Bruce Demps started his radio career in sales with WIVY Y103 in Jacksonville back in 1983, when it was one of four stations in the market owned by Infinity Broadcasting. He went on to work for Clear Channel and Radio One, among other companies. Our last interview with Bruce was five years ago, when he had just left Radio One, so we were scratching our heads in the back offices of Radio Ink wondering where Bruce was today and what he was doing. So he told us about his long and winding road through the radio industry and beyond. And we wanted to share his story with you because we know so many of you can relate.
I was promoted at the Infinity stations to LSM in 1987. The station was sold two times, and the staff weathered that storm. I left under good terms and had the opportunity to become a station manager in 1990, signing on with Eagle Broadcasting, operator of a 100,000-watt FM Urban format in Kingsland, GA. Carl Venters was the management consultant. I learned a lot interacting with Carl, and we had a great run. Eventually they acquired another station that was focused on the general market and brought in another manager to oversee both stations. I decided it was not in my best interest to take what I believed to be a demotion, and we parted ways in 1993.
I had the good fortune of being able to stay employed in the same market when UNC Media offered me the VP/GM job for their combo that included WJBT-FM and heritage WZAZ-AM. We beat the hell out of my old station, and it went into bankruptcy. Jacor, through a series of moves, purchased the trombo in 1994, and I had opportunity to manage the consolidated business unit until 1995. I met Regan Henry through UNC Media, and he and Don Kidwell convinced me to move
to Memphis to manage the legendary WDIA and WHRK. Clear Channel acquired the stations in the summer of 1996, and my career with them ended with my serving as a Mid America Region SVP, overseeing 20-plus markets and 125 stations, all while living in Memphis, until leaving in late 2005.
Then I moved to Atlanta to take a corporate job with Radio One. For eight years I was responsible for seven different markets, and some of the syndicated content they provided to the industry. The requirements of the job forced me to adjust — remember, I had only worked in two markets my entire career. When my agreement ended in 2012, Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins agreed that what was next did not fit in with what I wanted personally as it related to extensive travel or relocation.
I went home, sat on the sofa, and played golf until entities as variedas Rickey Smiley, Bethune Cookman University, and other broadcast professionals sought my advice. I said no to most and only said yes when I knew it would be a good fit for me. That brings me to where I am right now, working for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
I became connected with St. Jude years ago, when I was a vice president for Clear Channel, and I fell in love with the mission of the hospital. Once you join the St. Jude family, you never want to leave. I have played in many FedEx St. Jude Golf Classics over the years and continue to volunteer with St. Jude in a variety of ways. I will always support the mission of St. Jude. I’m in awe of the amazing work St. Jude does in general, but specifically through radio. As I previously mentioned, radio is where my relationship with St. Jude began, and I’m so proud of how the radio industry has embraced the St. Jude mission.
My official role is radio development consultant. I’m also involved in other field operation activities, including dinners, galas, and golf events across the country. I can be reached at [email protected] The good that is being done through the power of radio in communities across the country cannot be overstated.