"Congratulations on your move to mornings, Toby," said then-former NBC Washington anchor Joe Krebs at a local meeting we were attending at a nearby restaurant. Joe, was a leader in our Union... and the National Chair of our Broadcast Steering Committee, whose job was to make sure work and life for radio and TV broadcasters was the best that it could be in the face of massive changes in broadcasting.
It must have been about 7PM and, yes, I had moved to doing mornings for iHeartRadio in what we call our "home market" in my company. "I remember that schedule, but I think I got up earlier than you," he said.
"What time was that, Joe," I said, while waiting on the bartender to mix up a drink, and to pour Joe a glass of wine.
"Well, I got into work about 1:45 AM, maybe 2:00 AM, and, aside from our Union meetings, I'd try to be asleep by now..."
I think even then, he was trying to teach me something.
"I don't know how you're doing it, but take care of yourself while you do," he added.
I didn't realize at that time the man, the leader, the broadcaster, the legendary icon of journalism, who Joe Krebs was and is.
You know, maybe I'm getting older in this life. Maybe I've been saying goodbye to too many people in my orbit lately, who have, for whatever reason, been called home by our Creator. Maybe it's got me introspective... but it does have me thinking...
I've played marbles with diamonds in this life at times... in so many ways. But then, life - for whatever reason - affords me the honor of meeting and working with people like Joe Krebs, who, in spite of whatever, take the time to teach, mentor, guide, lead. Even in a few words in an email, Joe Krebs had this way of making you adjust your course. Of thinking things through a bit differently. He recognized things in people and brought out the best in them. He also fought... with abandon... to make sure that people who do what we do had the best possible chance to succeed.
The man was and is a legend. An icon. A force of nature. I'm thankful I got to know him. I'm sad we didn't have more time.
A legend sleeps tonight as his soul travels to what this life has next for him. His spirit will continue to inspire. His grace will continue to endure. His leadership and the people he fought for will continue to be his legacy... and as the world pauses for a moment to remember a life well lived, I'm thankful that, for those who believe that this moment on this blue orb in space is a small part of a much bigger equation, we will see him again...
Thank you, Joe. Well done.
Tonight, I lift my glass of red wine and I toast the life of Joe Krebs. May we carry forth the flame. May we honor the legacy. May we remember the grace with which he lived and may we live with the passion he embraced everyday.
I'm Toby Knapp. And I am... a broadcaster.