Monday, October 6, 2014

Grand Rapids Radio: PD Eric O'Brien Leaves WSNX

Eric O'Brien
Eric O'Brien's 15 years on Grand Rapids' airwaves ended on Friday, and on Monday, he'll join MLive Media Group as the company's director of marketing, a hire that Nick Dionne, senior director of sales and marketing at MLive, says should be a perfect fit.

"Eric is a market leader," Dionne said. "We couldn't be happier to welcome his vision, personality and unique context to the forefront of MLive Media Group's marketing efforts."

O'Brien, whose real name is Eric Hultgren, has served as program director for WSNX 104.5 FM, owned by iHeartMedia in West Michigan as well as digital content director for West Michigan.

"It doesn't really fit on a business card," he said with a laugh.

Since 1999, he's been afternoon host at WSNX, which has a long track record as the No. 1 station among 18-34 year-old listeners in West Michigan.

In part because no other station went head-to-head and toe to toe with WSNX's Top 40 format. Competitors WGRD-FM's alternative rock format and the former WKLQ's album-oriented rock left space available for the station that identified itself as "Continuous Hit Music."

His first job in West Michigan radio was running commercials between West Michigan Whitecaps games. Soon he was at WOOD Radio behind the scenes as a producer.

In 1998, he became DJ Michelle McCormick's sidekick on "I-96" as the former WVTI-FM (96.1) was known. That's when Hultgren began using "O'Brien" as his on-air name.

The bug bite took and O'Brien stuck with radio, moving over to WSNX, which Clear Channel Media acquired it in 1999.

The radio business has changed tremendously during his career, but he thinks the industry still has a bright future ahead.

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