Bob Milkovich on the good fortune to have have worked for top-notch “Flagship” companies~
“I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have come here and worked and met people like you, and Ernie Fears, and Tony Renaud at WMAL. And then I went to work for Oliver Carr Company. And then I was able to go and work for Goldman Sachs. Then from that I went to First Potomac Realty Trust and now I’m with Rand* Construction and Linda Rabbitt.”
Andy Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen, this is Our Town, and this is sort of like nostalgia day for me and for Janice and for Ken, because, one of our great, great, I mean that, great, great friends, from the early days of the success of the greatest radio station in the world was a man named, a young man named Bob Milkovich, who I had heard of and discovered when he was a quarterback for the University of Maryland. Len Klompus told me about him. At the same time he had us hire Ken, not Ken, Ken Beatrice. He came down from Boston, and Bob Milkovich, welcome to Our Town.
Bob Milkovich: Well, thank you Andy. Thank you Janice. It’s so good to be here and I feel so welcomed. I’m back in a place that I called home back in the early ’80s when I first came here as a college intern. And I-
Andy Ockershausen: From the University of Maryland.
From the University of Maryland to WMAL
Bob Milkovich: University of Maryland. I actually was introduced to the station by Johnny Holliday so there’s a, you know, a-
Andy Ockershausen: We’re all in this thing together. Before that there was … What’s his name from University of Maryland?
Janice: Tim Brant?
Andy Ockershausen: Timmy. Tim came here but the athletic director-
Bob Milkovich: Russ Potts was a big promotion guy.
Andy Ockershausen: Russ Potts. He was a promoter wasn’t he?
Bob Milkovich: Russ Potts.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh my God.
Bob Milkovich: He was a big promoter and, you know, he always had promotional campaigns well ahead of his time. Some of the people we were talking about earlier, Andy.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh my God.
Bob Milkovich: Everybody was kind of ahead of their time.
Andy Ockershausen: I kept asking how he got to be an athletic director but Dick Dull, all those people were friends of ours, Bob. But Milkovich is here that’s because we’re so excited, he has become and just been named the President of the Rand* Company, which for Washingtonians, that those of us that know about it, is great, great position, and great for Bob Milkovich to run this company.
Bob Milkovich – New Position as CEO of Rand* Construction
Bob Milkovich: Yes. Thank you, Andy. I’m honored. Linda Rabbitt-
Andy Ockershausen: She’s a wonderful, wonderful woman, Bob.
Linda Rabbitt, Chairman of Rand* Construction
Bob Milkovich: She is and I enjoy working with her, and she is so talented, and her community involvement is above everybody’s standard.
Andy Ockershausen: I started with Linda … She went to college with some friends of mine that went to University of Michigan and they were all in the same sorority. So I go back to her with the early ’80s. About your time as a matter of fact, when she worked for Steve Harlan. She was Steve’s assistant well before she got into the building trades. But Linda is a magnificent example of a female that really made it big. And she was doing it back in the early ’80s when not many other females were doing what she was doing.
Bob Milkovich: That’s right. That’s right. And, you know, back at-
Andy Ockershausen: Starting her own company, Bob.
Bob Milkovich: She did, and after I left radio I actually went to work with the Oliver Carr Company which I’m sure you know Oliver well.
Andy Ockershausen: Oliver T.
Bob Milkovich: Oliver T. Yeah, he’s very civic-minded and quite a visionary.
Andy Ockershausen: Ollie, great guy.
Bob Milkovich: And, you know, interestingly enough, the intersection of all of us. Linda, actually, one of her first major clients was the Oliver Carr Company where she started doing interior construction for the company. So you know-
Andy Ockershausen: She was redecorating offices, I called it.
Bob Milkovich: That’s right, and building them out and that kind of just-
Andy Ockershausen: Started the whole thing of a female taking over and being so important for Our Town. And did a lot of offices and a lot of friends’, but because of Linda’s involvement in the community, she knew so many people that were on their way up. By that I mean they were getting bigger and they all needed office work. And she stepped right up and supplied it to them.
Explosive Growth in Our Town
Bob Milkovich: That’s right and, you know, Andy, I know you’ve seen the city grow over the last many years.
Andy Ockershausen: Okay.
Bob Milkovich: And what we see, the old commercial corridor of Connecticut and K got expanded into the East End when Metro came online and everything that moved between the White House and the Capitol, it was just amazing what was going on.
Andy Ockershausen: Bob, it’s so inspiring to see what’s happened to our downtown. Yesterday I had to ride down to 14th and F. I don’t even know it anymore. That used to be the center of the universe, 14th and F. Garfinckel’s on one corner and Capitol Theatre, it was the Capitol at one time, Fox Capitol. That was the center of town. Now it’s nothing.
Bob Milkovich: Yeah, well think about it. I grew up locally and-
Andy Ockershausen: You’re Montgomery County.
Bob Milkovich: Montgomery County yeah, Rockville, Maryland. And when people came, you know, even after college when people come to Washington, D.C., you know, you either try to move … If you’re into politics, you move to Capitol Hill, or you move to Georgetown, or you move to Dupont Circle. Those are really the three neighborhoods that you would hear about. And now today, you know, you have the 14th Street corridor, you have the 7th Street corridor, you have Shaw, you have, you know, Union Market that’s on the other side of Union Station, I mean. Our city, and you know, H Street corridor, it goes on the Wharf, this project … The Wharf, the ballpark, I mean.
Andy Ockershausen: The Yard. It’s all down there, Bob. You know, Ollie Carr was at the center of that when it first started. That growth here. Ollie Carr was trying to be very helpful for us to get a baseball team, he and Jim Clark. They even went with us to a meeting with the baseball owners in New York, which Mr. Cook declined to attend, but Ollie did, and Jim Clark. Made a great impression. We didn’t get the franchise, but we eventually got … We were trying to get an expansion franchise. Eventually they pulled it off to move Montreal.
