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JR’s Departure Still Sinking In For Michael Rock

I don’t know what it’s like to work a day without his wisdom readily available to me in the office right next door to mine. –Michael Rock

Left to Right (Michael Rock, Kevin Matthews, Christine Fox, Neal White, J.R.) Circa 1995. TSM

“You got a second?” he said. “Sure”, I said as I followed JR into his office and he closed the door. It was Halloween. The whole radio station was in a great mood. Sleepy, but in a great mood. The Red Sox had won the World Series the night before.

JR looked serious. “I tried to put this off for as long as possible, but…”

Never in my wildest dreams could I have ever predicted what was coming next.

“I’m leaving the station.”

Dumbfounded.

Dead silence.

What?

How could he leave? I was stunned. Then, he explained to me how he wanted to shake up his life a bit. He had spent the last 20 years of his life…morning, noon and night…living for Fun 107. If JR was awake…chances are he was working at making Fun 107 a better, more entertaining radio station to listen to. In the later years, those efforts were extended to making Fun107.com the most relevant website on the Southcoast.

I guess I knew it had to end at sometime, but I never really pictured it happening so soon. It’s funny (and this is completely, 100% true, my hand to God)…in the several weeks leading up to him breaking the news to me, I had been thinking about how awesome the morning show had been sounding lately. I thought to myself, “Wow, when it comes to our morning show…these are the good old days.” I’d think about it while I was out for a run, and I promised myself that I would say it to J.R. I’d tell him how easy it is to do the morning show with him (and Larry, of course). But, I never said it. It’s just never the right time to say something corny like that to your boss…your co-worker…your friend.

There were so many mornings when we’d be wrapping up the show in disbelief that it was already 9 o’clock. It was just 3 friends hanging out having fun every morning…and the audience seemed to like it. Fun 107 enjoyed record high ratings during these past few years. Every time the ratings would go up…we’d all say to ourselves there’s no way they could possibly get any higher. But they did. The ratings continued to grow. JR leaves Fun 107 with some of its highest station-wide ratings ever in the station’s nearly 25 year history.

This morning as we were signing off the air I got butterflies in my stomach. The reality of JR’s departure is starting to sink in. You have to understand that I have worked with him my entire adult life. I was almost literally a child when I started working here at Fun 107 more than 18 years ago. I don’t know what it’s like to work a day without his wisdom readily available to me in the office right next door to mine.

I’ve realized with some shock that suddenly I am going to be the OLDEST person on the Fun Morning Show. How has that happened??? After years of us all making fun of JR’s age…now all of a sudden I’M the old guy on the show!! As J.R. would say…”YIKES!”

Fun 107 is a special radio station. Our listeners have literally grown up with us. As JR heads down 195 West for one last time, I want him to know that “these are, in fact, the good old days, my friend.” I am so happy for you that you are finally doing something for yourself. I know you will love living in Phoenix. You’ve been such an inspiration to me for all the years I’ve known you. It was YOU who was the ROCK. Strategic. Steady. Stoic.  While I will miss you terribly when you’re gone, I find comfort in knowing that I am surrounded by a quarter million people who will feel the same.

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