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Monique is on the move! The official announcement re: my departure from WVON and my50 Chicago

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On Friday March 16, 2012 I voluntarily ended “The Monique Caradine Show” which aired every Friday on WVON 1690 AM in Chicago. It was a difficult but necessary decision for me. I love talk radio and I adore WVON for providing me with a powerful platform for so many years.

WVON is the place where I “cut my teeth” in the radio game. It’s where I revolutionized the news department, integrated “email” as a new way to talk to our listeners, won awards as their youngest-ever midday host and realized the value of empowering my community.

Since day one, WVON’s president and General Manager Melody Spann-Cooper (who has been like a big sister to me) has allowed me to explore and experiment with so many of my crazy ideas as I created my unique brand of talk radio. She allowed me to discover my voice. I will always grateful to her for that!

However, as I looked toward my future, I knew that I did not want to spend any more of my time on air, re-hashing some of the same old ideas I did when I first started there back in 1996.

As I approached the end of my tenure with WVON, I had made a commitment to move the tone of my conversation in a different direction– toward new ideas on self-reliance and harnessing our personal power and away from what I felt was too much talk about victim-hood and endless blame of others for our problems, followed by too little action to change things. Ultimately, however, I decided that the best decision for me was to focus on growing my business and on projects that were profitable, innovative and that generated a return on my investment.

Nevertheless, I will always hold the WVON family close to my heart!

On leaving FOX Chicago/my50 Chicago…

On Tuesday, March 20, 2012 I was abruptly (and very nonchalantly) released from my position as host of Perspective on my50 Chicago.

Here’s a snapshot of how it played out:

- When FOX decided to launch Perspective in 2008 they brought me on as the host at the recommendation of Melody Spann-Cooper (again, my gratitude to her). From the beginning, they apologized that “there wasn’t a big budget for the program” so my talent fee would be “small.” Indeed it was, but I agreed to do the show anyway.

- After year one-and-a-half, budget cuts took effect due to the economy. Staff was cut and management changed but Perspective and I survived.

- I had always been hands on with the show, not just hosting but also helping to produce, book guests, write scripts and promote it through my social media outlets, my radio show and at speaking engagements. Despite my repeated requests, FOX made no effort to promote Perspective.

- I made it my duty to check in with Mike Renda, the General Manager of FOX on a regular basis. About every other month I’d meet with him to discuss Perspective, make sure we were moving in the right direction and run ideas past him. He always had positive feedback and was consistently encouraging and optimistic about the show. We seemed to have a good rapport.

- In December of 2011, as the economy started to turn around and the show’s ratings steadily improved, I began to talk to Mr. Renda about a talent fee increase. I was given the impression that that was indeed possible come early 2012 (it was kind of a “let’s look at the numbers” situation), so Mr. Renda and I set a meeting date in February to have the “money” conversation. I knew there were no guarantees, but I believed a talent fee increase was at least possible.

- The “money meeting” date arrived and I went to Mike Renda’s office as usual with a happy disposition, ready to discuss compensation that was fair and better suited for me as host, writer, booker, promoter and co-producer of Perspective for the past four years.

- Before I could put my money request on the table, I was abruptly told there would be no increases and that in fact, they might be moving the show “in a different direction.” Mr. Renda said a decision would be made in two weeks. I left the office surprised but I proceeded to the studio. I had two shows to tape that day.

- Three weeks later, I phoned Mr. Renda to get an update and was cavalierly told that indeed, there would be a new direction for Perspective and that new direction did not include me.

And that was the end of it!

Was my release due to the fact that I had the audacity to ask to be paid what I was worth? I’m not sure but it certainly seems that way. However, I hold no negative feelings about it. I did a lot and learned even more during my 4 years at FOX. One of my biggest lessons learned is that you must know your value and command that others acknowledge it as well, from the outset! Secondly, I learned that everything that glitters is not gold!

What’s next for me?

Since leaving WVON and being released from FOX, I have had more opportunities to do what I love. That includes doing voice overs, speaking, coaching and training others on marketing, branding, entrepreneurship and the power of media. Each and everyday, I wake up excited about working with people who are smart, creative and visionary! Now, I only work on projects and with people that I choose to work with!

Sure I still love hosting and producing TV and radio shows and will continue to do so independently and if the right opportunity comes along. Yet, I must say, it’s amazing what happens when you stop stepping over dollars to pick up pennies. Now that I can focus on growing a profitable business, I’m actually growing a profitable business! Momentum Media Group will be a “gamechanger” in the marketplace!

I have a new freedom and a new sense of purpose but I still have the same passion for empowering people through media. So even though you won’t hear or see me on the old media outlets, I’ll still be doing my thing and sharing my message because absolutely nothing can stop me.

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