23 Years Running Top 10 Market. How Did He Do That?

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Earlier this week, Salem announced its Philadelphia Market Manager Russ Whitnah was retiring after 23 years leading that market for the company. Running a major market (Philadelphia is number 8) for more than two decades is an outstanding accomplishment. So, of course, we were intrigued about how Whitnah did it. And we know you always want to know more than what the press release says. So we asked him. Here’s what he had to say…

Radio Ink: Why are you retiring?
Russ Whitnah: Broadcasting has been good to me and my family. I have had the privilege of working in many markets over the past 45 years. The only down side is leaving family and friends behind. As time marches on I want to take time before it is too late with my mom and dad while they are still in good health. I look forward to hanging out with them and my brother and sister and their families. Spending time with friends I haven’t seen in decades. Enjoying hobbies. Helping out at church and putting my handyman skills to work for those who need a helping hand.

Radio Ink: Why do you believe you were so successful at managing for so long?
Russ Whitnah: Surrounding myself with good people is a huge part of it. People that not only are good at what they do but good at heart. People that are team players. When you have the right people with the right skill sets working together in an environment that recognizes and openly appreciates success all you have to do is give them the tools they need and get out of their way.

Radio Ink: What do managers need to know about succeeding in 2017 and beyond?
Russ Whitnah: You have to be willing to face the facts. Don’t sugar coat your situation. See it for what it really is. I am a big believer in the OZ Principle. You have to own it. Don’t expect your team to excel based only on inspiring accolades. Take advantage of all your assets but remember that clients respect honesty. Don’t exaggerate. Don’t over promise. Stay focused on solving the problem. Don’t worry about who gets the credit. Just do it! Deliver your client’s expectation and when possible over deliver.

Radio Ink: What would you consider one or two of your biggest successes over the years?
Russ Whitnah: Believing in our team. Everyone on the team wants to do their best. They get up in the morning wanting to have a successful day. Every manager must help them win. I have always wanted the very best for everyone I have worked with and for.

Radio Ink: What do you want the radio industry to do better?
Russ Whitnah: Get focused on delivering results not ratings. Every station has a valuable audience. Find out all you can about your listeners and then match them up with clients that would like to have them as customers. Radio is still the most cost-effective way to reach customers. Tether that with our digital and social media platforms and you will deliver.

Radio Ink: What will you miss the most?
Russ Whitnah: The smiles!

Congratulate Russ on a career well done at  russ@wfil.com

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