Eddie Doyle’s the real-life bartender who worked 35 years at the Bull & Finch in Boston–the basement bar that became a senstation in the 1980’s when it was used as inspiration for NBC’s hit sitcom, “Cheers.”
Eddie Doyle was the guy who literally knew everybody’s name–and their drink–and enjoyed nothing less than serving pints to his friends from the neighborhood and talking, often for hours. Doyle was the guy Ted Danson’s “Sam Malone” was based on, and after the show became a smash, Doyle became a star in his home town, in turn using his fame to raise over a million dollars for charity.
I bring up Eddie Doyle, because like a lot of local newsers, Doyle got laid off this week. And like a TV reporter or anchor, his celebrity–and his longevity–didn’t save him when the time to cut the budget hit the bar. “I’m going to miss it,” Doyle told me when I talked to him on the phone this week. He described packing up 35 years of memories and preparing to walk away. So many of us know exactly what that feels like.
Doyle’s 66, and he told me he’s not worried for himself, but for the young “kids” who also got laid off at the bar. When I asked him his advice to the newly unemployed, he said it in one word: “network.” He told me, talk to people, volunteer, do charity work. “It’s a way to stay active, and you might meet someone who can open a door.”
In TV, we learn how many people we know when the layoff hits. We hear from old friends and former co-workers at stations from years past, and often, they have ideas. They know people. They say, “call this guy.”
It’s good advice to remember when the lack of TV jobs out there gets scary. Keep talking. Stay involved, even if it’s at a homeless shelter or a charity you care about. Don’t stay at home in front of the computer hitting “refresh” every three minutes on journalismjobs.com.
Nobody knows how long this will last… and the folks who find jobs may be the ones who know somebody, even if it’s not somebody they knew beforehand. Since I wrote about my own departure from WPLG, I’ve heard from all kinds of old friends. Many with excellent ideas (and some bad ones), and lots and lots of leads. It’s a reminder that in this very small business, we do touch a lot of people, and there’s no shame in asking for help, or simply, in taking it when offered.
So go ahead and hum the theme from Cheers. (You know you want to) And take Eddie Doyle’s advice.