I always liked Doc Thompson and I certainly think he was too smart to jog on train tracks with the music turned up too high on his ear buds. But accidents happen so let’s not muddy the water with conspiracy theories. Doc Thompson was a friend a mine who died this week and it’s a shame because he was certainly one of the good guys. He called me just a few weeks ago to see if we could work together on a new project he was working on. We had tried a few times over the year but we couldn’t match up and that is sad. I suppose that the thing I most feel bad about is the impact that his loss of life with have on his wife and kids. Doc and I were pretty good friends while he was in Cincinnati working at WLW radio. When he was terminated from WLW while on his honeymoon I never could forgive the people who were involved. It certainly changed all of our relationships. Doc invited me to their wedding and once they had left for their trip to Egypt WLW had pulled the rug out from under Thompson leaving him newly married but without the big job that he had. The reason was that Doc was just too Tea Party and not enough Reds baseball so they waited to part ways with him while he was on an extended vacation. Doc was a frequent contributor to Glenn Beck’s radio show when he was hot back in the day so after WLW Thompson headed toward Beck’s Blaze news and things were pretty rough for him from then on.
What I always liked about Doc Thompson was that most of what he did in life was out of autonomy, he was an extremely above the line person and was always full of hope. I don’t say that in a eulogy sense, but as a fact of life. It’s also why once he left Cincinnati we drifted apart. He was very much a purist who wanted to make a radio gig work in an age when radio was on the decline. He wanted a big syndicated show like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh in an age when podcasts were becoming more the thing and there isn’t really enough money in that to become a celebrity the way it was done a few decades ago, so I sort of viewed him as a Don Quixote type who would with great purity challenge the way things were in the world. His devoted wife would follow him from city to city where she was always working as a television broadcaster supporting him and they tried hard to build a good radio job for Doc with their growing family in the best way possible and now it has fallen short. I feel bad for Doc for clamoring at success, but I feel worse for his family who will have a hole in it that will be impossible to fill. It’s not my normal thing to feel sadness about anything, but I do for Doc. He really did dream big but he could never get all the pieces together to make it a go.
He and I did many broadcasts together and at the front of the Tea Party movement he was personally riding the wave of a very successful future. He came to Cincinnati as their answer to an aging radio personality market to be the next Bill Cunningham and Mike McConnell but Doc just wasn’t interested in the sports part of the job. He had won several awards and still did a show in Richmond, Virginia and was on the rise a decade ago. But if there was anybody truly committed to a career in radio broadcasting, it was Doc Thompson. He eventually went to work for Glenn Beck and did television and radio for him and that is when our friendship separated slowly over time. Doc tried on several occasions to put together a deal to help Beck become the next Disney. I told Doc that I thought Beck was a loser going nowhere and had lost his nerve, he was never going to be a great movie producer or great author again. Beck had been spooked out of New York and was living off the wealth he created there and was quickly headed to becoming a nobody. That was before Donald Trump came along and I quickly joined the support of that campaign while The Blaze was clearly anti-Trump supporting Ted Cruz instead. Doc got caught in the middle of a fracturing Tea Party movement causing a rift that was impossible to pull everyone together.
Doc tried again after the election to get everyone on the same page. I had moved more into business challenges and was short on time. Doc left The Blaze in the fall of 2018 to start his own radio platform so he called me again to see if he could get help getting that moving which is where we find ourselves. We had promised to talk to each other in a few weeks that never came and that truly is a sad situation. Doc could have been anything he wanted and he truly was a purist at his occupation. He was fired from so many radio stations because he refused to compromise, which isn’t good in an industry where change is happening rapidly. But it is a good trait as a human being. Doc insisted on being an above the line person in a world obsessed with operating below the line. He was loyal which put him in Glenn Beck’s camp to begin with, but it also hurt him within the industry for all the same reasons that are against Trump now. The difference is that Trump fights back whereas Beck didn’t essentially destroying the opportunity of all the people in his media company to get buried in the industry.
The Tea Party is still around but much of what we had been concerned with was now in our court and I saw Trump as the way to take that next step. So I put my time into successful business as opposed to political activism because honestly it takes money to play the game at the next level and someone needed to have a responsible job which is the kind of support Doc Thompson was looking for, someone on the uptick who could help him get things off the ground from a broadcasting perspective. Many could say that Doc Thompson should have changed his approach to meet the times, but I will say that he couldn’t because he was an authentic person. He was very happy to announce to me on Christmas Day of 2018 that he was working for himself now and he wanted me to be involved. He had left Beck to do his own thing which was taking off. So it is very sad that his efforts came up short. If ever there was a more honest person in the broadcasting business, I wouldn’t believe it.
That is why I feel sad for his early death. He was a good guy who deserved better and his kids certainly were lucky to have him. They are the ones who will be hurt the worst by his loss. Our current society underestimates greatly how important dads play in their children’s lives and they have been robbed of that opportunity, of getting to know him and what he stood for. Many of the personal decisions that made Doc Thompson special are the things that people didn’t see, the decision to pick up a job in Detroit after being fired from WLW trying to do his own thing independent of Glenn Beck who was offering at the time to take Doc under his wing. At that time Beck was still doing well in New York and had not lost his nerve in the game with George Soros. Doc had every right to be angry at WLW for the way they treated him, but in talking to him Thompson was optimistic and ready to tackle another challenge. He could have sat around crying about things but that was never him and that is what I always liked about Doc Thompson, and that is what his kids won’t get to see on a day-to-day basis and that is why this early death is so terribly sad.
There is a Go Fund Me page for Doc to help with expenses if you are so inclined.
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