Every morning when I awake, the first thing I do is reach for my iPad and scroll to open Tom Taylor Now.
Today is significant because it marks the last day Tom will ply his trade.
Now that he is retiring, I can tell some tales out of school about my friend and former associate.
When we worked together at Inside Radio, Bill Moyes did his yearly research project as usual but this particular year, we asked him to test what would happen if we stopped publishing the printed issue and started delivering news daily by – are you ready – a fax machine?
The results were predictable.
After all, who would really want to read their radio news on thermal fax paper which was prevalent at the time – before the onset of the Internet.
Tom and I and Steve Butler, Kyle Ruffin and Christine Burke digested the research results and I drove Bill to the airport.
But when I returned to our Cherry Hill, NJ office, Tom was the first person I encountered.
He looked me in the eye with a twinkle and said “we’re going to do it, aren’t we”?
My memory of the moment was to fumble and say something stupid like “why would we risk losing all our subscribers to do a faxed publication” to which I remember Tom repeating “we’re going to do it” almost as if he would have been disappointed if I had said no.
We did it.
He did it, really.
One human dynamo found a way to come up with four pages of news everyday in an era when radio people were for R&Rto be delivered overnight or the other printed trades to arrive.
Our competitors hesitated for years giving Inside Radiothe advantage and some tried to hire Tom away.
This was a rehearsal for radio publications in the Internet era in which Tom had developed all the advantages and he thrived.
Over the past six years, Tom, Robert Unmacht and Kristy Scott published the must-read daily Tom Taylor Now.
Tom blended his curiosity with humor and humility – a great advocate of radio but not blind to radio’s challenges.
He loves radio people and they love him – it’s evident in everything he writes.
Tom was not among the trade press happy talkers who sold their soul for an ad or an interview – the publications that I made fun here in this space.
Respectful of advertisers and grateful, but he didn’t let them influence his reporting in any way.
That’s saying a lot in an industry of spin doctors, promotional experts and eventually powerful consolidated companies.
Tom wanted to be fair and in all his iterations he always succeeded.
Now, Tom is retiring.
You have to keep in mind that it may take only 5-7 minutes to read radio news but it takes all day and sometimes well into the night to gather it.
Tom is an antiques buff. He’ll now have time to pursue his other passion and spend more time with his sainted wife, Sharan without whom he could not have devoted such passion to such monumental tasks.
I’ve have had the honor of working with Tom, the horror of having to compete against him and respect for how Tom Taylor has handled a daunting task with grace, professionalism and conviction.
I hate to see him go, but I am grateful to have known him, called him a friend and now get to see his well-earned next act in a life well-lived in an industry so grateful to have felt his reassuring presence.
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