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Out With the Old, With Mixed Feelings

Greetings from Radio World’s new home.

Greetings from Radio World’s new home.

After many years in a gritty six-story brown brick building at Bailey’s Crossroads in Northern Virginia, RW has moved — along with the rest of the former IMAS publications that shared the space — to a bright, fresh new office environment in Alexandria a few miles away.

I won’t miss the ugly battleship gray walls of 5827 Columbia Pike, its cranky elevators, dangerous parking lot and intrusive car alarms from the Acura dealer next door.

Honestly the place was dumpy. When rain fell hard and the wind blew, water literally ran down the walls at times. The exit from our parking lot onto the Pike was life-threatening.

However a lot of RW history walked through those third floor editorial and production offices. And the building holds strong personal associations for me, such as the day I sat in Marlene Lane’s office and was hired in 1996, or the many “final proofs” the RW staff held gathered around a newborn issue of Radio World on a worn office table.

Certainly I’ll never forget the morning we learned about the events of Sept. 11, 2001 — first, of the attacks in New York, then with further horror about the crash of Flight 77 into the Pentagon, just four miles up Columbia Pike from us. We raced to the rooftop to watch the column of smoke rise and fire engines pelt by.

I also have a strong attachment to the old building because it sits on history.

One of the two roads that make up Bailey’s Crossroads had been a buffalo trail centuries ago, and Native Americans used it. George Washington later owned land there. In the 1800s cattle and their handlers wore down the second road, the “Washington Graveled Turnpike,” heading toward the Potomac River.

The crossroads were winter headquarters for the Bailey circus family (yes, of Barnum & Bailey fame), who gave the intersection its name.

Confederate and Union troops faced each other on nearby land early in the war; a rebel flag flying on a neighborhood hilltop could be seen from the White House. After the first battle of Manassas in 1861, the largest troop gathering in the country’s history to that time happened right outside my old office window when Abe Lincoln and his cabinet reviewed 60,000 Federal troops under Gen. George McClellan.

Julia Ward Howe was there that day — right where I would visit the post office and gas station. She wrote the words to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” that night to the tune she’d heard soldiers singing.

So I’ll miss the old place, or at least its associations. But it sure felt great to purge files, drawers and cubbies, just like when you move your home. The process is a pain, but when you’re done it feels great.

Our new space is a super home for us: clean, well-lit and -managed. Visitors can reach us more easily from I-95/395, Reagan National and Dulles airports and downtown Washington. Most employee commutes are easier. We have better IT and phone systems, a safe parking area and a facility that presents a professional face.

All of our Virginia staff are in one concentrated work area now. When we final-proof Radio World, we do it on a long, new, clean tabletop near work areas that are now shared by editorial, production, sales and circulation. We have a deli next door for hot morning coffee and lunch.

The place just lacks the character that comes with long association. But I’ll give it a little time. Perhaps someday I’ll come to feel as strongly about the place — love it, loathe it, or love to loathe it — as I did about the old one.

* * *

We continue to transition our systems, including e-mail addresses and so forth, and we’re still settling into our new relationship with parent NewBay Media. At times the transition has been a little bumpy; bear with us if that happens. But your familiar RW team is right here, and we have exciting further improvements coming that will be more visible to you. Stay tuned.

Our new mailing address is Radio World/NewBay Media, 5285 Shawnee Road, Suite 100, Alexandria, VA 22312-2334. The main phone is (703) 852-4600; you can reach me at (703) 852-4628.

Editorial e-mail goes to radioworld {at}; or you can write me personally at pmclane {at} Other staff e-mails follow the same format.

* * *

We’ve written a lot about “green radio” lately, including a new series by that name.

Thanks to RW Production Publication Coordinator Karen Lee, RW’s recent move was more environmentally friendly than it would have been otherwise. Hearing that we planned to trash or give away a significant amount of old furniture and supplies, Karen — who hates waste — swung into action using Freecycle and Craigslist. Soon a procession of visitors came to the office and claimed more than 200 unwanted items.

“All were cheerful and very grateful to be given such treasures,” Karen said. “It was wonderful and amazing to see so much of our office go to new homes instead of the landfill. IMAS will live on all over Northern Virginia.”

About 50 filing cabinets were distributed via a support network for parents with autistic children.

A $20,000 scanner, destined for a landfill, has a new home in Arlington and will be used to scan large maps for government archiving. The company also took chairs, chair pads, tables, CD cases and old fax machines.

Older computers, office supplies and furniture will help the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation built a museum/cultural center that teaches about and honors the accomplishments of civil rights pioneers Joseph Tinner and E.B. Henderson. Other computers and furniture will be used to provide computer training to people with disabilities at the Laurie Mitchell Employment Center.

Old CD cases will be reused as puzzle cases in an interpretive project for visitors to Potomac Overlook Regional Park. Many plants found a home at Corpus Christi School on Glen Carlyn.

Contents of a “junk table” that blossomed as we purged offices were donated to the Lupus Foundation. A time clock, white boards, file folders, bookcases and more are being used by a daycare, a wildlife artist, a painter, an origami and stained glass enthusiast, a community in Arlington committed to building a sustainable, violence-free culture and many, many parents.

If your station is moving and plans to discard a lot of items, this is a great alternative. Visit Karen said, “I encourage everyone to join. Freecycling is easy; it’s usually done via your doorstep; you may never have to see anyone in person. People post the weirdest things sometimes, but someone usually wants them.

“It’s really true that your trash is someone else’s treasure.”