Remembering My Friend Kenny Hix
Kenneth, his friends called him Kenny and wife Missy Hix were killed over the weekend when the plane they were traveling in with another couple crashed near Waco, Texas.
Kenny Hix may be the very reason I've had a long radio career in Lafayette, La.
In the mid-1990s I was working at 94.5 KSMB. The station had been bought out and new management came in. The work environment changed. KSMB became a not so happy place. I wanted and needed out.
Exactly two weeks before my contract was due to end, I turned in my resignation. Management of KSMB decided they didn't want me to stay the two full weeks and dismissed me early which oftentimes happens in the radio industry.
Herbie Schilling, who owned Schilling Distributing Company, had just purchased a low powered FM signal and 97.3 KMDL. Mr. Schilling had hired Mike Grimsley from Lamar Advertising to be the General Manager over both. Schilling Media became my new home.
The plan was for me to change the format on 96.5 FM and be the afternoon talent on 97.3 KMDL. On the third day, I was on the air at KMDL when police officers showed up to serve me papers and demanded I get off the air immediately.
KSMB was suing me for breach of contract. There was one word in my contract, strategically placed, that made my contract with KSMB binding indefinitely. That word was "whatsoever". I'll never forget it. I felt tricked, but it was my fault for not getting an attorney to read the contract before I signed it.
I was worried how someone like me could fight a big radio company. Herbie Schilling said to me, "You work for me now. If they mess with you, they mess with me."
Kenny Hix was an attorney Schilling Distributing Company used, so Mr. Schilling commissioned Kenny to head my case against KSMB.
Kenny Hix and I spent a lot of time together because of the lawsuit. He was such a nice man. I got to know his beautiful sweet wife Missy too, but certainly not as well as got to know Kenny.
On what became the last day we were in court, Kenny Hix disappeared with officials from both sides into the judge's chamber. My wife at the time, Deborah, and I sat nervously waiting as we didn't really know what was going on. The only thing we knew is that there were some serious talks taking place.
After what seemed like an eternity, Kenny emerged from the judge's chamber along with the others and walked over to me and said, "It's over".
Kenny Hix, Herbie Schilling and Mike Grimsley changed my life forever that day. We became the four musketeers. We were having so much fun. We had put Cool 96 FM on the air and changed the stale KMDL image to 97.3 the DAWG. The ratings were bouncing back on KMDL and revenue on both stations was on the rise. It was the greatest time of my 40 year radio career.
Things were so good at Schilling Media, one day Mr. Schilling decided he wanted more radio stations. So he met with the local owner of 99.9 KTDY to purchase the struggling FM. Things didn't go as planned.
When Mr. Schilling and Mike Grimsley returned, they asked me to meet with them in private. Mr. Schilling said to me, "Instead of us buying them, they bought us."
Management of KTDY asked me to do mornings and the co-host would be my choice. Even though I'm not a morning person, I knew saying yes was the right move for my career.
Kenny Hix represented Schilling Media in the sale and during that process, once again, he and I spent some time together. He was one of the first people to know I was going to accept the morning show position on KTDY.
After that, I'd see Kenny from time to time at fundraisers and different events around Acadiana. He and Missy supported many organizations in the Lafayette area. They never asked for recognition, they always gave from the heart. They were just awesome people.
When I heard about the plane crash over the weekend, I reached out to Herbie Schilling who spends Summers and Mardi Gras in Nevada but continues to call Louisiana home. Kenny and Missy had just spent 6 days at Lake Tahoe at the beginning of August with him and his wife Renee. Mr. Schilling said, "I pray for their two boys Austin and Connor. Renee and I will miss them more than one can imagine."
Had it not been for Kenny Hix settling my contract dispute back in the mid-90s, who knows what would have become of my radio career. I may have relocated or even left the radio business altogether.
I am forever grateful to Kenny and saddened beyond words over his and Missy's death. My heart is heavy for the Hix family, especially their two sons. Heaven gained two beautiful souls.
God bless the Hix family,