COMMENTARY: Thank You, Acadiana, For Listening
Twelve years ago, I came back to Lafayette after college with the intention of sticking around for no more than a year. In my 22-year-old mind, I'd take a break while sending out demo reels to TV stations across the U. S. in hopes that I'd land in an out-of-town market. Surely, I thought, I'd one day be anchoring the TV news in a big city.
That didn't happen. Instead, I landed opportunities that changed my life. Those opportunities led me to my next adventure.
Today is my last day at Townsquare Media Lafayette. After a year-and-a-half hosting Acadiana's Morning News with Bernadette Lee and a dozen years of hosting shows on 97.3 the Dawg, 99.9 KTDY, and ESPN Lafayette, I'm moving to New Orleans to take a position at WWL-AM/FM and to be closer to my fiancée, Dawn, who also works in New Orleans media.
I'd be remiss if I left without thanking the people who helped get me here and to those who made the ride enjoyable.
Thank you to Dr. David Chretien, who helped me develop my love for broadcasting. In addition, thanks to John Bess, Jahmilah Sekhmet, Herbert Jasmine, Rico, Ed Bowie, Bill Brosius, Mike "Gorilla" Goebel, Duke Hillard, and Sam Keller who let me hang around the Acadiana Open Channel and get my feet wet in the world of broadcast.
Thank you to my grandparents, Darrel and Yvonne Sonnier, and to my parents, Annette Sonnier and Kent Auzenne, for shuttling me to the AOC studio in downtown Lafayette before I had my own car.
Thank you to Darla Montgomery for putting in several good words for me to help me get hired on the TV front.
Thank you to my television managers: Mike Barras, Dwight Dugas, Andrew Shenkan, Sean Trcalek, and Letitia Walker. They didn't have to allow me to moonlight in radio, but they did.
Thank you to all of the anchors, reporters, producers, and production hands with whom I've had the pleasure of working--far too many to list here. You made TV quite the experience (one that one day may become a novel).
Thank you to Mark Pope. He recommended me for a board operator position for New Orleans Saints broadcasts that became my foot in the door at Townsquare Media.
Thank you to Bruce Mikells and Steve Peloquin. They interviewed me and hired me. Without their faith in me, I wouldn't still be here today.
In addition to Bruce, thank you to Jude Walker, Stephanie Crist, Brad Murphree, Scott Perrin, Dave Landry, CJ Clements, Debbie Ray, Steve Wiley, and John Falcon for mentoring me and guiding me on the finer points of being a music radio personality.
In addition to Steve, thank you to Jay Walker and Scott Prather for helping me become a better sportscaster.
Thank you to Mike "Bandit" Bernard, Dave Thibodeaux, and James "Mr. Bitter" Perot for allowing me to fill in for them. The experience I gained during those shifts was invaluable.
Thank you to Camey Doucet and VJ "Boo Boo" Boulet for their friendship and the stories they shared with me on the Saturday mornings we shared in the building.
Thank you to Brandon Comeaux. We started within a few months of each other at TSM. Brandon may have been my boss, but he's also been a great broadcast partner and a friend.
Thank you to Bernadette Lee. Without her recommendation and her encouragement, this last year-and-a-half on KPEL would not have been possible. I'll forever be grateful that she pushed to get me on the air with her.
Thank you to the TSM general managers for whom I have worked: Mike Grimsley, Brad Burley, and Brian Sines. Their support has been immeasurable.
Thank you to Ray Sutley for his advice, wit, and wisdom.
Thank you to Moon Griffon for giving me a constant ringing in my ears.
Thank you to the sales staff at Townsquare Media, who made sure the checks never bounced.
Last but certainly not least, thank you, the listeners and the viewers. Without you, I wouldn't be here today. You told me what you liked and what you didn't like--sometimes bluntly. I appreciate the trust you put in me to bring you the news every morning, and I appreciate you sharing your feedback with me via phone, email, or the app chat. You are the reason why those of us in broadcast do what we do. Thank you for being our eyes and ears and for giving us a reason to come to work every day.
This is not a goodbye or a farewell. It's a "see you later." I'll still be on air here occasionally with high school and UL sports.
Until we do meet again, take care of yourselves.