Andy Ockershausen: So Bob, we’ve become a sports town. All big four sports are right here in Our Town.
Our Town has become a Sports Town
Bob Milkovich: And think about that. What Abe Pollin with the Caps, and what were the Bullets, and now the Wizards. To put that right at 7th Street, you know what-
Andy Ockershausen: Oh you’ve seen that neighborhood.
Bob Milkovich: … and it’s just gone, just fantastic. And you look at what the Lerners have done with the Nationals and the ballpark area. You know Andy, it’s funny. I think back to the mid ’80s when I was here in WMAL, of course they covered Maryland football, and they covered the Redskins. We were the flagship station. We had everything. That RFK Stadium, you know, when it really got rocking, and it would just kind of trampoline effect, it would go up and down, the crowd was wild. We were playing for the big Super Bowl every year. It was fantastic. It really was.
Andy Ockershausen: The town was so turned on to the idea of the Redskins. As Janice … She was a producer as you know, my Janice Iacona. But she produced a lot of the football and a lot of the pregame shows. One of the things that Janice always was impressed with was the chemistry between the audience and the football team all due to WMAL because they were listening. People would go to the game carrying a transistor radio.
Bob Milkovich: Well, I hate to confess to that too. Many times, and many of my friends, we would all, you know, we would turn off the TV sound and turn on the radio sound because you had Sonny, Sam, and Frank, and they were it. They were everything. You look at what the Capitals did last year, and I think that really galvanized the city too. We saw kind of rebirth of what we used to see with the Redskins-
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely.
Bob Milkovich: … with what the Caps did last year.
Andy Ockershausen: And I think that what Leonsis did is turn us down by opening up to the world that downtown party Bob, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything better than that.
Bob Milkovich: I have not either, and I remember the bus parades that used to happen with the Redskins, you know. But that really was …
Andy Ockershausen: He did it.
Bob Milkovich: You think about how it brought people together. It was just fantastic to see.
Andy Ockershausen: The thing that, well, Abe started as you say, downtown, but everybody jumped on it and he had a lot of help. We had Irene with our program, Irene Pollin. She lived through that, like you’re talking about the magic of the city, when they won that one championship with the Bullets. But they felt it. And we felt it every year with the Redskins because they were gonna be a contender Bob, as you pointed out.
But to see this involvement that you have, and had, and Linda Rabbitt has, and Ollie Carr has, with Our Town it’s been great. Through the Board of Trade, they get the credit now, about it.
Milkovich Fortunate to have Worked for Top-Notch “Flagship” Companies During His Career
Bob Milkovich: Yeah, Andy, you know, I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have come here and worked and met people like you, and Ernie Fears, and Tony Renaud at WMAL. And then I went what I would call from the flagship radio station to the flagship developer. I went to work for Oliver Carr Company. We were the most prolific developer in Washington, D.C.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh my God.
Bob Milkovich: And we really own the town, and Jim Clark was a part of that too.
Andy Ockershausen: Maryland guy, too.
Bob Milkovich: Absolutely. And then my career, I was able to go and work for Goldman Sachs, which is a really top flight company, and then from there-
Andy Ockershausen: But that was a national job, wasn’t it Bob? Or were you still here for Goldman Sachs?
Bob Milkovich: It was more regional, but I was centered here, and really doing a lot of work up and down the East Coast, and then from that I went to First Potomac Realty Trust which is here in Washington, D.C., a local REIT, and then now I’m with Rand* Construction and Linda Rabbitt, and I-
Andy Ockershausen: What a career. My God.
Bob Milkovich: For me, personally, I feel like I’ve played for all the top teams in the city, if you can think about it that way. The people that I’ve met through this has made my life just that much more enjoyable. It really has.
Andy Ockershausen: Some of the people that you and I both know that you were involved, and Steve Harlan, I don’t know whether you knew him well, but-
Bob Milkovich: I do know Steve.
Andy Ockershausen: Steve’s a great guy, you know.
Bob Milkovich: Fantastic.
Andy Ockershausen: We love Steve, and I’ve had a great relationship with him since he first came to Washington. And I met Linda through him. In fact, he and Charlie Brotman, believe it or not.
Young Intern’s Impression of WMAL – Tennis Anyone? and Blue Blazer
Bob Milkovich: Oh God. So Charlie was a … So, when I first came here, I joked with Andy, and walked around the station today. I’ll never forget on the FM side they gave me a typing desk which, at my size, I can barely get my knees under the desk. Then they threw the yellow pages at me, and they said “Hey, good luck. Go make some business.” You know, I’m fresh out of college. Today I don’t even think they have typing desks. Half the people listening probably don’t even know what that is, and yellow pages too.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s exactly right.
Bob Milkovich: You Google everything, you know. But the thing that I remember … Two things I remember most, Andy, I have to tell these stories real quickly, are one is that when I first came here as an intern and I saw you walking down the hall, I think you were in tennis whites, and a tennis racket-
Andy Ockershausen: Could have been. With Ernie.
Bob Milkovich: Yeah, with Ernie Fears. And I looked, and I said “Who is that guy?” And they said “Oh, he runs the place.” I said “This is where I wanna work!” They play tennis every day! For a sports guy, this is perfect. And then the second part of it, when I was an intern, the only kind of fancy clothes I had was tweed sport coat, and as you know, a summer intern is truly … Summer in Washington, D.C. … And I’d wear that sport coat, that tweed coat, and sweat my way to work. And you, and Ernie Fears, and Tony Renaud-
Andy Ockershausen: But it worked for you. You had a job.
