Bankruptcy be damned: Don't stop advertising, Tom Shane!

News that Centennial-based Shane Co. has filed for bankruptcy no doubt sent a wave of shock through radio-business folks in all fourteen states where the company's stores are located. Businesses of every description are cutting back on media buys, but Shane Co. has maintained its hefty presence on the airwaves, thereby providing what sales execs likely saw as a solid revenue foundation. If the firm suddenly stops advertising, however, that foundation will suddenly seem like quicksand.

Plenty of listeners despise the spots starring company founder Tom Shane (pictured). For instance, he's mentioned near the top of this San Diego-based Yelp page, which lists things described as "like nails on a chalkboard." But I've always had a perverse fondness for Shane's nasal bray, as well as the slogan "Now you've got a friend in the diamond business" -- the "now" implying that something new is going on, even though the phrase has been used in commercials since my childhood.

The company was founded in 1971, and Shane's ads have been ubiquitous for almost as long. Note that he was name-checked in "Crack the Bell," a Wall of Voodoo song released way back in 1981. "Tom Shane's a friend of mine!" WOV lead singer Stan Ridgway declares at one point. "I really like him -- he's in the industry!"

Granted, I've never purchased a gem from Mr. Shane, or even set foot in one of his outlets -- but his mere presence was oddly reassuring. Shane insists that he'll be operating as per usual while he goes through the bankruptcy process, and I hope that includes advertising, too. Radio needs him these days -- and so do those of us who could use a friend right now.

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