By Jon Holiday ~ Managing Partner Radio Consulting Services
Last November Country radio mourned the loss of veteran programmer and consultant Bob McKay who died at the age of 75 from complications of Parkinson’s disease.
McKay had a long tenure programming WKIS Miami for 15 years. He transferred to WXTU Philadelphia, where during his tenure the station enjoyed ratings success and was nominated and won many industry awards, including four CMA Major Market Station of the Year awards, five ACM Major Market Station of the Year awards and was a finalist for a Marconi Award. McKay was inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame in 2009.
From the day I arrived as an on-air personality at 99.9 Kiss Country, Bob McKay was full of information and history about everything to do with Country radio, and I took in anything and everything he was willing to share. McKay was someone who would freely share his knowledge with up-and-coming programmers. He was impressed with my eagerness to learn as well as my knowledge of programming, so he offered me the position of Program Director at the legendary WQAM, Miami.
Due to the market’s tenuous feelings about Country, Bob taught me the “What you don’t play won’t hurt you” philosophy. He felt that “It’s better to make a mistake on what you don’t play than on what you do play. I believe in being safe. Our 16-20 records must fit the station’s sound. That’s where the sensitivity of knowing your market comes in.”
During my time working at WKIS and WQAM, McKay brought the idea of holding a chili cookoff. The owners wanted a big event they could sell sponsorships to and McKay recalled the chili cookoffs put on by his last station in San Diego. The first Kiss Country chili cookoff featured The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The Kiss Country Chili Cook-Off has become one of the longest-running music festivals and celebrated 35 years in South Florida with over 20,000 country music fans in 2019.
As a programmer, Bob was demanding and required the best from his staff. I’ll always be grateful to him for hiring me. Just know that some of the Country radio programming “mojo” that I have obtained and utilize on behalf of our Country station clients came from Bob. I will always remember him and his family fondly. Thank-you Bob McKay!
About Radio Consulting Services
For nearly a decade, Radio Consulting Services has provided programming, music, marketing and promotional direction to stations all over the United Stations and Canada.
Radio Consulting Services is a multi-format consulting and programming services company advising stations in various formats on growing audience.
For more information on how Radio Consulting Services can help your company gain more listeners, achieve higher ratings and grow revenue, contact us.