Bob Milkovich: I did. You guys must have felt so sorry for me because they gave me a blue blazer. I’m so frugal I probably still have it today.
Andy Ockershausen: And you can bet your life we didn’t pay cash for it.
Bob Milkovich: No doubt. No doubt. That was found somewhere as a promotional item.
Andy Ockershausen: The king of trade.
Bob Milkovich: It was a promotional item from somewhere.
Andy Ockershausen: Well we’ve had a wonderful conversation about your business career, and somewhat about WMAL, but we’re going to take a break now Bob, and give you a deep breath, because we’re going to talk about Bob Milkovich, and his career as a quarterback for Maryland.
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Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town with Andy Ockershausen. Brought to you by Best Bark communications.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Our Town. It’s Andy Ockershausen with a very, very dear friend, and such a special person, Bob Milkovich, obviously Linda Rabbitt recognized how good you are. You wouldn’t have gotten a job. She is very particular. I’ve known that woman for many, many years. So Bob, way back before you were at WMAL, you were University of Maryland, quarterback for the Terrapins. That was quite a deal in our marketplace.
Bob Milkovich: Yes. Back in the day, you know, Coach Claiborne came in to build the program, and he really created a winner.
Andy Ockershausen: Did he recruit you?
Milkovich Recruited by Coach Claiborne for the University of Maryland Terrapins Football
Bob Milkovich: He did. He and a gentleman named Joe Krivak who-
Andy Ockershausen: Krivak? I remember that name.
Bob Milkovich: … ultimately became one of the head coaches there. As I mentioned early, I grew up in Rockville, Maryland. I went to Thomas Wootton High School.
Andy Ockershausen: Wootton? That’s the new school then. When you-
Bob Milkovich: Well it was new when I was there.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s what I mean.
Bob Milkovich: My brother was in the first graduating class. It was interesting back then. I got recruited by a lot of schools, and I looked at a lot of different situations, but back then, Andy, you played for your school. You played for your town. Your state. And it was an honor to do that, it really was.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, for Maryland, absolutely.
Bob Milkovich: And as I mentioned, we were winners. We were top, you know, top 15 team every year. We went to bowl games when bowl games mattered, right? There weren’t, you know, 500 by-
Andy Ockershausen: They had the good bowls. You went oranges and the sugars. It meant something, right?
Bob Milkovich: That’s right.
Andy Ockershausen: Big deal.
Bob Milkovich: We were in the bowls when it really was important to go, and we really had a good team. I made some great friendships out of that experience.
Andy Ockershausen: Well in Maryland, they always had great offensive line. I knew so many of the older players that were old. Like Harry Bonk and some names out of Maryland history that are incredible. We watched Maryland being built up. I was telling our technician, our most important guy in the room, that Bud Wilkinson was the head coach at the University of Maryland after WW2, before he went to Oklahoma. And then Jim Tatum, they hired Jim Tatum. And Maryland was a powerhouse.
Coach Claiborne – University of Maryland Terrapins Football
Bob Milkovich: Yes. Maryland was in the ’50s, and then you know, it kind of took a little bit of a dip. That’s when they brought Coach Claiborne in, you know. He had a reputation for turning teams around. He was a strict disciplinarian, which you know-
Andy Ockershausen: It helps to win.
Bob Milkovich: Yeah. It absolutely helps, and he was very defensive and special teams minded. He really did a great job, and-
Andy Ockershausen: Well how about the quarterback club that he established? In one Sunday, in the pro football, Maryland had five or six starting quarterbacks.
Quarterback Club – University of Maryland Terrapins Football
Bob Milkovich: Oh, absolutely.
Andy Ockershausen: In one Sunday.
Bob Milkovich: Our group, you know-
Andy Ockershausen: Incredible.
Bob Milkovich: … it’s really interesting, even more toward my senior year. Boomer Esiason was part of our, the quarterback group.
Andy Ockershausen: Norman.
Bob Milkovich: Norman, yeah, Norman J. Esiason. Frank Reich, who is now the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, and just came off of a-
Andy Ockershausen: Did a great job.
Bob Milkovich: … banner year, and Stan Gelbaugh was part of it. Stan played for 12 or 14 years, professionally. And the list goes on. From there you had a fellow named Milanovich, little bit different than Milkovich, but same. Zolak, who went to the Patriots. There really was a list of quarterbacks who made it.
Andy Ockershausen: Where are the Milkovich bloodlines from?
Immigrant Work Ethic
Bob Milkovich: It’s Eastern European, Serbian.
Andy Ockershausen: You have relatives still live in Serbia?
Bob Milkovich: I probably have a few over there, somewhere.
Andy Ockershausen: I think it’s wonderful. Everything going on over there, it’s a tourist, the tourists are flocking to old Yugoslavia.
Bob Milkovich: But you know what, when people came, when immigrants came to this country back in 1917 as my grandparents did, you know, it was an honor to be an American-
Andy Ockershausen: To work.
Bob Milkovich: … and be American citizen, to have a job, and to work.
Andy Ockershausen: To work.
Bob Milkovich: And that, you know, and look, and that work ethic got transcended down through generations, you know?
Andy Ockershausen: Your father.
Bob Milkovich: I learned from my dad. My dad was a, you know, very earnest, hard-working guy, and you know I think-
Andy Ockershausen: Was he from Rockville too?
Bob Milkovich: No, actually, from the Pittsburgh area. So my mother and father were from Pittsburgh areas.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow. But you weren’t born in Pittsburgh.
Bob Milkovich’s Dad was an IBMer
Bob Milkovich: No, no. I was actually born in Endicott, New York. Our family, my dad was an IBMer, which he used to affectionately say was “I’ve been moved.” He started out, he you know, was in the Pittsburgh area, then he went, you know-
Andy Ockershausen: Tim Brant’s father was an IBMer too, did you-
Bob Milkovich: Yeah. I would bet you that the IBM tree for business community in Washington, D.C. is pretty, you know, pretty robust.
