Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How many times have we seen this?

From Tom Taylor:

Mike Ramirez was one of the toughest ad negotiators ever

His January 10 death at age 62 gives the Los Angeles Business Journal ample cause to explore the life of a Rolex-wearing star who spent many millions on Los Angeles radio as a buyer – and probably raised blood pressure throughout the whole state because of his tactics. Ramirez worked in the agricultural fields of California and was one of many who helped Cesar Chavez organize the United Farm Workers.

He went to work at a Bakersfield station as a sales rep, became a GM, bought a station in Santa Maria, divorced his wife, and moved to L.A. to be where the action was. There, he created the MultiMedia America buying service and became a demon at negotiating ad rates for 900-number services like psychic hotlines. He also loved live spots and sometimes voiced them himself, in English or Spanish. But he started getting into the bottle and cocaine, and then in 1995 his 7-year-old son died of cancer.

In the next decade he found mortgage broker Best Funding, and made its name ubiquitous. Best Funding was “the biggest client CBS Radio ever had in Los Angeles”, says former KLSX sales rep Cal Saul. Ramirez kept living the high life, but the real estate crash ended his run with Best Funding and before long he was working out of his car, and then homeless for a while. He died broke in what the Business Journal’s Joel Russell calls “a cheap apartment.”

Read more here.