Monday, April 27, 2015

NM Radio: Personality Mike McKay Retires From On-Air Show

Mike McKay
On April 1, veteran radio personality Mike McKay stepped away from the microphone after a 40-year on-air radio career, working at 13 radio stations in 11 markets. For the past 11 years, McKay has co-hosted the KVLC 101.1 FM 101 Gold morning show with K.C. Counts, the top-rated morning show in the market.

McKay and Counts began hosting the morning show on April 1, 2004. During their tenure, the show was consistently a top-rated morning show in the market, which prided itself on audience interaction.

McKay told the Las Cruces Sun-News,  he took some time off last Christmas, and began looking back at his 40 years on the air.  He decided it was time to pass the torch, step back and begin developing the talent.

McKay's career started in Lehighton, PA on a thousand watt daytimer.  After short stints at Top 40s in Lehighton, Allentown, Pa., and Hartford, Conn., the Brooklyn native ended up on the air at the most famous radio station in the world—77 WABC in New York City.

"I was in the business about five years at that time," McKay said. "And I landed on the No. 1 station in market number 1. Working at WABC had always been my dream, of course ."

"I was hired as a full-time swing guy — it was a full-time job, I had a Saturday and a Sunday show, and I'd be the first guy called if they needed a shift covered," he said.

Even though McKay only had regular shifts two days a week, the move to WABC doubled the salary he was making in Hartford.

After WABC flipped from Top40 to Talk,  McKay stayed as a staff announcer.

"I got a raise. I'd come in at 10 a.m. and leave at noon," McKay laughed. "I was reading commercial scripts when they needed me to, but mostly I just stood around in front of a microphone for a couple hours, waiting for someone to hand me something to read."

McKay left after a couple of years, because he didn't find it fulfilling.

From 1986 to 1997, McKay and his family moved around the country. He found jobs in Salt Lake City, Indianapolis, Detroit and Rochester, N.Y., before ending up in El Paso.

In 2004, he had several conversations with his current business partner Mike Smith, now general manager of Bravo Mic Communications, who wanted to talk about 101 Gold.

"The station was owned by a group of local investors," McKay said. "We ended up buying 101 Gold, and that's how Bravo Mic was born. We closed the deal on January 5, 2005."

KVLC 101.1 FM (100 Kw) Red=60dBu Local Coverage Area
The company would later acquire three more signals: 99.5, which was KROL at the time and now KXPZ, and later KMVR 104.9 FM Magic 105 and KOBE 1450 AM.  McKay will continue to  oversee programming and creative development for Bravo Mic Communications.

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