Andy Ockershausen: Well in my era, growing up in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, IBM guys were recognized. They all had to wear hats, did you know that?
Bob Milkovich: Well, my dad-
Andy Ockershausen: It was required by Mr. Watson that they all wear a hat.
Bob Milkovich: Yeah, my dad would say you could, you had to wear a white dress shirt every day, except Friday, you could wear a solid blue one. You know, that was like, that was like really casual Friday back then or something. Where today, you know, you go to a business meeting. I mean I might be the only guy in the room with a tie on.
Andy Ockershausen: I see it all the time, Bob. But you look good in …
Bob Milkovich: Well as I told you earlier this is a rental, so if we could get this interview over early … I’m gonna be out of clothes.
Andy Ockershausen: So these quarterbacks at Maryland all made such an impression upon the National Football League because it was like quarterback college. I think that’s true for a while, and then things change, Bob, because the quarterback position changed. Everybody’s run and shoot, now.
Bob Milkovich: Well, when you-
Andy Ockershausen: And they do more shooting than they do running.
Quarterbacks are Different Today
Bob Milkovich: Yeah, when you look at it, you know, there are approximately 65 to 70 plays that are run from scrimmage. So when you look statistically on the TV and you see somebody threw 55 times in a game, I mean that lets you know how many times they’re running the ball, and it’s not very much. So the game has definitely advanced. The athletes are so much, you know, they’re stronger, they’re bigger, they’re faster.
Andy Ockershausen: Training, Bob. The menus are better, the nutrition is better.
Bob Milkovich: Absolutely. You know, back in, you going back to Maryland, again, reflecting on that, coach Claiborne was one of the first innovators of weightlifting. We had a very-
Andy Ockershausen: Is that right? He put in weight room.
Bob Milkovich: … we had a very disciplined weight program, and-
Andy Ockershausen: He was after Bob Ward. Bob Ward’s era, they were all tough guys. And he hired them Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, they had the Modzelewski brothers.
Bob Milkovich: Absolutely.
Andy Ockershausen: They were tough when they came to school.
Bob Milkovich: Well, the real guy that set the bar for Maryland and weightlifting, that was Randy White, who had a phenomenal career in college. Outland Trophy winner. Then he went on to the Dallas Cowboy, and had a long-
Andy Ockershausen: Number 54. I remember that.
Bob Milkovich: Yeah. Had a long career, and you know, he really-
Andy Ockershausen: I think he still lives in the Dallas area.
Bob Milkovich: He lives somewhere down there, I know-
Andy Ockershausen: I was with Ernie Fears one time. We met him and we went to some kind of reception with him in Dallas. I recall that vividly.
Mutual Friend – Tim Brant
Bob Milkovich: Well a mutual friend of ours, and teammate, keeps up, named Tim Brant. You know, I do see Timmy and, you know, he was a Maryland football alum, and just a wonderful guy.
Andy Ockershausen: You know, Timmy was working with Harden and Weaver, and we were doing sports. And he came to me one day and said, “I had an offer from channel 7. They want me to do the evening sports, and I don’t want to leave, but I don’t know what to do.” And I said “Well Tim, you do what your heart, but you’re making a mistake. You’re gonna end up as a broken down guy in Indianapolis, Indiana, or Frankfort, Kentucky, or some place like that that people don’t even know, because you’re not gonna make it in television.” He took the job, and then one day I got a phone call from Tim, and he called, he said “I’m in Louisville. I’m doing the Kentucky Derby for ABC.” I mean he just shot right up, as you know. He’s such a sweet, sweet man.
Bob Milkovich: Yeah, well with the exception of that Andy, I would say you were a pretty quick judge of talent.
Andy Ockershausen: Well you know, he was great on air. We didn’t want to lose him because he was great. Frank and Jack loved him. Harden and Weaver had, and Janice knows that, she was their producer, they had likes and dislikes in the staff. When they liked a guy, or gal, whatever it is, they’d push it. But if they were a little cooled off, you were dead meat. But they loved Timmy, and they didn’t want him to leave. So like they all loved you, Bob, and you had a unique opportunity to work with one of the great talents I’ve ever known in my life, and Janice and I went to his funeral, and it was so important that we do that. Ed Walker was a special, special talent.
Ed Walker – Incredible Talent
Bob Milkovich: Yeah. So as a young person, and working at the radio station, I would come in on Saturdays and sit in with Ed on his show. You know, with Sinatra & Friends, which Tony Renaud kind of started, and not at all hocked up, you know, and then Ed really was the talent to it. I’ll never forget, they had some contest where I guess you could go see Frank Sinatra at Madison Square Garden or something like that and they said-
Andy Ockershausen: Mister S.
Bob Milkovich: Yeah, yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: Tony called him Mister S.
Bob Milkovich: So they said “Bob, would you go up there with Ed, you know, and accompany him,” and you know, that really was a fond memory for me because Ed Walker was such a talented guy, and he was even nicer guy than he was talented, which is hard to believe.
Andy Ockershausen: But I believe what you’re saying is true. To do the things that they did, and that Ed did, not being able to see was incredible … He saw so well Bob, that’s what got me. He was just great with that braille thing he had.
Bob Milkovich: I’m glad you said that, because I was going to mention this too. I would sit there in the studio with him. I’d say “Hi, hi, how you doing, whatcha’ do,” you know, whatever, he said “Well, I watched this movie last night,” and he’d just keep talking, you know, and I’m thinking to myself, “Watched a movie?” I’m like “Wow.” But his awareness-
Andy Ockershausen: It’s incredible!
