As I've slowly revealed this information to friends over the last couple of weeks, their first question has been: why? Why would I leave such a great job at such a great radio station in such a great city?
As with most big decisions there is more than one reason. However, all of those reasons are rooted in the fact that I've worked at The End my entire adult life and its time to shake things up and move out of my comfort zone. Its a big world out there with a lot of things to see and do and I feel like now is the time to go experience it.
When I was asked how I wanted to say goodbye I came up with two ideas. The first is a final overnight air-shift which will happen this Friday 11/2 at Midnight. Some of my fondest memories on-air have come from my first couple of years doing overnight shifts. There was a danger, excitment and enthusiasm during that time on the radio that doesn't exist when you are on from 9a-2p. I also asked if I could write this farewell blog. I saw it as the perfect way to sort out the myriad of emotions that have come with leaving a place I have been for so long. It will give me the chance to sort out my jumbled thoughts and feelings and lay them out as neatly and organized as possible.
After a number of drafts, the biggest obstacle has been to desperately try to ignore the large amount of self-absorption and self-importance a person must feel to think that anyone will care about these events, beyond the initial curiosity of: what happened there? For making that assumption - I apologize.
I started working at The End in December of 1998 - almost 14 years ago. I was 19 years old. Bill Clinton was president, very few people had cell phones and Mark Zuckerberg was still in high school.
With the help of a number of people along the way (Brian Beck, Jaimeson Keegan, Jim Keller, Phil Manning, Voula Kolios, Brandi Pivar were all there at the beginning) I was able to start in the promotions department and work my way up (and to the side) to Assistant Program Director and mid-day host.
Along the way, I have discovered that there are 2 types of people that work in this business: music people and radio people. I loved being at The End because I was surrounded by real music people. A cast of characters that would gladly share a new record with a stranger on the bus with the same childish enthusiasm that they would an audience of thousands. A few of my favorite are:
Jim Keller: Of all the people in my time at The End - I enjoyed working with Jim Keller the most. For over a decade he was the creative force behind almost everything interesting at the station. Needed a unique sales pitch? Wanted advice about a feature on your show? Wanted help dealing with a crazy boss? Jim was always the guy with an answer that blew your mind with his creative genius. He was (and continues to be) smarter than us all.
Dick Rossetti: Anyone who has worked in radio knows how incredibly hard it is to pull someone off the street, put them on the air, and have it sound good. It doesn't work like that. However, every once in awhile a showman of such incredible talent and charisma comes along and hits it out of the park on his first swing. Dick Rossetti is that guy. You may not have understood 2/3rds of what Dick was referring to in any given break, however what you did know is that what he was saying was funny. No one has been weirder, more complex and loved music more at the station than Dick Rossetti.
Bob Van Dyne (DJ No Name): the first year of the Afternoon Experiment was the most pure example of honest and entertaining radio I ever experienced. This was a show that was built from the ground up by an amazing talent that was figuring out how to do a real radio show in real time, with real success. Everyone involved with that show (either as a listener or behind the scenes) felt like they were a part of something. It did what radio was supposed to do - it created a community.
Through all the changes that the station went through in the decade and a half I worked at The End (and there were quite a few) I have always tried to do what I do from the perspective of a music fan and not a radio person. I tried to create my shows, blogs, promotions etc in an interesting, creative and classy way that didn't address the audience as if they were stupid. Jim Keller showed me that content for the masses didn't have to be dumb.
Often, because on-air people are the most visible at a radio station - they get the bulk of the credit. The truth is that there is a whole team of hard working people who make what we hear possible every day.
Promotions: There is no group of people in radio that work harder for less pay/glory than the promotions department. Quite often ideas (both good and bad) are born in conference rooms full of suits who think they are smarter than they are and it's up to promotions to turn these ideas into reality. They work inhuman hours, organize an almost incalculable amount of information and work miracles on a daily basis. It's a rare breed that can handle the levels of stress and responsibility associated with this type of work. They deserve a hundred times more pay and credit than they actually receive.
Engineers: Some of my favorite people in the building. Most of the time they only hear from people when something is wrong, yet they handle that problem with a positive attitude, grace and patience. We should never take for granted the 98% of the time that the thousands of moving parts in this very big place work correctly. It is a direct result of their hard work and smarts.
Sales: Do you think your job is hard? Try working in radio sales for a year. If you're successful at this - you have an ability to navigate much tougher waters than I ever could. The tenacity and iron-will it takes to make it on that side of building demands respect from everyone.
The last couple of years at The End have been some of the better I've experienced. After an extended stretch of uncertainty we picked ourselves up by our bootstraps under the leadership of Mike Kaplan and returned the station to a respectable place. Our family of Neal, Corrie, Brian, Ryan, Bryce, Greg, Red, Cody, Grace, Jen, Mike, the modulators and the sales team is one that respects what each brings to the table professionally while enjoying each other personally. This radio station is in good hands.
