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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

Holy crud. 30 years.

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Funny, the things that go through your head as you walk through a dark parking lot in the middle of the night.

I'd just gotten out of my truck Wednesday morning and started heading toward the back door here at Radio City when my yet-to-be-caffeinated brain started thinking about just how many times I'd taken this very same trek over the years, how often I'd rolled through the gates at 3 a.m. to start another work day.

It was then that I realized--it's now September.   I started here in September.  September of 1982 to be precise.

Holy crud.  30 years.

Ronald Reagan was President and the Brewers were pushing toward their first American League pennant as I settled in with Bob Reitman on 94WKTI that early autumn.   My hair was black, abundant, and not yet taking occupation of my nostrils.  I was in the final throes of single life, a wedding on the horizon the following May.  I'd never flown in an airplane, much less left the country. Milwaukee had two newspapers, a long-time police chief (Harold Breier) and a longer-time mayor (Henry Maier).  We still had a bridge to nowhere, the Grand Avenue was new and Pabst was still made, well, at Pabst.

Holy crud.  30 years.

John McCullough and Melodie Wilson were part of the newsroom I got to share, along with vets like Mark McLaughlin, Bill Taylor, Kathie Anderson, Gael Garbarino and Jim Schlosser.   Farm director Walt Anderson would come by each morning to pick up his wire copy, cigar already sparked at 4 a.m.   Gordon Hinckley would follow, the dean of Milwaukee radio men who shared morning drive with guys down the dial like Charlie Hanson, Bob Barry and Larry The Legend.  

Much has changed, a lot of it for the good.   Plenty of talented people came and went, and too many good friends have died.   There are still a few folks around who pre-date me, but their numbers dwindle with each new e-mail about a recent retirement.

Computers, email and social media change the way we do our jobs.   Tape is gone, and turntables are museum pieces.   Clacking teletypes are the stuff of old movies.   Walt and his cigar would now be relegated to the back loading dock where smoking now thrives in exile.   Good luck finding an ash tray.

Times change, as does the way we do things.  Our company--once a pair of newspapers, a TV outlet and a pair of radio stations--is now a national, diverse and publicly held concern.   When I got here, we were considered separate entities with little in the way of corporate co-mingling or cross-promotion.    We were seen by some as a local media monopoly, a communications "death star" that ruled the news roost.   The suits downtown wanted nothing that would further that notion locally.

I've seen bosses hired and fired, formats tweaked, re-brandings executed.   I, myself, got re-purposed in 2007, given a new life down the hall at Newsradio 620WTMJ.   This place gave me a chance to see the world, and to tell anyone who'd listen what I'd seen.   There've been countless laughs--on air, and off.  A bunch of really generous people worked very hard to give me opportunities I could never have dreamed of.  

That's the beauty of this job: walking through that same parking lo each dayt, you never know what's going to happen once you pop that door open and start a new morning. No two are ever the same.  Some go better than others.  And, it never feels like work.  Through all the changing faces and times and technologies, that has stayed the same.

Holy crud.  For 30 years.

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