Bob Milkovich: … of what was around him was really impressive.
Andy Ockershausen: By winning awards … There would never be another person like Tony Renaud but. I know he was real. He said “Come on, we’re going down to say hello to Mr. S. at the hotel in Washington.” He was here for inauguration or something. We’d go down and go in a room, and we’re sitting off to the side, and Mr. S. comes by. He did like Tony though!
Bob Milkovich: Oh yeah yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: Frank Sinatra liked Tony Renaud, but Frank Sinatra Jr. loved Tony Renaud.
What Bob Milkovich Learned from Tony Renaud – It’s All About Relationships
Bob Milkovich: Yeah, and I’ll tell you what Tony taught me, and you know Tony very well was, the importance of relationships.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s all about that.
Bob Milkovich: And when you think about people like Charlie Brotman, who I know was a friend of yours, and-
Andy Ockershausen: Oh my God.
Bob Milkovich: Tony said “Okay, I’m gonna give you this client, it’s Charlie Brotman, and you’d better take care of the, you know, dut ta ta, dut ta ta, dut ta ta.” You know, I’m 20, 21 years old, whatever. I didn’t know. But the importance of relationships, and I –
Andy Ockershausen: Our Town Bob, that’s what it’s all about.
Bob Milkovich: … I’ve taken that forward in my career. I really have, I learned an important lesson here.
Andy Ockershausen: Well you know, you were talking about Linda Rabbitt. The relationship. I know when she was assistant to … She was not anything, really, in the world, but-
Bob Milkovich: To Steve Harlan, right?
Andy Ockershausen: … she made herself into it because of her friendships with people.
Bob Milkovich: Right.
Andy Ockershausen: Board of Trade, all the people she knew. And you’re doing the same thing, Bob, it’s all about relationship. We used to sell broadcasting based on our relationship. We didn’t care about the ratings. We had them, but we did it because people liked us.
Bob Milkovich: Yes.
Andy Ockershausen: And the audience liked us. And the audience put up with us. Janice will tell you all the work she did with, and doing that show with Harden and Weaver in the morning. The whole market just rose up. They were so happy.
Bob Milkovich: Oh, well I think I mentioned this to you earlier. My peer group, my age group, you know, every one of us, our parents had a radio on in the morning, and it was Harden and Weaver. So the first day I came here, and I you know, would come to work early, and I would see those guys behind the microphone. I mean I thought this was the biggest thing in America to happen to me. I was like “Oh my God, that’s Harden and Weaver,” you know. And they were so funny, you know. Those guys were so talented.
There’s No Place Like Home
It’s really been a great experience, and Andy, I did want to say to you, you know, you talk about Our Town, and you know, one was with Oliver Carr Company. One of the opportunities I had to kind of move up my stature in the company was I had to move out of the market. And when I went to Tom Carr, and I said, “Tom, you know, I’d really like to move up in the company,” and he said “Well, you have to move out, and you’d never do that. You’re from here.” I said, “Try me.” And I moved out to Phoenix, Arizona for three years.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow!
Bob Milkovich: I worked in Denver for an additional four and a half years-
Andy Ockershausen: All for Carr Company?
Bob Milkovich: Yes. When the company went National. But I have to tell you Andy, I always hankered to get back to D.C. You know-
Andy Ockershausen: This is Our Town, Bobby.
Bob Milkovich: It is.
Andy Ockershausen: You’re one of us.
Bob Milkovich: And what we’ve seen, and the relationships, you cannot replace those relationships. They’re just so important.
Andy Ockershausen: Well one of the things that I learned in the early days was, I worked for a guy that used to do the morning show named Jim Gibbons. And Jim Gibbons was all about relationships, and he taught me that. You know, this is like the early ’50s, and I’m meeting people through him that became the bank presidents, and you know, you always were involved because this was Our Town. It was a small town, but still the capital of the world. But it was Our Town.
Remember Your Roots
Bob Milkovich: But you know, Andy, another thing that I saw from you as well, and I try to keep that too, is that you never forgot where you came from either. And that’s-
Andy Ockershausen: 13th and D NE. I couldn’t forget it.
Bob Milkovich: It’s just wildly important that you just, you never forgot where you came from-
Andy Ockershausen: Ride the streetcar.
Bob Milkovich: … you never forgot those old friends, and you know, that, and with relationships, and you know … Relationships are a fine art. You gotta work at them. You know, you gotta put the time and the effort in, and today’s fast-paced world that gets lost a little bit.
Andy Ockershausen: Well the people that had helped you in your career, but nobody better than Johnny Holliday, Tim Brant, I mean they give of themselves, you know? Johnny still entertains as you know, he’s still a song and dance man.
Johnny Holliday :: Milkovich’s Introduction to WMAL
Bob Milkovich: I know. I’ll never forget that. It was press day at University of Maryland football, Johnny says “What are you doing?” I said “You know, well I’m getting a business degree, and I’m trying to get a second degree in RTVF,” which was radio, television, and film back in Maryland when, you know, Jim Henson, and Connie Chung, and people like that had gone through that program and-
Andy Ockershausen: Wasn’t his name Batka, or something like that, was a professor at Maryland? Batka? Bakka? Somebody we work with.
Bob Milkovich: Yeah, yeah. You know, so I said “You know, I’m trying to do this Johnny.” I said “You have anything down at the radio station?” And I think he said he had somebody driving Andy Ockershausen around but I figured John Butler had that covered.
Andy Ockershausen: My John.
Bob Milkovich: Yes. I’m joking about that part, but. Johnny was the introduction, you know. Sent me down there, and I’ll never forget that, and I appreciate that.
Andy Ockershausen: I said as long as he’s driving, I’m working.
