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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

Did We Do Our Job--Or, Did We Do Too Much Of It?

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        He was nothing, if not blunt.

        I love talk radio, the listener e-mailed mid-show  Friday morning, but enough about this Midwest Airlines sale.      He then made a fecal reference to the story, and promised to come back to the station "when we'd gotten our priorities straight."

        I wrote back, saying I thought we'd made the right choice in giving the story the play it had gotten on Wisconsin's Morning News.   I also suggested that he'd probably want to avoid other media outlets, too, since they seemed to be giving it the same amount of attention.      That said, I also admitted to him that we might've failed to do our job thoroughly if we didn't explain the story's importance.

        Trust me, business stories usually make my eyes glaze over--I have no background in money because, coincidentally, I don't have a lot of money.    Never did.    Stocks, as I grew up amid folks of modest means in Sheboygan, where for OTHER people.     Like the guy with the monocle on the Monopoly board.      My parents thought the best possible way to save for retirement was life insurance.    They wouldn't even buy a house, when they had the chance, deeming it too risky.

       One doesn't have to have any Midwest stock, though, to realize how big a deal this is to Milwaukee: look how many people work there, or know people who do.     Realize how much Midwest gives back to the community at a time when some of the traditional deep-pocketed locally-based companies are either going away or getting bought up by outsiders.     And, as Jon Byman pointed out this morning, remember how big-league Milwaukee looks to the rest of the nation (and world) by having a HOMETOWN airline using Mitchell International as a hub, providing direct flights to major cities.      

       Not just any airline, either: one that opted to go after a high-class niche at a time when other carriers thought the business plan had to include low fares and sub-Soviet service.     You can proudly say you're from Milwaukee, the hometown of Midwest Airlines, without having to worry about someone telling you a horror story about how Midwest lost their luggage, missed their connection, or treated them poorly.

       Midwest IS a big deal--it's a huge story, and one that'll no doubt grind on until the money people put pen to paper and the feds are done sniffing out the possible anti-trust angles.      I hope we've done the job in terms of explaining the nuts and bolts, as well as what this means to all of Milwaukee--even to those of us who's only stake in Midwest comes when we buy a ticket.

       And, as of today, it looks as though we'll have the chance buy some more of their wide leather seats--unless something else happens.    Of course, we'll have to report on that, if and when it does.

       And, that'll probably mean another angry e-mail from my new buddy.

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