Where did you, or do you, see your career at 53?

I am 53. About the same age as the guy who hired me 25 years ago and thankfully I am still valued by my bosses and sales reps who think my radio advertising scripts help bring in new clients and keep the current ones happy.
Such was not the case with the man I mentioned off the top.
He was roughly the same age I am now and some of the jocks and fellow writers regarded him at the time as a doddering old fellow and treated him in a way that embarrassed workers in other departments.
And yet…
This man possessed a rich, golden radio voice similar to the smooth tone of the legendary figure I’m listening to now…Jim Ladd.
Ladd is one of the few remaining “free form” deejays. He’s 67. After a long and storied career, mostly in Los Angeles, Ladd was turfed out when his station flipped formats and went all talk. He hooked up with Sirius/XM in 2011.
Back to the guy who hired me in the late ’80s.
From what I’ve been told, he was offered a job by CFRB, at the time one of the top AM stations in Toronto. He didn’t want to uproot his family so he chose to stay in small-town radio and after two decades of on-air performance, was pretty much put out to pasture writing ads.
Maybe he lacked the drive or put family concerns ahead of career advancement, but the man whose voice put all the other station announcer’s talents to shame became an unfairly maligned figure in the company’s history.
The phrase “too old” should really be changed to “out of touch” because ageism is often used to discredit the likes of Bernie Sanders…too old to be President…but some of us defy the numbers and remain vital.
Others were useless decades earlier. If you don’t have it, you don’t have it, at 53, or 23.
You can be 73 and have plenty left in the tank. If so, go for it. If not, move aside.
Paul McCartney is still playing two hour shows, as are The Rolling Stones.
Here’s my wish.
Regardless of age, let the true talents continue to entertain us and not be pushed aside by consultants…”get rid of the old guy and replace him with younger, eager employees we can pay less”…
and let’s enjoy those golden voices for as long as they can do the job. Vin Scully is still calling Dodgers games at 87. Mister Scully is a broadcasting treasure. Nobody can make you appreciate a ball game like Vin Scully because he’s the best ever and no one has come along to match his skills in putting you behind home plate, helping you savor every aspect of the game.
I have plenty left in the tank. Cheers to the rest of you who are in the same boat.

About johnnymaraca

sole proprietor of Maraca Media, former radio host (Johnny Maraca's Rock & Roll Riot), copywriter and producer and a print journalism grad.
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