10 Questions with ... John McGue
August 31, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Got started right out of high school in 1983 on-air, and have done some sales and management. I was MD at WTTS/Indianapolis from 1989 to 1995, and was there when they flipped to Triple A.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
I was a huge fan of WLS/Chicago in the '70s -- that had a huge influence, I'm sure. I was never a huge record collector, but I was an avid radio geek.
2. Compare working at non-comm radio vs. commercial radio.
We have WAY more freedom here at WNKU; it really is about the music and not about the dollar. That's such an overused cliché, but really rings true here. Non-comm really does break new artists, and that never gets old.
3. With the two added signals from a while back, how has this increased the reach of the station?
Yes, tremendously. You can drive from Richmond, IN to Charleston, WV, almost 300 miles and four states, and not miss a thing on WNKU. That's insane.
4. You have recently revamped the music for the station; give us some more details concerning that.
Like most heritage Non-Comms, we weren't seeing the growth. Like any business or arts organization, you must grow or you are done. We increased rotation to build our brand. For years, you would hear a great song once or twice and never hear it again.
5. How do you feel about the current climate of music for your new mix?
I love it, we played most of these artists before. We are playing them more than we did and with more consistency. It's been great.
6. So far, what has been the listener reaction?
It's been more positive than negative. Just today we had several people become new members and a few others triple their membership. It's not fund drive time, by the way. If you don't like change, you will hate extinction.
7. Liz Felix has recently joined the station as APD. You must be excited having her onboard.
Liz is awesome. She's a rock star at the format, and we are thrilled to have her on board. Liz has really jumped in and tackled a lot of our work load.
8. How is it working with Sean O'Mealy's as the new GM?
We have similar radio backgrounds in sales and programming. I plan on learning a lot from this guy. He's dynamic, and has this energy that WNKU can use. We are very much looking forward to the next chapter at WNKU.
9. What is your biggest challenge at the station?
A small staff -- we had a super-small staff before, but add 13,400 watts and 35,000 square miles, and we have a much smaller staff. There is a lot of work to go around.
10. What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
Most would say technology and all the new ways to get music. I'd disagree. If you keep it real and live like WNKU -- and lots of us out there are doing that -- you will be fine. Wall Street and bad management are the biggest problem facing radio, but that horse left the stall a long time ago. WNKU is the only station in Cincinnati that hasn't changed call letters, owners or frequency in our 30 years of existence. Now we are the biggest FM in Cincinnati.
Last non-industry job:
I worked in a grocery sack factory in Marion, IN in 1984 -- that sucked.
First record ever purchased:
Probably AC/DC's "Back in Black;" not really Triple A, but still one of the best records ever.
John Mellencamp, of course; it's required viewing by state law in Indiana.
Favorite band of all-time:
Not the Beatles, they have enough fans. I'm a Stones guy anyway.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
Besides puppies and long walks on the beach, I still have two kids at home and that keeps me pretty busy.