So where do I go from here?
I'm excited and energized about the future.
In addition to a furious job search - my immediate plans include a trip across the country via train. I only plan on taking a backpack, a book and crashing on couches with friends in different cities all over our nation. It'll be my attempt to try and enjoy my first real extended time off since I was 15 years old. Truth is, I haven't been unemployed for 18 years.
When I get home I'll work on the house, work out (hard), read a lot, pull my fantasy football teams out of the gutter and try to figure out a way to move to London. It will also be nice to catch up on the large number of dinners and drinks with people that have been postponed over the years because I've been busy.
Ya know what else? When I look back and think about 2012 - I'm not going to think of it as the year I left The End (though that will be a footnote). I'm going to think about it as the year I got to marry the love of my life and start my family.
During my time at the station - I was privileged to have had many "once in a lifetime" opportunities. Things like meeting this/that famous person or getting to see this/that band play happened regularly. As cliché' as it may sound - through it all, I never lost perspective on what was really important. It's not backstage passes, fancy dinners with record reps or all the free music you could want (though that was nice) - it's your family and your friends. I'm a guy that's lucky enough to have married the coolest person I know and our relationship, our relationship with our family and an incredibly tight core group of friends is what really matters. For that, I will always be grateful. In the grand scheme of the life that we are all going to spend together - this is small potatoes.
Finally, since we're already neck deep in cliché, I'll finish this with a quote that has been hanging on the inside of my bedroom door for the last 5 years. The words (much like the person that wrote them) could be described as inspiring and a little bit foolish - I believe that is what makes it great.
"So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future"
- Christopher McCandless
It was fun. It's over.
| October 30, 2012 at 12:00PM
Please Enter Your Comments Below
| October 31, 2012 at 9:47AM
Best of luck Andrew Harms.
| October 31, 2012 at 9:47AM
Best of luck Andrew Harms. You will be missed.
| October 31, 2012 at 10:08AM
Good luck on your new adventure. I have spent thousands of hours listening to you over the years. You will forever be an End legend :)
| October 31, 2012 at 10:11AM
Man! Reading your fairwell blog reminds me of listening to you when you were just the intern on "The Afternoon Experiment". I saw (in all actuality, only heard) your progression as a radio personality and agree that you definitely made peoplefeel what you were saying was "real" and not some corporate fed bullsh*t. You're rad so I know you'll get where your headed. Take care and rock on wherever your journey takes you!
| October 31, 2012 at 10:55AM
Best of luck to you Mr Harms. I takes a lot of courage to get out of your comfort place and find your next passion. Reading Mr Keller and Mr Rossetti's names really makes me miss The End "Pre Real World".
PS - Spam filter thought Mr Rossetti's name was profanity.
| October 31, 2012 at 12:11PM
Congratulations on taking a leap of faith! Good luck!!
| October 31, 2012 at 3:35PM
Ever senice I was a kid, the only raido station I would return to no matter what my taste in music changed to wast The End. Your voice and personality have been with me my entier life, from the earlest I could remember. It's weird to see one of the voices of my childhood leave the raido, as I'm now a seinor in high school and getting ready to leave the comfort of school. This blog has touched my heart, and your departure is a real example of time's march. Best of luck where ever you go, and I hope you'll return for a vist in this city atless once!
| November 01, 2012 at 9:39AM
All the best Harms! Good luck with your future adventures, thanks for all the great years.
| November 01, 2012 at 10:51AM
Back in the summers of 2002 and 2003, I was worked at the End as a "MOD" and worked for Harms. I'll never forget Harms hiding in his car at a gas station in Redmond to make sure we were working hard. Classic.
But on a serious note Harms, you kick started my passion for music and encouraged me to look outside the normal "sound" of corporate music. It really opened my eyes and led to the exploration of some great, new music.
Best of luck in the future.
"If you run into naysayers about your dreams, tell them to F off and dream bigger."
| November 01, 2012 at 5:15PM
I have listened to the end pretty much for 2 plus decades. Thoroughly enjoyed listening to you as well as Sara on the Radio. There was even a brief period of time in the days of Myspace that I send some IMs to you and Sara and conversed over various topics dealing with music and photography. I always enjoyed your banter as well as your radio shows. Discovering new music and listening to all time favorites. I hope that you and Sara will transition into another awesome and wonderful phase of your lives. True inspiration and an honor listening to you all these years. Best of luck and enjoy that trip across the country. I'd love to do that sometime myself too. You will be missed
| November 01, 2012 at 7:19PM
Been listening to you since i was 15. still listening to you now at 28. time flies. always enjoyed you on the end. I too dream of/plan to move to London. Good luck and thanks for your work at the end!
| November 02, 2012 at 8:06AM
Congratulations and Good Luck, Andy. What an amazing run... you're going to knock whatever you do next outta the park.
| November 02, 2012 at 9:31AM
We worked nights at the same time and whenever I couldn't take the mind-numbing job I had, I would sneak away and call you at the station and for a few mins we would chat about music, and different artisits emerging and let me tell you, I appreciated every one of those calls. Thanks for being, well, AWESOME! Stay classy!
