An Inspiration's Next Challenge

March 2, 2002 was an influential day in the history of Tanner Friedman.

Nearly 5 years before our founding, I had an opportunity to meet one of the legends in the communications business. Lee Abrams, who led the evolution of rock ‘n roll radio, helped MTV get started and then made satellite radio a reality, was the keynote speaker at my radio alumni dinner at WJPZ-FM in Syracuse. Sitting next to him at dinner, talking shop and hearing his speech that night, just a few years into Abrams’ tenure as Chief Programming Officer for XM, helped motivate me to redirect my career toward innovation in public relations and communications. Six years later, his speech still resonates. Click here for a link to the transcript. It should be of interest to anyone who has anything to do with communications or broadcasting.

I shared the speech, upon my return, with Don. He included excerpts from it in his book. When forming the values of Tanner Friedman, we borrowed Abrams’ mantra – “Actually F***ing Doing It” – as a phrase we wanted our team to understand as a committment to accountability and new ideas.

Now, a 160 year-old company, Tribune, has hired Abrams to reinvent its business, better late than never. Read the press relase on Abrams’ blog. Finally, an “old media” company understands it has to change. The decision to bring in Lee Abrams can only be positive for Tribune in its move to the future. We will always remember his influence on Tanner Friedman. Hopefully, the entire industry will remember how, once again, he changed it for the better, for good.