And So It Begins…

It’s funny. During your younger years, retirement seems like forever away. Those “Golden Years” will arrive eventually and I’ll deal with them at that time.

In your 20s, you can’t even imagine it. When your 30s roll around, people keep telling you that you should be stashing money for that eventual phase of your life. Yet, it’s still hard to comprehend.

I was in my 40s when I started feeling obligated that I should be doing something towards the cause. After all, it was just a short two decades away and by that time, you’ve put four of them in the books.

Then in your 50s, you start to worry that you didn’t do enough, that it’s too late, that Social Security will run out or not be enough. Next thing you know, your 60s arrive and it starts to get serious.

I’ve had a very, very diverse career path, starting out mowing lawns, then a real job at Sears, some United Airlines flight kitchen stints during summers while in college. And then, I graduated and headed out into the world to play radio.

My first college radio broadcasts were in 1975. I can count up 8 sets of call letters that I’ve been a part of, with the most recent being KRKO in Everett, aka “Everett’s Greatest Hits.” This was really a bonus gig, as I had decided years ago that I didn’t want to plunge back into radio full-time again, especially after the collapse of the Murdock, Hunter and Alice show in 2003.

That was the beginning of my personal reinvention. I went from goofball radio personality to copywriter, comedy writer and picking up another half-dozen skills from my near decade at a local advertising agency. I had already been using Tim Hunter Creative Services as an umbrella for all my freelance work, but I started to build that up while also working as the creative director of my buddy Corey Newton’s agency, Create Impulse.

My basic thinking was, rather than put all my eggs into one unstable radio basket, I would diversify and have a lot of different irons in the fire. These days, I have at least 8 different sources of revenue coming in that allow me to have a pretty accommodating schedule. However, the work still needs to get done.

Back in 2018, Everett’s KRKO flipped from a Sports Talk format to a “greatest hits” format, featuring songs I grew up with and that I played on the radio years ago. I sniffed around about maybe cutting some tracks for them and the next thing you know, we were putting a deal together for me to do the morning show.

Now, I had been on the air before solo, but when the KLSY thing blew up and I found myself on “The Wolf”, I realized that it wasn’t just being on the radio that I missed so much, as it was the playground of two or three people playing off each other. That’s why after a year of playing country music at The Wolf, I let radio go and did the reinvention thing.

But all these years later–basically, 14 years after my last shift at The Wolf–I still had the radio bug and I wanted to prove to myself and everyone listening that I could still do this. When a station makes a change like KLSY did and just upends your career, you have that feeling of “I want to show those bastards I’ve still got it” and for the last five years, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

But now, the amount of time it takes each day for me to do a morning show full of fun, original comedy and quirky bits–which is what I love to do–is just too much. If I give up the morning show, I will reclaim a minimum of 60 hours a month to do other things, or even just make the multiple jobs I’m doing now easier to achieve.

So, I’ve notified the station that I’m done. Oh, not right away, but I would like them to find someone to take over the gig. I’ve given KRKO nothing but my best for almost five years and I could keep doing this if I scaled things back or did lesser breaks, etc, and just become a talking voice. But that’s not a Tim Hunter radio show.

I hate when you refer to yourself in the third person. Really? Me, too!

You know, after KOMO radio squeezed out my old boss, Larry Nelson, they were far from gracious. When that happened, I kept telling Larry, “You need to get back on the air! People miss you!” and he replied, “Timmy, I’m done.”

I didn’t understand it then. I really get it now.

Once you get rid of that need to prove yourself to people and realize you’ve already done that over the span of your career, you can let go. I will continue writing for Radio-Online which I’ve been doing for a couple of decades now. That will keep me up on current events and its basically writing a radio show every day, just not having to record and produce it.

KRKO has been informed of my intent, a press release will eventually follow and the search for my replacement will go on. My hope is for sooner than later, so that I can trim back the rather hectic pace of my current lifestyle. In the meantime, I’ll try to savor my last couple of weeks in broadcasting, as I get ready to hang up the headphones for good.

Retirement. It won’t be a declared “Retirement Day”, but rather a series of identifying things and letting go, one by one.

And so it begins….

Tim Hunter

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