Why Rick Kogan deserves his success

I've been wanting to write about Rick Kogan for a while, but I've been too busy working and too tired during my downtime to clear my mind enough to do a post, but this is something that has to be put out there.

If you've noticed my masthead (the top part of this blog), you've seen Rick Kogan's quote for a while. He's been a newspaper writer for several years, and has worked at the Chicago Tribune for the last chunk of his career. He's also authored several books, has been on TV and radio, and has hosted events all over Chicago. Bottom line: he's a very successful media guy, and I'd say he has the best gig in town.

The fact that he submitted a supportive quote of my blog shows what an open-minded person he is, who cares about quality more than celebrity. Sure, he knows everyone, even powerful people in politics, but he doesn't judge people on their resume or pedigree. For example, not only is the quote in the header an example of his generosity, but he also was very cool when I first met him around eight years ago. I first met him at an appearance he did at the Harold Washington Library for his Ann Landers book, and he signed the book for my mom and wrote that I'm very smart. I barely talked to the guy, but he was complimentary in that way. Then I met him at another book event at the Chicago History Museum, and he asked me to come on his radio show to talk about a book that he actually bought for me! So I went to his show, went on the air, and he said I could come back whenever I wanted. Which I did. I ended up going to the radio station several times after that, and would just hang out in the studio and watch him do interviews.

What's important about his invitation is that he *never* asked me what I did for a living, didn't ask me what my educational background was, where I was from, who I knew...nothing. All he did was meet me, liked me as a human being, and invited me to his show. Then after that, while still never asking me anything, gave me an open invitation. Seriously, who would do that? It seems like something out of fiction, but that's the way he operates. He even let me come on his show a few times to promote a reading for the book (anthology) I published and for a podcast seminar I did, in addition to just making comments on the air once in a while (you can hear a couple interviews he did with me on my media page).

Also, when I eventually got work at the radio station he was on (which took several attempts and rejections btw), I ended up filling in for his producer a few times. Rick always got the producer, the news guy, and the engineer whatever they wanted from Starbucks. Every single week. I've worked with various radio people, and I haven't seen such generosity from others, even the ones who earn a lot more than him. But that's how he is: he thinks about other people and has a truly giving spirit. Maybe it's how he was raised, or that he's retained that 1960's attitude, but he has helped many people throughout the years. He has paid attention to those musicians, writers, artists, and others who don't have the slick PR campaigns or the insanely huge followings and has promoted them, and given them exposure that has helped them.

Also, through the years I've been writing and working in radio, he has been consistently encouraging. I've had my disappointments and have encountered people who haven't given me a break or who have been discouraging or downright rude, but he's always complimented me and has even told me that I should be tapped to do more than I'm doing now. It hasn't happened, but even if it never will, I can keep his words in my mind to remind me that he's one of the talented, successful people who believes in me. And I'm sure others who've met him would say the same as what I've said.

Right now he's filling in at another radio station, and he continues to write and have an interesting life. If anyone deserves continued success and a dynamic social life, it's him. There's a saying, "What goes around comes around," and he's helped so many people who have been toiling in obscurity like me, so he *should* be getting the good things that come his way.

I did an interview with him for my podcast last year...you can listen right here.


Neil Steinberg said...

Very true, and a nice tribute to Rick, who has also been amazingly supportive to me. It's an interesting question, as to why Rick is so kind, and my hunch is he takes after his father, Herman Kogan, who was a revered journalist and historian and -- significantly -- known as a mensch, someone who will help a person out. Not everyone is like that -- Rick Kogan was very good friends with Mike Royko, who despised any up and coming writer -- viewed them as competitors. He couldn't shake your hand without trying to break it. That's one way to go about life; Kogan's is another. Myself, I remember how frustrating it is to be trying to get ahead in life, and finding all doors closed to you. Everyone needs a little help up, a boost, if only a kind word. I don't know if it helps in the karma bank, but there's no need to. It's just the right thing to do.

Margaret Larkin said...

I've heard of successful folks who pull up the ladder behind them. But if someone is already successful and sees a talented person, what's wrong with helping the person out? What goes around comes around.