Good luck on your journey!
| November 02, 2012 at 10:02AM
Long time listener and fan of yourself. Congratulations on a truly great year. You'll be missed! -Nikki
| November 02, 2012 at 10:39AM
You will be missed Harms! You (and Red) are one of the very few radio hosts that I can actually stand listening to. I'm sure you won't need it, but good luck with everything you plan on doing. Traveling will no doubt be an incredible, life-altering experience.
| November 02, 2012 at 1:42PM
You will be very missed.
Now go have some fun!
| November 02, 2012 at 2:02PM
You will be missed...best of luck!
| November 02, 2012 at 6:34PM
Mr. DJ Harms... I wrote a kinda sorta long comment but 'Your comment contains profanity or content that was analyzed as spam' came up so short and simple and maybe I can find a way to get the long version to you =(
I love you man, I was 10 years old when you showed up to The End. It's been years since I listened to the end (not counting the last 6 months or so that I started listening to the radio again) and today I am 24, I literally grew up listening to you!
Sad to see you go and for me there will be a part of me that feels like The End has come to an end, but I love Red and byce, and gregr too i guess.
good luck with everything and I'ma try and get the long version to you just cause!
| November 03, 2012 at 1:25AM
I just moved to the Seattle area a little while ago, so I've only been listening to The End for a few weeks. But I have grown to love Harms' show and I can tell that he really loves the music he plays. I'll miss listening to him.
| November 03, 2012 at 7:07AM
Harms this is heart breaking news. The End will not be the same with out you. I have been lisening to the End from when the station began transmitting and you are the best DJ. I loved lisening to your shows. Best of Luck in the Future. Enjoy your trip.Seattle will miss you!!!!!
| November 03, 2012 at 9:45AM
Not even gonna lie. This made me tear up a wee bit. I wish you good luck in your future endeavors! Have fun and make the most of life!
| November 04, 2012 at 1:46PM
Harms you were amazing day in and day out. Best of luck in whatever you might move on to.
On a related note, I forgot what the last song they played during the final show was. Is there anyone who remembers which song it was or who can or can point me in a direction of what was played?
We love you Andrew!!!
| November 06, 2012 at 1:17PM
We will miss you, thank you far making 107.7 what it is/was. Enjoy your new life. We grew up listening to you, it will be strange without you.
| November 13, 2012 at 10:27AM
your comments on the petitioners and their succession and citizenship was awesome.
Annie's 12 years old....
VIRTUAL HIGH FIVE with a chest bump comes your way!!!
keep up the music, can i get a Soundgarden Kings Mountain song played
loyal listener from San Diego
| November 17, 2012 at 3:24PM
Best of luck to you!
| November 18, 2012 at 10:54AM
It was about 10yrs ago and I happen to switch it to the end working late one night, being mostly a metal head I didnt really listen to the end much, and I started listening to you. I don't know how or why but had my attention and I loved listening to you in between some, at the time alright music and now some of my favorites. (I think I'm the only person to request the song that went Fire At The Taco Bell such a silly song, I can't ever remeber who it's from or the name.) Until I started listening to you I didnt' like any DJ's or pretty much any talking on the radio. Listening to you totally changed my views of music and opened me to so much greatness. I can't ever thank you enough. Here it is a decade later and I'm stilling listening to you everday. It's going to be hard to get use to not hearing your vocie everyday. We have never met but I feel like I'm losing my best friend.(I would love to meet up and have a brew or 2 and talk some music some day.) I'm going to miss you more than DJ No Name and Jennifer White. They were the most entertaning radio to listen to. Such great chemistry between them. Oh and some props to Timberlake btw Do you a feminen napkin I can borrow? They made the most entertaining radio I've ever listened to. Again Thank You for all your hard work. Seattle and the End will never be the same without you. You will be greattly missed. Best of luck in all of lifes endeavors. Hope to hear back from you about grabbing a brew some day. It would be on top of my awesome chart along with the time I had a couple drinks with Jon Crosby of VAST and got him to sing my t-shirt. Plus I owe you one cause I the only thing I've ever won was Halo 2 from you. Again Thank You for all your hard work. Seattle and the End will never be the same without you. You are greattly missed. P.S. Thank You for Sunday mornings. The End Unplugged is the best 3 hours of radio every week without fail. Absolutely amazing. It's been the 1st thing I try not to miss since No Name and Jennifer White.
