by Bill Love
I was recently contacted by Ellen Bayley, daughter of Tony Brooks. It was Tony’s birthday, and she was having people record some videos for his party. I knew exactly the story that I was going to tell.
I heard Tony’s name often when I first got into the radio business. Tony was the manager and later owner of a great top 40 station, WORD Radio in Spartanburg. Of all the people in this business, Tony may have been the only one that I have never heard criticized, personally or professionally. I applied three times to WORD and was turned down all three times, twice by Tony himself. I have kidded him about that through the years, but he was right. As I said, WORD was a great Top 40 station and I was NOT a great Top 40 DJ. I’m still not.
Years later, I worked with Tony at WFBC. I had always been a staff DJ, introducing songs and giving time and temperature, but was starting to do a more personality-oriented morning show. It was very difficult not knowing if people would like certain things. There was a lot of satire, and some of the things were so different that I didn’t know if anyone would get it. I was talking with him in the hallway one day about the show and Tony smiled and said, “That’s good radio.” WOW! You have no idea how that made me feel. He was such a radio pro, so respected, and he thought that I was doing good radio.
I have thought about that moment hundreds of times when I questioned whether something was good. That doesn’t mean that I’m always right, but it does mean that I’m qualified to form an opinion and decide. I’m certain that Tony does not remember that moment, but I do. It made me think about conversations that I have had that I may not remember that may have encouraged or discouraged someone. We ought always to remember the power of our words. When you speak with someone, even about something trivial, remember that the other person may never forget those words. I know that I will never forget the words of Tony Brooks, “That’s good radio.”