Hal Moore on getting bounced from Cruisin' Oldies, current state of radio

Last week, we told you about a series of layoffs at Lincoln Financial stations -- most prominent among them Denver radio legend Hal Moore, whose position at Cruisin' Oldies 950 was eliminated.

We finally caught up with Moore, who got the news within a day of turning 72. He expresses more dismay for the others that lost their jobs than for himself.

Moore admits that finding out his position had been axed "was a real surprise to me, because I was only an hourly worker, with no benefits. I wasn't making much, and I thought, if you want to save money, there are a lot better ways to do it. But then to find out some of the other people that they let go that same day was shocking to me. Great people who'd been there for years. One of them, from the IT department, had just been named employee of the year three weeks before. And they let go one of the best production directors I've ever worked with, and a promotion director who'd been there for fifteen years. Those are the kind of people you just don't find very often.

"I've been through this before," he admits, "but I really feel bad for people with young families. They don't have Social Security like I do. That's just heartbreaking for me. Back in the old days, I made a ton of money. I always say I used to make a lot more money than I deserved, and now, I was making a lot less than I deserved." He chuckles before adding, "But when you've got kids in school, that's really a different situation."

Still, Moore took a financial hit as well -- a double one, in fact. After all, he was so happy at Crusin' Oldies that he gave up a side gig with Dial Global, a radio syndicator, in order to focus on the station. "I had been voicetracking a morning show on the country format before I got the Cruisin' job," he points out. "I did both of them for about a year and a half before I realized I couldn't do mornings at Cruisin' and then go into Dial Global and voicetrack a five-hour show." After a pause, he says, "I guess it wasn't a smart move to give up that job to stay at Cruisin.'"

He continues to be on good terms with Dial Global and is hopeful he'll be able to hook back on with the company at some point in the future -- especially given the dearth of other opportunities in the current radio market.

"It's not anywhere near what it was -- and so much of it was because of deregulation, where these corporations can own as many stations as they wanted. If the forty or so stations in the area were all independently owned, somebody would hire me. But now, there are something like five employers that you can work for. So it's a difficult time, especially for music radio."

Given the current challenges of his profession, Moore can't help looking back with nostalgia.

"I'm just so lucky that I happened to work in the glory years," he concedes. "I was so fortunate to be in radio when I was -- when it was so much fun and there was so much great stuff going on. I always said that for me, it was like being in the best fraternity on campus and not having to go to class. But things have changed so much. It's not the same business it used to be, and that's just sad."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts