Do you remember your first job…the job where mom or dad drove you to work because you were still a kid? They were as excited for you as you were for yourself because you were taking that first big step into adulthood and it was an affirmation that they had done a pretty good job with you because you were off to your independence and nearly off and away.
That was Kendall and that first job was KFBK radio where she’s been going for 24 years. Yep. She never stopped. Since she was 14-years-old Kendall has been greeted every day by the radio family who practically raised her. They saw her through high school, her high school graduation, her Sac state college days, her boyfriends, best friends, and then, most recently, cancer. Through it all, she never skipped a beat, and that radio family…Kitty O'Neal, Farmer Fred Hoffman, and Pat Walsh (to name a few)…have been there.
Then, a couple of weeks ago on a Friday morning, Kendall was called on the phone by the station president and told not to bother coming back. She was told she was being let go and was now a casualty of iHeart's 'Reduction in Force'. She would receive information about her severance package in the coming days, but “bye-bye” and “we will have someone collect your things for you.” Heartless! She didn’t even hear “thanks for giving us the best years of your life over the last two decades". In that instant, Kendall died. She was ripped from her radio family without even the ability to go say good-bye. And her radio family would never hear her again on the KFBK airwaves.
This outraged a couple of big players in the radio family. You know them. They weren’t happy. They revolted. These hosts thought about Kendall, her recent battle with cancer, and the fact that they practically raised her, but they also thought about their own radio family…you. They thought about their fans who came to know and love Kendall, too. They said “oh, no. We can’t live without Kendall. We need her. We love her and she loves us. And we are her family ”. So they fought, and, they fought hard.
Yes, iHeart media had forgotten that people have hearts, that fans pay their paychecks, and that the Pat Walsh family fought hard to see Kendall through cancer. iHeart couldn’t just let her go, but they did.
Long story short: After a lot of urging and finagling on the part of the Hosts to management at KFBK, they got some reprieve and they were able to talk management into getting Kendall back, but you know who really lost in the chaos of the moment? Kendall. So shell-shocked at the event of losing her radio family without even getting to say goodbye to the radio family who raised her. But when offered the chance to come back she said yes, and then found out what the new terms would be.
She lost more than half her hours and her status went from Full Time to Part Time. They cut her pay to minimum wage. Yes, you read that right...minimum wage. Equally as bad...they took away Kendall's Full Time benefits including her health benefits.
Cutting Kendall's hours is hurting the Pat Walsh Show because producing his show takes time. Losing production time has been hard on Pat. That’s a fact. But, for Kendall, the reality is much worse than the shock of this event. She doesn’t qualify for the full unemployment because she is working 20 hours a week, she has no benefits, and now she has to worry about cancer coming back from stress and how she's going to pay for her medical needs. For months she's been helping Pat carry us through some pretty tough times with COVID, at a time when cancer survivors should be worrying about protecting themselves against COVID. She was an essential worker from day 1 since the virus outbreak undergoing chemo for 3 hours a day 5 days a week and then went in to work at the radio for 8 hour shifts.
As listeners, we can’t help that iHeart radio seems heartless, but as friends, we can help give Kendall some peace of mind to get through this. I would like it if we could help Kendall with the funds necessary to pay for health insurance because of her recent cancer experience. We can't control what management does to Kendall or Pat, but we can show iHeart Radio that their listeners are made up of thousands of real people who have real hearts. We are a family and we help each other.