The late Dave Stroud, a WARM Sales representative.
It seems like every weekend we see be writing a tribute to someone who passed on. Once more we are faced with that task on this Saturday. Dave Stroud passed away on Wednesday and for those of you who knew him, you’ll get what I’m writing about here. For those of you who didn’t, or heard about him, you’ll get more of a glimpse into the guy. I met Dave Stroud in the second act of his career. He had been a long retail person most notably managing a few of the McGrory’s stores in the area. We first met at WARD Radio. It was the early 90s and the late Jim Ward had a talk station. The morning shows however had a concept now used widely by every commercial station in the market called The WARD Home Shopper. Sales representatives went out to area businesses and sold advertising on a barter system. A restaurant or tire place would give a certain amount of certificates and then an advertising schedule would be placed on the radio. At the time I worked with John Kearney, Steve Liebenson and Stroud.
One time when Stroud was having car trouble, I went out on the road with him. He was a relentless cold caller (defined by stopping In on the fly at a business and trying to sell them something on the spot) and was persistent but not pushy. There wasn’t a strip mall he didn’t know, like or sell. I came to the conclusion that if a broom closet had a sign on it, “Stroudie” would stop and look inside of it to see what was going on in there. And if the mop didn’t talk to him, he’d strike it off his list. Although I missed him at WARM and Magic 93, I did work with him at Cable Rep Advertising. Stroud was very proud about working at the Mighty 590 regaling clients and staffers alike when he told of listening to WARM Radio when he first got his first car. I first bought from him when I did media for some local candidates and then sold with him. A few of the young people in media sales thought his straight forward old fashioned ways were quaint but his clients loved him.
In radio the men gossip worse than the women and Stroud was an active listener filing it in his head for future use on the road or at a sales meeting when we were asked why this client wasn’t buying or if they were expanding. Stroud also used that information freely when he was concerned about people he knew. When my first book, “A Radio Story/We Wish You Well In Your Future Endeavors” came out, Stroud tracked me down at my then employer and gave me a detailed report on how many area media reps he knew who bought the book, how many went to Barnes and Noble and how many bought two. He then furrowed his brow and said, “But I have some bad news. Some guy wants to sue you because he says you’re defaming an old girlfriend!” (That guy now is one of my very best friends and even though we don’t see eye to eye on things, they never reached the courtroom). Dave Stroud also had an innate sense of what to do at the proper time. At the end of Jim Ward’s funeral, Stroud said, “Wow that was tough. Now we can go have a drink somewhere and cry. But only for a little while”. When the late Terry McNulty of WARM won his Employment Discrimination case against Citadel Broadcasting, his family threw a party at his home. Everyone was celebrating but wandering around aimlessly until Stroud got the attention of the crowd and offered up a congratulatory toast. At the end he said, “Now let’s get to know each other!” and at that moment, the media people started mingling with the legal people who had triumphed in court. Another time, when I worked at Cable Rep, our manager who was from Florida committed the egregious sin of parking between the trash cans on Center Street in Dupont (where residents carved out spots to park during snow). The residents called the police on the women as she tried to get her car out of the “reserved” places. She then got stuck. Stroud in galoshes and red and green scarf along with his shirtsleeves (not coat) grabbed a little shovel out of his trunk and proceeded to dig her out. The receptionist at the time said, “Who’s digging her out, oh my it’s Stroud, my God that man is always stepping into the fray and is always prepared!” Stroud was also the ultimate optimist. Nothing ever seemed to get him down, even when he had a life threatening injury. One rainy day, I was in Abe’s with a friend and Stroud approached our table in his usual friendly manner. He proceeded to slip on something and stumbled near us. My friend said, “Hey be careful, you’ll break your neck” and Dave looked at him and said with a smile, “I did!!!” He then proceeded to tell my friend how he fell backwards at his home trying to catch his cat breaking his neck. No bitterness, no poor me, just a recap of the facts. Even if you never worked with Dave Stroud, you knew he was working. He had a mainstay of clients that stuck with him through the years and if you heard them on ESPN, you’d know he was still plugging away.
I last saw him a few months ago in the summer at Victory Pig in Wyoming. He was with a crowd of his family and I didn’t realize it was him until he stopped over. He looked robust but had no hair. He told me he was catching up to my hair style but then told me and Mrs. LuLac that his cancer had reoccurred. He asked if I was writing any more books and I told him I’d send him one. As we left the eatery, I took a glance over at Stroud holding court, laughing, enjoying himself with his friends and family. I’m glad that vision was still in my mind when I read about him the other day.
Stroud had a license plate on his car that read “IDID26” , which referred to his running in the New York marathon and other running events. He was proud of that accomplishment but I’m sure that the plate is not accurate. Because if I knew “Stroudie” the way I think I did, when he reached that 26 mile mark, he went a little bit further……just to make sure and give it just a little more extra effort. As we say goodbye to him, everyone will agree that he always went that extra mile. Although too short, his life was a road well traveled with a few extra steps along the way. In my mind, Dave Stroud always did more than 26.