Chicago was the hometown of Morris Crimpanfortis IV, and you couldn’t find a more centralized location to base your operations. The number of broadcast TV properties he owned coast-to-coast numbered in the dozens. These were TV stations in markets large and small, from New York City to Victoria, Texas. They were all powerhouses, not a weakling in the bunch. With a bustling broadcast hub in the heart of the Loop, Mr. Crimpanfortis was an icon in the industry. Now the question was: what would become of his wayward son, Morris Crimpanfortis V?

Making the Move to Chi-town

The Genesis of Daddy’s Broadcast Media Empire

Daddy started making his play for full-power TV stations about twenty years ago. It didn’t take a genius, and Daddy is way more than a genius, to realize the newspapers were a dying breed. Plus, the Federal Communications Commission frowned upon owning newspapers and TV in the same market. So Daddy divested our holdings of the very commodity responsible for our success in the first place. It just comes with knowing market conditions and having the stomach to trigger the necessary transactions.

Local TV is the Place You Want to be

Daddy jumped full force into the local TV scene, and achieved stellar results. But was there ever any question? When Daddy sets his mind to something, he is destined to pull it off in breathtaking fashion.

The TV biz provides Daddy with a world-class stage where he can really shine. Over the years he bought, sold, swapped, traded for and flipped network affiliates and independents in markets large and small across the country, always with an eye of landing in metros that are supportive of the advertising side of the family enterprise.

But then, just as everything was hitting its stride, Mama vanished in the Alaskan wilds, never to be heard from again.

In Memory of Mama

Shortly thereafter, we moved all operations back to Chicago. It was Daddy’s hometown (Mama’s had been Seattle), and when you consider all the broadcast properties and billboards that we own that are scattered across the countryside, well . . . Chicago is about as central a location as you can find.

Daddy threw himself deeper into his work than ever before. Even though he was consumed with the herculean task of assembling the TV network, he honored Mama’s groundbreaking work with the outdoor extravaganzas known as “Live-Action Billboards.” As a legacy to Mama, he vowed to make the service a staple of the agency. Daddy did the best he could to nurse the project along, but clearly the Outdoor Division required more time and attention than even he was able to muster.

Another Dream Goes Up in Flames

Of course, I considered myself in line to run the Outdoor Division. It was rather hurtful when Daddy chose my younger sister Noreen over me. Noreen already was employed with the company and had a lot of existing responsibilities. Daddy’s view was she’d earned it; she was more than capable of dealing with additional duties that were being heaped atop her already full plate. But I knew better; I knew there was no way she’d be able to handle her new workload before one day blowing some serious chunks

I was having an increasingly difficult time wondering if I was ever going to fit in with the organization. Every time Daddy bought a new TV station I figured he’d find me a place somewhere in the ranks.

And then I finally hit paydirt . . .

Shanking for Gold

I was a few years out of college and caddying for one of Daddy’s TV execs. He was really impressed with the club I chose for his approach shot to the eighteenth green. A pure guess on my part, it won him a lot of money–I think it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $20.00. He wanted to repay me in-kind and so he had a word with Daddy.

I Was Successful (Trust Me) . . .

Daddy finally came around. It wasn’t like he took pity on me, not that way at all. He didn’t make a big thing of my being a failure, didn’t rub it in my face. He was real understanding, and made a place for me in the Los Angeles flagship station of his TV network group.

While there, I did okay, learning the ropes and stretching my wings. I was feeling more confident by the day and had a good amount of support from the staff.

But then came the “Burbank Blowout” that all but rear-ended my career.