Show Us the Money

Talk about a touchy subject. Really, we had no idea. Granted, the economy is as spongy as a Twinkie, home sales are languishing, and gas prices are yo-yoing every which way. It’s no wonder some Main Liners would just as soon wear a wool turtleneck to the beach on Labor Day than tell us how much money they’re making these days.

So, did we think we’d run into some trouble corralling relevant numbers for our first-ever cover story on Main Line salaries? Of course we did (we’re not that naïve). But little did senior editor Tara Behan know she’d be barreling headfirst into a fiscal hornet’s nest.

“In an area like the Main Line, where people aren’t shy about flaunting their wealth, I was surprised by how tight-lipped everyone was,” says Behan. “I spent hours on the phone, explaining that we were writing a fun story on who makes what on the Main Line. Mostly what I got was, ‘We’re not interested,’ ‘No way,’ and ‘Absolutely not.’”

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Local TV stations refused to offer any hint of what their anchors, reporters or cameramen make. The Phillies were mum on the Phanatic’s earnings, and even that of their ball girls. A bartender in a popular local restaurant wouldn’t even speculate on how much he makes in tips per week (I’m thinking it’s at least enough to cover my daughter’s daycare tuition for a month). The litany of rejection goes on and on.

And yet, with help from our tireless research assistants, Behan managed to compile plenty of juicy information in the end—mostly via public record, 990 forms, newspaper reports and other nonverbal channels. Not especially glamorous, but it got the job done.

For those of you wondering what we make, let’s just say our four-person editorial staff’s combined salary is a good deal less than that of Comcast president Brian Roberts (which is listed in our story). You’ll have to Shane McCauleytake it from there.

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: It’s likely you’ve driven by one or two of them, but chances are you haven’t given the area’s one-room schoolhouses much thought. Those that remain have been embraced by a passionate preservationist movement detailed in this month’s feature “Class Action” by J.F. Pirro. The story is accompanied by the richly evocative photographs of Shane McCauley, whose work has appeared in Bicycling Magazine, Rolling Stone and other national publications.

Here’s to another school year.

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Our Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs Party is July 25!