Bob Milkovich: Yeah. Yeah. That was funny.
Andy Ockershausen: We had a good combination with John Butler. But everybody here was important to me, from the top to the bottom. This is Our Town, and I’m talking about Milkovich who’s a fountain of information, and this is Andy Ockershausen, we’ll be right back.
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Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town with Andy Ockershausen.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Our Town. Andy Ockershausen. Having a wonderful conversation with a, not just a very dear friend, but a man who’s done it the hard way. He worked to get where he is. The President of the Rand Company. And this, Bobby, you’ve seen Our Town now, and from your perspective as a young man, a student, an athlete, a part of a major company, can you believe the changes we’ve had Bob?
Metro Affected Major Changes to DC Core
Bob Milkovich: I think it’s utterly amazing. Back to 1980 when the Metro came in, the core of Washington, D.C. moved from Connecticut and K Streets down to where Metro Center is today. So that was one major change that really took a long time to affect, but it affected our city. I would say-
Andy Ockershausen: Abe helped with that by building his-
Bob Milkovich: Absolutely.
Andy Ockershausen: … his building right down there.
Urbanization Trend is Real
Bob Milkovich: I would say the second thing that I see, you know, you mentioned where you grew up in town, but you know, more people are moving into the city. The urbanization trend is real and it’s in Washington, D.C., and the amount of people that are coming from outside of our area, not just for politics, but for private sector business is amazing. We’ve seen all these neighborhoods sprout up, and there have been more apartments that have been built over the last several years. Because of that, it helps all the retail offerings too. All the restaurants.
Andy Ockershausen: When the people come, the merchants come because they want to serve them. The grocers come.
Bob Milkovich: We were never, you know, one could argue this because there was some great places like Duke Zeibert’s, and certainly The Palm and The Prime Rib are still going today and they are institutions. The food offering here, there’s gourmet food in every neighborhood.
Andy Ockershausen: And even in Rockville.
Bob Milkovich: Yeah, that was usually home cookin’ for us, but.
Andy Ockershausen: You know Bob, you’re right. Vienna … See, we consider that Our Town. Vienna, Virginia is Our Town.
Bob Milkovich: Absolutely.
Andy Ockershausen: The restaurants out there are unbelievable. Alexandria now has become a fashion area. Can you believe old Alexandria? Virginia, Confederate. Alexandria’s changed dramatically.
More than a Government Town Now
Bob Milkovich: Well think about this. We’ve gone from being a government town. We have every major law firm here. We have all the associations. One thing that people, and I used to pitch this in one of our business with investors, we are the hospitality capital of the US. I mean we have Hilton, Marriott, Choice, we have all the major, hotel REITs are centered here. You know, with Amazon announcing that they’re putting part of their second headquarters here. I mean, it is just, really, it’s so positive for our area.
Washington Post Fan
Andy Ockershausen: You know, Bob, I see it and feel it through the newspaper business, because I have been a somewhat of a fan of The Washington Post for my life. Because that was the alternative to the Star. I worked for The Washington Star. Great newspaper. The Washington Post, a great newspaper. I don’t agree with them all the time politically, but it’s such a necessary thing. What Bezos has done now, is buy that property, and put it back on its feet. I know through what Howard Bomstein has done with real estate. It’s right there, you see it on Sunday in The Washington Post.
Bob Milkovich: Yeah, I still, you know, it’s funny, I subscribed to The Washington Post even when I was in college, you know, and I still read it every morning today, and I’m still on the paper version, and I’m with you-
Andy Ockershausen: You’re a rarity, you know that.
Bob Milkovich: In a lot of categories, Andy. You think about the writers that came through there, and people like Tony Kornheiser, who’s in our area, and you know, Sally Quinn when she wrote the style section, which was unheard of, that was trailblazing at that time, you know. Now today, social media-
Andy Ockershausen: Bradlee named it that. Bradlee named it “Style”.
Bob Milkovich: Yeah, the “Style”.
Andy Ockershausen: It sounds better than what they wanted to call it. He said “I like Style.” That was the name. 50 years ago –
Bob Milkovich: Well, I was gonna say, and think about that, most of the social media today is style and fashion and entertainment and media and-
Andy Ockershausen: That was Bradlee. Brilliant. A brilliant editor. And he kept that paper on its toes, and he watched Our Town. But Bob, you’ve seen it grow, I mean, where are we going? When does it stop? Well for the Rand* company, you got a lot of business coming. They’re coming to town.
Milkovich Sees Horizontal Growth
Bob Milkovich: We do. We do. We’re very, very excited about the prospects of our business going forward, and when you think about it, and Andy you know this from living over so many years, this city has a height limitation, so we can’t go up 80 stories, you know. We can’t build higher. We have to spread out as we go, so you see a lot more horizontal growth. And that’s really what’s brought in some of these great neighborhoods, you know, as we talked about the Wharf, and down by the ballpark, and you can live near the ballpark. I mean if you lived in Chicago and you can live near Wrigley Park, I mean how great is that, you know? And now we have that offering in our city that we didn’t have before.
Andy Ockershausen: Wrigley Field. Comiskey Park.
Bob Milkovich: You know, the hope is, and you know, the Redskins can ultimately move back into a place where they’re accessible.
Andy Ockershausen: We grew up at RFK. We grew up … Griffith Stadium, when the Redskins used to play at Griffith Stadium there, I started with them with Jim Gibbons, that we were talking about. To see what they have done for Our Town, and I hope they continue to do it, but the Rand Corporation’s done it too, and Linda, I know has done a lot a lot of great things. She’s so fortunate to have you, Bob.
Bob Milkovich: Thank you so much. Thank you Andy, and-
Andy Ockershausen: You bring a lot of ghosts with you.
