It;s not just having to sign up for Medicre at age 65 that changed radio newsman Stew Cohen’s life.
It was leaving the long-tie post as local radio newsman.
Here is what Cohen shares about his journey:
I turned 65-years-old in March and by early April, Alpha Media, the new owners of STAR 105.5FM and 103.9 The Fox officially purchased the Crystal Lake based station and sold 103.9 FM. .
Shortly after, my job as News Director and morning news anchor dissolved into corporate consolidation.
Someone else already in the company could do the STAR newscasts and at a couple of other stations as well.
All of a sudden I had time to think about my future.
What I quickly found was that on Facebook, hundreds of people were congratulating me for longevity in the business of broadcasting which is notoriously tough on anyone staying for any significant amount of time.
The Facebook comments were also telling me to enjoy retirement.
In response, I found a few interesting things. I learned that a lot of people are as busy or busier in “retirement” than they were when they worked full time.
I found that if I said, “I’m not retired,” people would take it to mean I was upset with them for thinking I was now retired.
I changed my approach and wrote that my wife won’t let me retire just now.
When I finally do retire, I’ll slide into retirement and she won’t even know.
Since I opted to hold off accepting Social Security, I decided to apply for unemployment because I qualified.
I’d been working at STAR and 103.9 The Fox (Y1039 earlier) for the past 28 years.
The entire process of unemployment through the Illinois Department of Employment Security seems to have changed in a couple of major ways since I was last unemployed in 1986.
The system on computer is very organized and you have to keep excellent notes/records on your progress toward landing a job.
There are also plenty of services to help let you know what is available on the internet.
I applied on downtown Chicago radio stations and a few television stations and received nothing back in the first few months of unemployment.
Then I realized something that I had hoped to do for some time but knew I could not do because I was on commercial radio.
Earlier in my career, a number of businesses (retail) had asked if I could do their advertising spots on radio.
I had to turn them down because it could affect my credibility for news.
I formulated a plan to build a web site for doing voice work, calling it voicebystew.com.
I was familiar with the work of Sue Dobbe Marketing and approached her for help in developing a web site of the work I could do.
We are nearly ready to launch the web site.
In the meantime, I wanted to get back in radio and found that I could help in the world of community radio.
They were all for me continuing to pursue my own business in voice work…while anchoring news in the morning for radio at Huntley Community Radio, 101.5 FM and hosting Stew’s News and Views, a public affairs show similar to Northwest Spectrum on STAR 105.5.
Then I found a job description for a reporter at Sun Day Newspaper in Huntley.
I applied for a position on the newspaper and was hired as a general assignment reporter and start on July 8, the same day I start on radio.
For the past three months, I’ve enjoyed sleeping in late rather than getting up at 4am as I had to do for the past 45 years of broadcasting.
I’d say it’s been pretty good to relax a bit more, not having to worry about rushing into the radio station when the weather turns, or going back to work to cover a major breaking story any time of day or night.
I had lived with the stress of always being ready to respond if necessary for the past 45-years.
Now I know a lot of people have similar jobs where they seem to always be prepared to rush into work, such as utility workers ready for power outages, firefighters and police, doctors in many specialties and emergency medical staff.