I started as sales manager at WIVK in March of 2004. I had moved from Birmingham, and was going through a divorce, so personally my life was a disaster at that time.
Jeff was doing morning sports on WIVK (the Sports Animal, WNML hadn’t gone on the air yet).
So throwing myself into my work, I’m the first sales-type there every morning, trying to get a hold of the sales staff and understand the market. Jeff would come in my office every morning between his sports reports, and sit in one of the chairs in front of my desk and talk to me…and he always had a smirk grin on his face.
Years later, he and I were talking about his visits to my office when I first started at WIVK…and he verified my suspicions…he thought I was in over my head and he was there to pick my brain and was curious as to what kind of plans I had. He never expressed skepticism, but I could sense empathy because I was indeed in a very tough situation and he knew it.
On his visits, we talked about sports, politics and other things besides radio, but he was always kind to me and had a great sense of humor.
His visits in my early days in Knoxville were always comforting to me while I was in a situation that was a pressure cooker. A few years later, I went with Jeff to an Ohio State game in Columbus and enjoyed it immensely. Jeff was one of the good guys…a guy that could make you smile and provide comfort to a friend.
When Mike Hammond and I were manning the News Department in the mornings at WIVK we would call radio stations around the area early in the morning to check and see if anything was happening in their town. So Monday-Friday I would always call Jeff at WHUB in Cookeville. Ever so often something noteworthy would happen and he would give us a “voicer” sometimes with an actuality. But we spoke most mornings. I could tell then he would be moving to a bigger market. He was the best that I called in those small markets.
He was always cooperative and would “talk” to you. I got to know him better when he moved to WIVK and to WNML. Sheree was my rep when I was handling Hiller at WIVK. I’ll be praying for her as well.