Bob Milkovich: Well you know-
Andy Ockershausen: People can’t remember our ghosts. Ghosts are natural, Bob.
Renovation | Repositioning of Office Buildings | Interior Buildout
Bob Milkovich: Yeah, that’s true. But you know, just one last thing on the business piece, when you, you know Andy, it’s funny when you see kinda the central business district and that. You know a lot of these buildings they were built in the ’60s, or coming up on, you know, beyond their useful life, so we really see there’s a real opportunity to do renovation work, and repositioning of office buildings, and certainly to continue with interior build out, which is really our fastball.
Andy Ockershausen: One of the places you mentioned casually was the 14th Street corridor.
Bob Milkovich: Yes.
Andy Ockershausen: That to me is unbelievable. It’s exploded.
Bob Milkovich: It really has. And it’s offered people a new place to live in the city, within the city.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s Our Town. It’s beautiful.
Bob Milkovich: Yeah, yeah. And you’re right on a major corridor for transportation. I mean look at what, you know, the city has bike lanes. Would you have every expected … You know, I don’t expect to see Andy on a bike any time soon, but.
Andy Ockershausen: Stolen bikes. We had a lot of stolen bikes in Our Town. You don’t have to steal a bike any more because they got right there you can rent them.
Bob Milkovich: That’s right. That’s right. And they have these electric scooters. And you know the way that people interact, and quality of life is so important these days.
Andy Ockershausen: Well Bob, just having you, you’re such a very important part of our history of WMAL, and you bring so many memories are popping in my mind all the time, but, Janice and I just are so, feel you’re so important, and are flattered that you wanted to be on Our Town. We got people standing in line though to get on this show. We got people standing in line to get off the show too.
Bob Milkovich: I was wondering what the line was out on the sidewalk when I came in, you know. Had I known-
Andy Ockershausen: Doughnuts.
Bob Milkovich: But I have to tell you Andy, and Janice, it really is the highlight of a week, a month, or whatever. Probably my year, to be here with both of you, and to be here where, you know, actually I used to come here to work. This is home. And we talked about not forgetting where you came from, and I don’t forget that. Not for a second.
Andy Ockershausen: No, no. You can’t, Bob.
Bob Milkovich: Not for a second.
Andy Ockershausen: We had a thing, I was telling Janice about it, somebody took … We made the paper with it. One day, they used to have this Martha’s Table would drive around for coffee and doughnuts and one time somebody spotted Brotman and I standing in line for coffee and doughnuts on the street at Connecticut Avenue. I’ll never forget that. We were walking by, it was cold, and the guy says “You want a cup of coffee?” And we got in line. That’s Our Town, Bob.
Bob Milkovich: Hey Andy, you know, one person we do need to bring up because as we’ve tied through all this WMAL and the Redskins and-
Bob Milkovich: … and even commercial real estate-
Andy Ockershausen: That’s right!
Remembering Pete Wysocki
Bob Milkovich: … and the guy that did the color commentary for Maryland football’s Pete Wysocki. I was looking for, I have a great picture of Pete and myself that I wanted to bring in today, and you know, I couldn’t find it. Of course I couldn’t find it.
Andy Ockershausen: I wish you had.
Bob Milkovich: When I came here, Pete was here too, and he was doing color commentary with Johnny Beck on football, and obviously being an ex-Redskin-
Andy Ockershausen: American Football League if you remember. I got in trouble with Mr. Cooke with that one. But Pete was such a big part of what we were here because he was involved in everything. Loyalty.
Bob Milkovich: Oh my God. I could never forget, you know, you would drive anywhere with Pete, and he would be about eight different characters in one. He could mimic people, or do these things, and tell jokes. And if you remember, there was a, I don’t know if it was a celebrity comedy contest or something downtown-
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely! Downtown Archibald or some place.
Bob Milkovich: He won it several times with his standup comedy routine.
Andy Ockershausen: And he didn’t write anything, it was all out of the-
Bob Milkovich: … he was so funny.
Andy Ockershausen: We had a man on here that used to ride bikes with him name Tom Quinn, they’re bikers you know, and that was a big part of Pete’s life when he got older. He was riding those motorcycles all over, but.
Bob Milkovich: He was also an artist, you know. He had-
Andy Ockershausen: A talented man! Oh my God.
Bob Milkovich: I think that’s where he got his creative sense. And you remember back then, and I know one of your best friends, Sonny Jurgensen, I mean, you know, a lot of the Redskins that stayed in the area. You don’t see that with pro sports so much any more where somebody spends their career with the team, and then after they leave the team they stay in the community. And we were very fortunate to have Pete in our community.
Andy Ockershausen: Tell me about it.
Bob Milkovich: Both in broadcast, in WMAL, and then he went to commercial real estate.
Andy Ockershausen: I remember that.
Bob Milkovich: And you know, I was in commercial real estate with Oliver Carr, and Pete and I would get together and have coffee, and you know …
Andy Ockershausen: I used to see you guys at meetings and things. One of the things that I felt was so important was the loyalty we had to the company and to … A lot of people left when I left, Bob. It just happens. It’s called maturity, things change, I went to another world. And the people that worked here went and left, Ernie, you know, they all didn’t want to be here any more. Because the magic was gone. I wasn’t the magic. Everybody was.
Leader of the Magic
Bob Milkovich: You might say that, but you were the leader of the magic.
Andy Ockershausen: That could be.
Bob Milkovich: Credit where credit’s due. The people were an integral part of it. You know Janice, I mentioned you know, Tricia Zegarelli, and Cheryl Godfrey. Jefferey Myers, and Mike Evans, and-
Andy Ockershausen: You remember their names!
Bob Milkovich: Yeah. Here I am, 30 or 40 … I remember everybody, you know. And they had such a-
Andy Ockershausen: John Matthews is still here!
