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Farewell - for now!" (Public Radio Commentary)

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(For radio stations: Bill's public radio work can be licensed via PRX).

Today marks my 310th commentary for public radio, just two weeks short of six years. So please indulge me as I make this more personal than usual, as it's my last for a while.

It began in 1996 when I decided to tell the public what engineers do. I explored various venues, but none really fit me. Plus, I didn't do a very good job selling my idea, usually I mumbled, or just didn't make the pitch right. So, all my attempts failed miserably.

Then the perfect venue dawned on me: Public radio. I'd been a listener for years and knew it broadcasted interesting, but thoughtful things. So in the early summer of 1999 I sent my local public radio station - WILL-AM 580, of course - a letter suggesting we meet. Also, I enclosed a tape of commentaries I'd made at home. This time, though, knowing in my soul that this would be the right place, I didn't want to fail.

So, I purchased a book on selling. I combed through every page of "How to Master the Art of Selling", and like a true academic made nineteen pages of notes. Learning especially about the most important aspect: Closing the sale. I read, with gusto, about, things very exotic to me: Methods called the "Porcupine Close" and the "Sharp Angle Close." Fully armed, I made an appointment with the program manager, Jay Pearce.

On the appointed day I went to his office, with a thick wad of notes on how to persuade the most reluctant buyer, prepared to "sell" at full tilt. Before I got out a word he said "I got your letter and your tape. Let's start on Tuesday." Flummoxed, I started to use my sales techniques to close the deal until I realized that, well, I'd closed the deal.

The next day I showed up at the studio and the commentary series began. Although if you listen to the first few the Morning Edition announcer says I will "return from time to time." But every Tuesday I just kept showing up with more to say, and within a month or two they said I'd be back every Tuesday. Every Tuesday, but not next week and not for the next 52 Tuesdays or so. I'm taking a hiatus for a year. I'm on my way to Washington DC to work in the State Department. Its an adventure of sorts - although about the tamest you can imagine. Instead of exotic locales and wild animals, I'll be surviving in a sea of blue suits and maroon ties. Still I'm very curious to see up close exactly how our government works - and then to return and tell you all about it.

So, thanks for listening these last six years, and I look forward to returning to the airwaves in September of 2006.

Copyright 2005 William S. Hammack Enterprises