good.  As he considered his own path to Roseville from the big city of Chicago, he paused and thought about Jack.  

If it weren’t for Jack Beeman, he wouldn’t even know where Roseville was, and now it looks like he could be here a very long time.  He smiled as he lost the last of the WRSE signal on his car radio, with the crackle of static interrupted by an incoming call.