Loyalty over substance. Let’s start with that premise. For the NWI, it’s less of a premise and more of the way people are valued. What should I tell you about me? It needs to be something so you keep reading and read my words again.

You might know me. There is a good chance I know you or your family. We certainly have a few mutual friends on the socials. Lifelong resident, former juvenile detention officer, former banker, highest level of ed Masters in Business from PNW. Guess what? With that extremely varied background, I became a talk show host at our local mainstay station. I must have really wanted to talk about the news with you people because I was not only told, but accepted a weekday radio show for the salary of zero dollars. I was doing improv comedy at the time and still do, so I was comfortable behind the mic.

With little more than knowing how to turn up the mics, I sought forth to learn something else. I am a seeker of knowledge. So for over a year and a half I worked five days a week preparing and doing a show for which I earned no money. Pretty loyal huh. Over the next nine years, I would hear that word a lot. Loyal. I did eventually start earning some pay. Let’s say I made enough for ¼ of a person to live on with no insurance.

I was definitely loyal but so much more than that. It is a fact the organization grew while I was on board. After constant reps in those first few years when I never missed a show. I began to build substance. Prepping talking points, booking guests and coming up with creative often funny segments I would prep for shows that I didn’t even do as I was not made aware I was being preempted for sports. This happened a lot. I still kept coming back. My work ethic built my character. My desire to be a better communicator, a better listener, a better interviewer shows in my work to this day. It is substantive!

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Guess what? I got good. Not average, good. You can listen (quick plug) to me on my weekday podcast at the Ron Harlow Media Facebook page and judge for yourself. I go live at 4 p.m. weekdays with the best in the Region as far a guests and local news talk. It has substance. The proof is on the page. Go, scroll, check the guests, view. We bring it.

At some point, substance should outpace loyalty right? And here we are. Take the following phrase, “You have been loyal to me and you will continue to stay loyal to me.” Are you more likely to hear that from a confident successful leader or a dictator? We have interviewed people that have offered as much as our reality. Hire this guy he’s my cousin. I need a job for Uncle Earl. In many cases, these people’s loyalty is their only marketable trait. Show up, shut up and we’ll keep paying you. We as a society need to admire the substance of what people say and more importantly do vs. how they are affiliated.

Should the media ever dip below a certain standard of reporting that sets certain groups apart from honest and transparent coverage? It happens. It’s happening. My substance was treated as far less of an asset than my loyalty. I will avoid this in the future. Know your worth. I am sure I learned that from more than one of my recent guests.

The Region is loaded with great folks. I will keep finding them and bringing them to you.

Ron Harlow podcasts through Facebook at Ron Harlow Media weekdays at 4 p.m. His show centers around Region people and news. He can reached at ronharlowmedia@gmail.com. The opinions are the writer's.