Monday, February 9, 2009
I Just Work Here, People. Sorry.
I am pleased to report that Al Galdi is alive and well.
In fact, he is in the ESPN980 bullpen every morning when me, Scotty, and Solly prepare to do the "Steve Czaban Show" on Fox Sports Radio from the same studio we've been doing it from now for almost 5 years. Only it used to be the "First Team On Fox."
I could even drag him in during a segment, if I wanted to.
Unfortunately, Fox Sports Radio terminated Al on inauguration day as part of a Clear Channel company-wide shedding of over 1,000 jobs. Al was techincally a part-timer, but he too apparently had to go.
Al remains a full time update anchor and reporter for ESPN980. Just as I remain a full time employee there, as does Scott, as does Solly.
I cannot give you, the curious listener, a coherent reason for this change. It was not my decision, and my passionate pleas to reconsider have apparently fallen on deaf ears.
Just so I was sure, I asked Al if he was making a lot of money at FSR. Hell, maybe he's got Scott Boras as his agent, what do I know?
He told me the number. I was shocked.
Al was the biggest bargain since Ryan Howard pre-arbitration. Given the massive restructuring/layoffs at FSR, I found his paltry, part-time salary to be inconsequential. No less than 3 full shows were canceled, and another one merged with existing talent from KLAC. All of that didn’t get us under our “luxury tax” I wondered?
Now I don't want this to sound like sour grapes, especially given many of my friends and colleagues at FSR who got vaporized all-together in this "consolidation.” For them, I truly feel sorry. As everybody getting pink slipped these days.
For Al in particular, this is a minor setback. In fact, I think he’s going to come out of this even better in the months ahead. His success is not in question. As I told him personally, I have found that a career is like a baseball game. Setbacks are just one-half of one inning. When “the man” hangs 2 runs on you with a layoff or firing, it’s just his turn at bat. You can post 3 runs yourself in the bottom of the inning, or in any one of the next.
It's a huge loss for my show, however, since Al was quite integrated into everything we do. As you know, we crafted segments like "Hey Galdi!" and "SuperFriends" with his particular expertise in mind. Those segments are now officially DOA.
The "4-wide" chemistry of the show is also blown apart with his loss. As I have come to learn in radio, nothing trumps chemistry and continuity. We had both with Al on board. Not just the nearly 5 years as our anchor, but he was our producer for two years when Scott and I prowled the 7-10 p.m. eastern time slot for FSR.
I've never met anybody who works harder, focuses on his job better, or improves his craft like Al. He's like a little brother to me, and I miss him badly on the show.
So if you, my listener, miss him, just multiply that by 10 and you know how I feel. If it might sound during shows going forward that I don't give a shit, or have "moved on", do not be misled. It's just that as a professional, I owe it to you, the audience, and to my employer to do the best job I can do.
In sports terms, Al Galdi is like my Wes Welker.
Imagine Tom Brady’s shock and dismay if he showed up one day at Patriots camp to be told that they had to cut Welker, his reliable, go-to, slot-machine wideout. “Don’t worry, Tom. You’ve still got Randy Moss, you’ll be fine.”
But again, I don’t control the roster. Never thought it would be an issue. I’m trying my best right now to either find new money to “pay” for Al to return (how ‘bout a bake sale!), or at least convince the powers-that-be of his real value.
It appears to be going nowhere, I regret to report.
In the end, my situation is not unlike that of many of you in corporate life. Sometimes decisions are made without your input that are simply bad ideas. Yet how do you delicately tell those above you who made the call: “this is an awful idea, but you are not an idiot for making it. Honest mistake. Now, how about we try to fix it?”
Al Galdi is going to be fine. In fact, if you want to reach out to him, just drop me an e-mail, and I’ll forward it to him personally. I’d like to be the middleman on this, because I appreciate reading your thoughts on Al’s work too, and always enjoy comparable stories of corporate silliness. Mine, is probably minor compared to some others.
As always, you can get your little dose of Al on Czabe.com with me and Scott on our awesomely illustrated “Czabecasts” by way of the boys at SIM.
In the meantime, we press on. And that’s all I’m going to say at this time.