Another voice silenced
| November 26, 2012 at 10:49AM
Be real Harms. As THE voice for the gay community through The End I find it suspicious as the why you don't tell the true story of how you were forced out. You come out and get married (he is beautiful by the way) and next you are onto greener pastures. While being unemployed in a horrible economy. Honesty counts, sister.
| November 29, 2012 at 11:05AM
Thank you for making the end what it is for me. For the past 8 years I have loved you and Rossetti, You guys were my entertainment for my 2 hour trek, 4 days a week, to see my boyfriend (now my husband) and they were the best drives I can remember! I remember highway 12 and I would always pass "Harms RD." literally!! I guess I do owe some props to No Name as well. He was Super. :) Anyway, I will be sad that all my favorites are now no longer there to make 107 the same but I can only be grateful for the memories that go along with the drives I can remember and the butterflies that I had in my stomach going to see the man that I dearly love. Thank you for all the awesome shows!! Good luck and congrats on your new marriage!
| November 29, 2012 at 11:14AM
Oh by the way, I forgot to add..... Maybe you can mention to someone how much the music there has changed and how it's becoming more commercial. I mean I can practically listen to any station and hear the same songs as 107. I am not dogging on anyone I just find it difficult to understand......I do appreciate having a station that plays some of my old faves but I mean, come on.... It's getting a little tired.
| December 11, 2012 at 4:35PM
Cecelia Jimenez, you can sign up for end mail and voice your lame opinion there. The End continues to be the source for new music. Other stations are just copying us...I mean come on "Redlines?". Hello? hilarious, babe.
| December 14, 2012 at 11:00AM
A favor, please - Don't be shy, when the time comes, down the road, let us know how we can find you, once you find yourself, and a new venue. We want to share your special brand of Musical respect, and be part of your daily perspectives in life, once again.
Until then, have an AMAZING ADVENTURE!!!
Love, your biggest fan,
| December 14, 2012 at 8:46PM
somehow i was able to hear you were leaving coming over me outside, while i was eiher in my home or at the mall and coudnt figure out where it came from, i wasnt sure to trust it since i have been known to hear voices. then i find this note and i havent been able to listen to the end in at least since this past 2 months to know, no way of knowing unless i heard it, so its nice to knowthat something i heard that got called a voice in my head really happned. i was really eating all those times unknown if it was u or a voice but could be true, as i just found out searching to see your face to see if i seen u somewhere. i swear by what i saw in a photo of jack white was looking like him. u didnt believe me. harsh. oh i was really eating.
| December 14, 2012 at 8:49PM
| December 17, 2012 at 11:07PM
I'm going to miss your presence on the station. I have to admit though that I think it kind of hit it's peak 4-5 years ago and has been declining ever since. I'm sure there is a lot more to the story than is being told here on this blog, but whatever the reason, I hope things go well for you.
It is Ok
| December 20, 2012 at 12:00PM
Yo bro, it is OK to be gay.
| December 30, 2012 at 11:25AM
oh no ! The End is allowing the world's greatest DJ to escape them !! - thank you, Mr. Harms, for all your incredibly beautiful music, for the outstanding What's Next show, and for your excellent taste and charm - for yet another year, you are still the only DJ on the End and the Zone whom I don't instantly mute (I know that everyone works hard !) - happy new year ! :) twitter mercuryloge - 2012 # 1 !!! tie - the lumineers - ho hey, & the black keys - my little black submarines - 2 awolnation - k*** your heroes - 3 group love - tongue-tied, itchin on a photograph & colors - 4 alabama shakes - hold on - i ain’t the same - 5 gotye, featuring kimbra - somebody that i used to know - 6 passion pit - take a walk - 7 snow patrol - called out in the dark - 8 metric - breathing under water - 9 jack white - i'm shakin & freedom at 21 - 10 fun - we are young, some nights & carry on - 11 green day - oh love - 12 muse - madness - 13 the black keys - gold on the ceiling - 14 mumford & sons - i will wait & lover of the light !!!!
| January 05, 2013 at 8:49PM
You could have just offered Harms a BeeJay. Thanks for the list of songs..is it some sort of rating of the songs The End over plays or is that your playlist for when you make love to Harms?
| February 06, 2013 at 2:47PM
I miss you. You & DJ Noname were the best! I've lived the life of a gutless nonconformist. Good to hear someone living the life with gusto. It's those people that change the world. Congrats on your marriage & all the other stupendous things I'm sure you'll do in your life.
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| February 20, 2013 at 8:34PM
I feel like oliver, please sir may I have some more? We are starving for music that changes the conversation. Please Harms.....save us. Come home to us with a wealth of bootlegs and B-sides.
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