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Lisa Miller - "How I Got Into Radio"

Saga's Steve Goldstein

6-28-2013

When I started MBM, one of the first National Program Directors I met was Steve Goldstein. In the 1980s, Saga was an outstanding company to work for and Steve was a genius at finding great talent. Steve was smart: He wanted to hire 100K talent for 30K. For every opening Steve would tell you “money was not an issue,” and then when it came time to offer the talent a position he would quote you 30K! I would always laugh, because Steve had Bergdorf taste but preferred a Walmart budget wherever possible. The fact that he treated his stations with kid gloves and gave them the best talent to win was a tribute to his ability to spot great talent. As the years progressed, Steve realized he might have to pay a bit more to have his dreams met; there is not a Saga station out there with marginal talent -- only the best for Steve Goldstein. And that’s how Steve continues to operate, hiring only the best for his company.

And now, in his own words, here's how Executive VP Saga Communications Steve Goldstein got into radio…

I grew up in the northern suburbs of New York listening to plenty of great radio. Dan Ingram on WABC was magic. Yes, I wrote him and received a terrific and encouraging note back. I listened to everything from WNEW and William B. Williams (my mother’s favorite) to the progressive sound of Roscoe on WOR-FM. Format changes, air personality changes, new jingle packages. All really good stuff. And yes, let’s get the “radio-dork” factor out of the way --  I had a studio in my bedroom.

At Mamaroneck High School, we were one of the few schools at the time with a TV studio and, at the urging of the school’s principal, I pioneered a daily morning show – "MHS Information." Dual anchors, over-the-shoulder graphics -- we looked damn good. This led to an invitation to produce a radio show for high school students on Sunday nights at the commercial station in nearby New Rochelle, NY -- WVOX (Vox Populi -- the voice of the people). I think we were on air right before Garner Ted Armstrong and "The World Tomorrow." I produced and hosted “Young Westchester,” which featured reporters from about 10 regional schools.

The station’s program director Mark Mason was terrific. Mark would go on to program WMCA, WFAN, ESPN Radio, and WINS among others and was a tremendous influence. I hung out at the station all the time, picked up some part-time hours playing Vicki Carr and Al Martino (look them up) records. During my senior year in high school, the afternoon shift opened up and Mark asked me to host it. So “Steve Gold” was on the air! I joined the union and made $3.75 an hour playing the MOR hits and running “comprehensive news from Mutual Radio” -- “Jim Croce died today in a plane crash. He was 30 years old…”  WVOX’s format was a precursor to today’s radio: “Play all of the commercial and then it’s okay to play a song.”

I went on to college in Ithaca, New York, and “jocked” on WTKO, a great Top 40 station that I am proud to say our company now owns. After college I worked for NBC on development of a network called “The Source” and later anchored news for WNEW-FM, New York, when Mel Karmazin roamed the halls. I moved to the ABC Radio network, where I was their youngest news anchor ever. Thank goodness the news director recognized my desire to be in programming (and my on-air limitations) and helped me get the job as Assistant Program Director at the legendary WABC, New York, under Jay Clark. There, I not only got to meet the great Dan Ingram but also to directly work with him and so many other great personalities, including Howard Cosell, Ron Lundy,  Howard Hoffman, and Ross and Wilson on a daily basis.

Email Steve at sjgoldstein@sagacom.com

Lisa Miller is the President of Miller Broadcast Management in Chicago. She's also one of Radio Ink's Most Influential Women in Radio. Miller can be reached at Lisa@millerbroadcast.com or 312-454-1111. So, how did you get into radio? We'd love to hear the story about why you're passionate about radio.



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