Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Good Bye Dan?

In case you missed it yesterday, WDSU announced the "early retirement" of Dan Milham beginning Dec. 31, 2008. Are you surprised? I am. Less than a month ago I asked Dan at the Jefferson Parish sponsored Hurricane Preparedness meeting at the Alario Center..."Dan...you're a year older than me (61). When ya gonna retire?" Dan said..."not anytime soon based on the economy & my 401-K"! Soooooooo, what happened here? My spin is this. TV is a cruel business. You are hired but then your job depends on 1) ratings & 2) personal market research. When I started with Ch. 8 in 1978, Dan was doing radio(WGSO) with Kim Petersen & also weekend weekend for Ch. 6. After seeing Russ Minshew(deceased), Dallas Rains(KABC-TV, Los Angeles) & John Hambleton try being WDSU's head weather guy, Dan asked management to give him an opportunity. They did and he thrived for the next 25 years. So why the change now? 1) WWL-TV is clearly # 1 in the ratings followed by FOX 8 with WDSU-TV lagging badly at 5,6 & 10 PM. 2) Market research has Margaret Orr higher rated than Dan. Result...Bye Dan. That is too bad as I enjoyed Dan's wit/humor over the years. I almost had the same fate back in 1980. Ch. 8's ratings were slipping and my market research was awful since I had only been here 2 years. The station's consultants back then said I should be fired since...."he will NEVER make it in this market". Fortunately for me, my General Manager (since deceased) told them NO..."I didn't ask him to replace a legend (Nash), but to create a new one, and that takes time." Since the best Ch. 8 has been in my 30+ years here is # 2, my market research has saved me & I thank my viewers for that. Hopefully Dan received a good retirement package for he really is a good guy. I wish him well and hope to join him on the golf course after my shoulder heals.

Weather has turned warm again and will stay that way thru the weekend.

4 comments:

Beans said...

Dan is a nice person. He will be missed.

Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dailynola28 said...

Bob, I'm surprised you'd be so bold to disclose a personal conversation to your viewers. You're right Dan has thrived for 25 years, and did until his retirement was announced. It was my understanding WDSU offered a real deal of a retirement package to about a dozen of their employees, and Dan was one of them. Ratings had nothing to do with it... money did... If you were a large corporation doesn't it make sense to try and phase out older more expensive employees for newer, cheaper ones? Maybe if you had any sense at all... that would have crossed your mind first instead of being rude. It sounds to me Bob, that you are a little too concerned with your competition which reasons why you wrote that entry in the first place... a little relieved maybe?

Aaron said...

I remember Meeting Dan and he was a very nice Picture and he took a picture with me.