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It was 1982. I was working in Miami radio at the time. I got a call from the program director of WJNO in West Palm Beach. He wanted me to come work for him in their great news department. I thanked him for the compliment and declined because I just couldn't justify going to work in a smaller radio market at the time. The next year I got another call and again I declined. In 1984, I got yet another call from that program director, John Picano, except this time he offered me the news director's job. I knew that would be a good choice because it would help me not only work with a large and well respected news department that John had built, but would also give me management experience. So this time I accepted.
In November 1984, I went to work at WJNO as news director. John Picano, the program director and I got off to a rocky start I'll admit. His idea of news and mine weren't quite the same. But in time I began to learn from John, not only about news, but about managing people because I'll tell you(and so will others) I wasn't very good at it.
John had that personality that seem to calm everthing down, even when things got to a fever's pitch. John was the ultimate mediator. He was a great newsman and an even greater human being.
Over time, John became the best friend I ever had in radio. He was a mentor and a friend. We worked side by side every day and in our off time, we played golf. John was a great golfer.
Over the last four or five months, John and I have been communicating privately about his battle with lung cancer. I was so concerned. I said prayers. Then today I learned that he died on Thanksgiving Day. I know it seems strange to say I have something to be thankful for, but I do. I am thankful John Picano came into my life because I am a richer person for it. John was the kindest man I ever met. He lived and worked for his family. He was just a stand-up guy.
I'll never forget John Picano. He was and will always be a great friend. My heart and prayers go out to his wife and children who I know well.
You'll read news stories about John's passing, but I wanted you to know what a great person he was. I'll never forget him.