That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Old-School Al

Photo credit: Oakland A’s Spanish radio KIQI 1010; Amaury Pi-Gonzalez (pictured) was close friends with the late Al Dougherty, a salesman for KBRG 105.3 FM.

By: Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

OAKLAND–Al Dougherty passed on Friday September 7, 2018 in San Rafael, Calif. I knew Al for around 40 years. We met when he was top sales person at the old KBRG 105.3 FM, a Spanish radio station in San Francisco with main offices and studios at the Merchandise Mart building on Market Street. A good man with a sense of decorum and good work ethics from whom I learned a lot about the radio business, way before social media. Al was really old-school. He was not into social media, just email. Nothing new, most people over 70 do not care much about social media.

Al knew the inner workings of radio, from sales management to programming. He loved the game of baseball and we clicked right away the first time. I met him late in the 1970’s. He helped put together the first scheduled broadcast of A’s games on Spanish radio.

Al was a sales person in the whole sense of old-school. At the station or when he went on a sales call, he will always be immaculately dressed. When he wrote a letter to a potential sponsor (in those days pitching sponsors), he corresponded with the teams via letters and in-person visits. The draft letters he wrote, he expected to be typed correctly by the secretary and he would be very strict about accuracy–no mistakes.

Al was a wordsmith. One time he was sending a sales proposal to a sponsor and he noticed that the letter did not leave on the same day it was written, he was very upset. He detested inefficiency, and at the office, he ran a tight ship.

When he sold the first schedule games of baseball as I was doing the play-by-play, he told me I should learn the commercial log and I did. It was an experience, but soon I found out how important that was, since when you sell spots you have to show the sponsors when and at what time they ran on the air.

Everything Al did had a purpose and a plan. He was very anal when it came to his business. Focused would be an understatement.

We went on sales calls and learned a lot from him. In those days it was paramount that you were always well-dressed to meet the client have a cohesive sales plan and explain to the potential sponsor about what they were getting in the market they were in. He also worked for the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park–in charge of Diamond Vision. Len Shapiro remembers very well that the Oakland Seals went on the air because of Al’s efforts. He worked at various Bay Area radio stations. He was a real baseball fan, always talking trivia with me, as well as a great movies aficionado.

During his last few years on this earth, I would often travel to his place in San Rafael, go out to lunch, where he always talking about business and baseball. He loved corned beef and cabbage. After all, he was an Irishman, and when I went to see him, my wife Gail would cook him corned beef and cabbage for me to take home. That was his favorite spread. He was a happy man, and told me that would make a few meals out of that and make sure I thank Gail for her kindness.

I wish I would have spent more time with Al towards the end of his life. He was like an older brother and always gave me the best advice money could not buy.

Al was a conservative in every sense of the word. He was very independent and didn’t like people that felt entitled. He always had a sense of responsibility for his actions, not blaming somebody else, but he would take full responsibility, and if he made a mistake, he would tell you. He had a great sense of humor. We would joke at many things in life, because ‘after all’ life is funny in many ways, things that happen day-to-day, especially in the radio business. You did not need a script. They are just funny sometimes.

I can go on and on about the many years I knew Al. We shared some very good moments at ballgames, playoffs, World Series and also shared some disappointment when a broadcast deal could not be reached. His favorite baseball play-by-play announcer was Walter Lanier Barber, better known as “Red Barber,” who called games for the Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees. Interesting because Al was born in New York and was a N.Y. Giants fan since he was a young man.

I have met his two sons, and as soon as I got the email from Brian, I didn’t even had to open that email. I knew instinctively that Al had left us.

A good man has left us and my sincere condolences go to his immediate family.

Rest in peace, my friend.

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