Bob Milkovich: John Matthews, it was so nice to see him today. All of those people truly impacted my life, you know, Andy. I learned a little bit of something from everybody-
Andy Ockershausen: Everybody, right.
Bob Milkovich: … and I tried to take all the good stuff and put it in the blender, and drink from that.
Andy Ockershausen: Well you’ve done a great job, Bob. You’ve had a wonderful career, and I hope that you’re as successful as you have been, because Linda needs you obviously, or she wouldn’t have hired you.
Bob Milkovich: Well, with Linda’s successes … You know, not being a success is not an option. I know that’s a double negative, but you know. The pressure’s on, and it’s, you know, some big shoes to fill.
Andy Ockershausen: I’ll never forget one time Brotman redid his office and didn’t use Linda.
Bob Milkovich: Oh my God! Oh, my God.
Andy Ockershausen: I’ll never forget that. Oh, was she mad! Oh! Oh, she was furious. She should have been. He didn’t even think about it.
Bob Milkovich: Well you know it’s funny, with Charlie, with all his pictures of celebrities on the wall, it might have taken, you know, a year just to get the pictures down.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh my God. He didn’t miss anybody, did he? Oh, my God.
Bob Milkovich: No. He was just, what an outstanding guy.
Andy Ockershausen: He’s still in our life, and we love him.
Bob Milkovich: Yes. He’s . . .
Andy Ockershausen: We love you too, Milko. You’re a big part of WMAL’s success, and all those years have changed you and changed me, and changed Tony. Tony’s now . . . I remember going to a golf tournament somewhere, I said “Who’s that guy with Tony Renaud?” It was … What’s his name told you about it. He adopted somebody else. He used to adopt celebrities.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Oh, Fred Funk. Was it Fred Funk?
Andy Ockershausen: No, Fred Couples.
Janice: Fred Couples. Yeah.
Bob Milkovich: Freddy Couples. Freddy Couples.
Andy Ockershausen: Freddy Couples.
Bob Milkovich: Yeah. Yeah that’s true.
Andy Ockershausen: Freddy Couples. That’s his new man. It was.
Bob Milkovich: Oh, they’re good buddies, and you know Tony, as I said-
Andy Ockershausen: Tony picked them up, baby.
Bob Milkovich: … the way relationships, and I’m never surprised … It’s funny when people drop names. You know, it’s kinda name-dropping. But with Tony, if he mentions a name, he really knows that person. And he has a relationship with them. It’s not a bunch of hooey, you know, he really does.
Andy Ockershausen: You know, Bob, you and I grew up in the era. Nobody was bigger than Frank Sinatra. Nobody. And Tony was right there.
Bob Milkovich: Oh yeah. Oh yeah.
Tony Renaud and Sinatra & Friends
Andy Ockershausen: You know he had a show, what was it called, Sinatra & Friends?
Bob Milkovich: Sinatra & Friends.
Andy Ockershausen: He had jackets made. I had the jacket made Sinatra and Friend. And Janice and I went to Dublin for Harden and Weaver for St. Patty’s day weekend, and I was wearing my jacket, and we went on a train out to Dublin, and we walk into a pub and it’s a wedding party going on. They saw my jacket. They thought I was with Frank. So we didn’t change them. See, I said “I know Frank very well. He’s not here. He’s back at the hotel.” Remember they took us into the party?
Bob Milkovich: Did you ask them like “Can we get a table for four right over here in the corner?”
Andy Ockershausen: There was only two of us! I mean they just had all these Irish men, they went nuts to think we were connected with Frank. All of it because of Tony Renaud.
Bob Milkovich: Yeah.
Milkovich Serves UMD via University System, Maryland Foundation
Andy Ockershausen: It’s been a wonderful session with you, Milko. I wish you nothing but complete success. You already had it. I don’t know what more you can do. But you got a lot of money, baby. I hope you’re sending some to Maryland.
Bob Milkovich: Absolutely. You know, I do serve in my capacity on the University System, Maryland Foundation, so.
Andy Ockershausen: I know, you’re one of the-
Bob Milkovich: I’d like to give back where I can. That’s something else-
Andy Ockershausen: McMillen on that with you?
Bob Milkovich: He’s not on that, but I do talk to Tom about Maryland.
Andy Ockershausen: Tom is in something, I know.
Bob Milkovich: Yeah, he’s-
Andy Ockershausen: He’s been on Our Town.
Bob Milkovich: Yeah. But, you know it’s-
Andy Ockershausen: What a great guy.
Bob Milkovich: Well he was quite a talent, and you know, there’s a guy who’s had an outstanding career in many different aspects, so.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh yeah, he had. Well Bob Milkovich, thank you for being you, and thank you for being on Our Town. I know you’re gonna be great with Linda. Let’s stay in touch.
Bob Milkovich: Well I just have so much love and respect for Andy, and you, and Janice. I just am so happy to be here and to be a part of your life for … I don’t even want to say how many years, just too many years, but it’s been so much fun. It really has.
Andy Ockershausen: 40.
Bob Milkovich: About 40.
Andy Ockershausen: . . . years.
Bob Milkovich: Yeah, yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: Those were the good old days, Bobby. Then there are the good old days today. This is Andy Ockershausen. This is Our Town with Bob Milkovich.
Announcer: You’ve been listening to Our Town, Season 4, presented by GEICO, our hometown favorite, with your host, Andy Ockershausen. New Our Town episodes are released each Tuesday and Thursday. Drop us a line with your comments or suggestions. See us on Facebook, or visit our website at OurTownDC.com. Our special thanks to Ken Hunter, our technical director, and WMAL Radio in Washington, DC. And thanks to GEICO. 15 minutes can save you 15% or more on car insurance.