10 Questions with ... Steve Murry
July 7, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Been a part of the broadcasting industry for about 35 years and I'm proud to say that most of it has been with the same organization from the very start. I've worked every daypart and have experience in every area of the operation from on-air to engineering to installing computer networks for the stations' daily operation.
1) You just found out your real identity; what is the story?
Wow! How much space do I have? I'll try to keep it as short as possible cause this is a life-long experience. I was about three or four years old when a woman took me from my grandfather's front yard and I never saw my family again. I remember doing a lot of traveling with this woman and then settling in a little town on Long Island, NY called Bayside in Queens. We later moved to Chicago where I spent most of my childhood and young adult life. From there I joined the United States Marine Corps and spent a year in Vietnam. Upon my return to Chicago I had more questions about my identity and fewer answers. So I went on with life and enrolled in college and relocated to Huntsville, AL. It was there that I got married and took a trip out of country without the document needed to verify my identity -- my birth certificate. I was detained by Puerto Rican authorities and spent hours detained with more questions about my identity than anyone should ever have to take on. A local newspaper got hold of my story, since I was a local radio personality, and wanted to print it. It was then that my story was picked up on the TV news magazine, "A Current Affair," which contacted me to see if they could do my story. Once I agreed, they hired investigators and research people to help along with the people from my Congressional Office and the State Department helping me locate my birth certificate so that I could get a passport. Two years later, I discovered that I had a family, got my birth certificate, my passport and as you can imagine, my whole life changed. There is more to my story but not enough space.
2) Hell, this is more interesting than radio, by the way, how has this changed your life in radio?
It's made me more aware of people outside of my little radio world. Made me see how important we are to each other which gives me a better view of what's important to our listening audience.
3) How did you get your start in broadcasting?
I was fresh back from Vietnam and I was driving a "hack" -- that is a cab for all you lay people. I had a regular customer that I got to know fairly well and one day I asked her what she did. She told me that she was night-time jock for the Loop (WLUP), the powerhouse Rock station. Trudy Fisher was her name and she prompted me to try my hand at broadcast school. I did and she kinda took me under her wing and later she advised me to continue on to Columbia College, where I majored in radio/TV broadcasting.
4) Because of how you got into the business, do you take special interest in young personalities?
Yes I do, because it is very important for radio to develop talent in order to keep it a strong and a viable medium.
5) Where was you first commercial radio job after graduating from Columbia College and how did it go?
Before graduation I was recruited during career day at Columbia for a job in Madison, AL. They made me an offer I couldn't refuse. It was the best and worst decision I ever made.
6) So when did you start programming and how did it come about?
In 1984, I began working at WEUP Radio in Huntsville, AL. In 1987, the current programmer just up and left and I was thrown into programming. Flying by the seat of my pants with a computer program that I had to learn overnight and no MD turned out great! I've been with this station ever since.
7) You have had such a life in and outside of radio; who were your mentors and what did you learn from each?
The only real mentor I had was Sam Weaver ... you know that guy, don't ya? I've looked up to a number of different people. One who turned out to be a good friend of mine from Columbia College, and Walt "Baby" Love, who was also a brother in arms, a Vietnam veteran as well. To add to my list was Al Parker, affectionately known as "Big Al," who was head of the radio department during the time I was a student. The only other person who has had any impact on my life in radio is the owner of the station where I currently work, Mr. Hundley Batts. He's been like a big brother to me; he is the one who showed me the business side (sales) of radio. Thank you, I had fun doing this and I really appreciate the opportunity.
8) What is unique about Huntsville?
Its diversity, its location, the climate and it's just a great place to settle in and raise children.
9) Could you give us your take on the future of radio?
The future of radio is going to depend on getting back to basics. If not the future of radio looks very dim to me. Community involvement, breaking new music and developing new talent all play a very important factor in the future of radio.
10) What things do you love about radio and if there anything that most people don't realize about the industry?
One of the things that I love about radio is that no two days are ever the same. I've never had a boring day. Don't get me wrong it's not all fun and games. It's a lot of hard work and planning.
Are there some things about you that would surprise people?
Black belt Taekwondo, Certified scuba diver, loves motorcycles and horses.
What things in general concern you?
World Peace, Injustice and Equality, and Global Warming.
Could you share what you think is the most important lesson that radio people need to realize?
Get your own headphones because they are your tools of the trade and always write it down and rehearse it before you open the mic. Be sure to thank those that have helped you in any capacity. And I want to share what a wonderful wife I have ... thank you, honey, I love you for your help typing this masterpiece.