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John Mercure: Mercurey Rising

Bob Harlan is THE Man

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We just had NFL announcer Kevin Harlan on Wisconsin’s Afternoon News.  If there is a nicer guy in this business I have never met him.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Kevin’s dad, Bob, is one of the most decent, honorable men I have ever met.

Let me share a couple of stories.

I was a young reporter in Green Bay from 1995-1999.  Bob Harlan was CEO and Chairman of the Board during those years.  Those were great years.  The Packers went to the Super Bowl two of those years.

It was hyper competitive to cover anything related to the Packers.  If Reggie White sneezed, my bosses wanted us to get video of the tissue involved.  It was crazy.  During one stressful day, I couldn’t get anyone at the Packers to call me back.  As my deadlines creeped in on me I was feeling tense.   I don’t remember the exact story I was doing, but I decided to call the Packers switchboard and ask for Bob Harlan.  As the receptionist rang Harlan’s office I remember thinking, “Boy is this a naive and desperate idea”.

Just as I was trying to figure out what I was going to tell my News Director about the story I wouldn’t be able to report, Bob Harlan answered the phone.  He answered his own phone!  He asked me how long I had been at WLUK and he complimented me on some story I had done earlier in the week.  I was blown away.  He then gave me some information I could use in my story.

“Call me back anytime, young man,” Harlan told me.  It saved my story and probably saved my career in Green Bay.  You could argue I wouldn’t be hosting this show today without the kindness of Bob Harlan.

The other story involves my grandfather.

Back in the day when the Packers moved the Gold Package games out of Milwaukee, my grandpa wasn’t happy.  He was upset because somehow his new seats in Green Bay got messed up or something.  To be honest with you, I don’t remember what the details were.  What I do know is that he called Bob Harlan and left him a message.  The next day Harlan called him back.  My grandpa thought it was someone playing a trick on him.  It wasn’t.  It was Bob Harlan.  Can you imagine?  In those days Harlan had to be getting a phone call from almost EVERY Gold package ticket holder.  None of them were happy with losing the games in Milwaukee. 

Bob Harlan made it a little bit better for my grandpa.  That is what Bob Harlan has always done… make it a little bit better.

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