My Love/Hate Relationship with the Walt Disney Company

imageSo, as we say good-bye to our second full day at Walt Disney World, I have to admit that I am conflicted. On one hand, I have a strong hatred towards Disney/ABC, because 8 years ago, CEO Bob Iger (himself a product of the American Broadcasting Company), decided that ABC Radio was not a core business of the Disney Company.  That started a chain of events that saw WABC and all the ABC O&O radio stations, as well as the ABC Radio Network, being sold to Citadel Broadcasting.  After spending 2.7 Billion Dollars for us, Citadel ultimately went bankrupt, which then saw Cumulus Media “merging” with the bankrupt Citadel.  That meant we now worked for Cumulus, a company run by two brothers who ultimately burdened Cumulus with so much debt, that the stock dropped to pennies, and is now in jeopardy of being delisted by the stock exchange.  Can you say history being repeated?  So, the last 8 years have not been kind to WABC, many of the people who were a part of our work family, and my personal sanity.

Now on the other hand, 8 years ago, when Disney decided to send the ABC Radio stations into oblivion, I had worked for the company long enough that I was able to “retire”. That meant that although I would continue to work for WABC for 8 more years, I was able to start collecting my ABC/NABET pension, and was considered on the books as an official Disney Retiree.

And what does that mean, you may ask. Well, it means that as a Disney Retiree, Susie and I have a lifetime Main Gate Pass..  That means that we can get 4 people into any of the parks around the world for free!  Yes, I said for free!  It also means that we can reserve a room at a Disney property for half off the going rate. Right now, we are staying the Port Orleans French Quarter for a rate that is comparable to staying at a Best Western on the side of an interstate anywhere else in Florida.  But wait, I’m not done yet…as they like to say on infomercials.  Then there are the discounts.  At present, we get 35% off merchandise, which makes ridiculously priced Disney items reasonable (like a $49.99 sweat shirt really being $35) and 20% off food items at many restaurants.  Sweet deal, huh?

imageSo, as we go through the parks, see things at our resort, and once again realize how well Disney does most things relating to their customers, I am conflicted.  Do I hate them for the last 8 years?  For the jackasses that they saddled us with, for the rotten things that happened to so many friends, and for the joke they made my radio station into?  That’s surely one way to go.   Or, on the other hand, do I revel in the fact that I am a Disney Retiree, and have a lifetime of great memories to be made, thanks to the retiree benefits the Disney Company has bestowed on me by virtue of the fact that they bought the American Broadcasting Company?

Well, like the year that Bobbie died on Dallas, the TV show, only to comeback the next year (after working out a contract) and tell the viewers that the preceding season of the show was a looooong dream, my plan is to forget the last 8 years, and to play the part of a Disney/ABC retiree.  If anyone asks me, I have just retired after working for 40 years for ABC. Citadel, Cumulus…what are they?  Way back in 1976, I started working for the American Broadcasting Company, and as an official Disney/ABC retiree, I’m just going to figure that’s the company I retired from in 2016.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!  The last 8 years were just a bad dream sequence!

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