9:37 pm Tuesday night. My phone rings with a call from the 207 area code, my home state of Maine.
I of course answer it, fearing the worse from maybe news of my Grandmother’s passing or worse. I answer the phone. “Hello” “Mitch…this is Jocelynn Priestly.”
1993 was the year and I was about to start the pilot program to be one of the first to earn an Associates Degree of Science from New England School Of Broadcasting (now Communications). It was a wild year… I was working at the campus radio station with my college girlfriend Allison Bankston, partying hard like any college student on the TKE fraternity floor of Husson College in Bangor Maine. That summer my hometown of Dexter Maine was granted an FM license to broadcast a new radio station. This was a GIFT for a college kid trying to break into radio and I had the desire and ambition to be one of the first in my class to secure a radio gig. I saw lights on in the downtown Dexter building wherein big red letters 102.1 WGUY was emblazoned across the front window.
I kind of swallowed the lump in my throat from being a 19-year-old college kid full of bravado but wet behind the ears and opened the door and that was when I first laid eyes on Dan and Jocelynn Priestly.
Dan was a wiry man with sandy blond hair and pretty much ALWAYS had a cigarette to his lips. Jocelynn was a brunette woman who was always done up with makeup and 90s hair. I introduced myself and learned that the station wasn’t even on air yet but they were testing. Dan encouraged me to fill out an application (for what position I have no idea but I was filling out a radio station application….I’m ONE STEP closer to my goal!!!) and said they’d be in touch.
I kept going back to that radio station, popping in every week or so just to see how things were going and Dan told me he admired my enthusiasm and encouraged me to “keep darkening doors…that’s how you get work son”. Dan hired me to be the Public Service Director and Sales Person for 102.1 WGUY-FM. I don’t even remember what my commission checks were but I certainly remember one of my first sales calls with Dan Priestly. We traveled to Pittsfield Maine and just before that stopped by Buy-Rite Bedding in Newport Maine where I (really Dan) sold my first sales contract.
This gave me the confidence to keep going and soon Pittsfield Bowling Center signed up as well.
On the way back to the station riding in Dan’s Camaro we must’ve been in a celebratory mood as we were cruising the back roads of Newport and Ripley Maine. We came upon Dead Mans Curve which Dan, with a cigarette hanging out of the side of his mouth, proceeded to say “Let’s see how fast we can take this Mitch”. I’ve never been on a bigger thrill ride in my life…seeing Dan take that corner at breakneck speed coming off of the sales high with us laughing once we hit the straightaway as we barely made it. Had there been another car coming around that corner I wouldn’t be writing this column to you.
September 15th, 2015 I found out through Facebook from my former college girlfriend Allison that Dan Priestly had died of cancer.
I wished I had known he was sick when I was in Maine just a few weeks prior. I wished I had dedicated part of my book to him. Dan and Jocelynn Priestly gave me my very first sales job ever. Certainly, without them I wouldn’t be who I am today. I learned so much from Dan and I hope to pass these lessons on to you here.
- Never Give Up
- Darken Doorways….you might just get the sale
- Live Life To The Fullest – Have Fun
- Be Shrewd In Business But Giving In Life
Tuesday night, 9:37 pm. Jocelynn and I had a wonderful conversation, catching up and reminiscing for almost 45 minutes about the man who inspired us both…the man she loved and the man who gave back to his local area through his gift of business acumen and communication. Thank you Jocelynn and Dan for the life lessons you taught me and giving me a shot in this crazy world of sales… Raise a glass with your mentor Bob Mooney Dan…you deserve it, my friend.