One of Seattle’s Best — Hubbard’s Marc Kaye

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Marc Kaye is the Market Manager for Hubbard Radio in Seattle. He’s also been chosen as one of Radio’s Best Managers for 2017 and will be featured in the October 9 issue of Radio Ink Magazine, along with a small group of radio’s other top managers. Kaye runs a five-station cluster for Hubbard in Seattle, leading and managing over 100 employees.

Kaye is celebrating his 44th year in the radio business, 38 of those years have been as a manager. He’s been a Local Sales Manager, General Sales Manager, Station Manager, General Manager, and now Market Manager. His first job in radio was as an AE for Susquehanna. While he was selling he was also making money on the side doing freelance sports broadcasting. He was the radio voice for the St. John’s University basketball team for eight years doing color and play-by-play.

Kaye has worked for some or radio’s great companies, Susquehanna Radio, Gannett Co., Sandusky Radio, and now, he says he’s saved the best for last, Ginny Morris and Hubbard Radio. The radio stations Marc Kaye is responsible for are KQMV FM, KVRQ FM, KRWM FM, KIXI AM, and KKNW AM.

Here’s our extended interview with Hubbard’s Marc Kaye, one of the Best Managers in Radio today.

Radio Ink: How have you been able to achieve the success you have so far in radio?
Marc Kaye: I have been very lucky to have worked at great radio stations with some unbelievable radio people. Dave Kennedy and I grew up in this business together, he on the programming side while I was learning the sales end. We all know what great things Dave has accomplished so I guess he may have taught me many of the things I know, but, I guess, not necessarily everything he knew. From those early days, with Lou Faust and Art Carlson at Susquehanna, I then started cutting my teeth on the programming side working next to Scott Shannon, Mason Dixon, Steve Rivers, John Lander, Rick Dees, Alan Burns, Guy Zapoleon, Steve Smith, Mike Donovan, some of the greatest programming minds in our business. This really gave me a great perspective of both ends of the business. The total respect for what it takes to succeed on both the sales and programming sides.

Radio Ink: Who mentored you, and what did they do to help you succeed?
Marc Kaye: Lou Faust, who spent a lot of time on the rep side and local radio side, was the one who put me on the right track as to how to manage. His leadership skills were tremendous and he was always willing to point me in the right direction. He helped me understand the sales process and made sure I learned to respect all the departments that make up the infrastructure of local radio. Pete Schulte, who first hired me in Tampa, Florida, was also a great positive influence. As I mentioned, I have been extremely lucky to have worked with the very best in radio programming. Steve Rivers on three different occasions had the single most programming influence on me. He demanded perfection, from every song we played to the content we put out, to the way we promoted ourselves and to the impact we had on the communities we served.

Radio Ink: What do you expect from the people you manage?
Marc Kaye: One of the most important things for me to do is to find out what the most important expectations each of our employees have for themselves. MBWA, manage by walking around, is nothing new, but I have seen managers that are butt-locked to their office chairs. I have no idea how they can manage that way and certainly there is no way I would have any fun doing that. One of the guys I admire a lot these days is P.J. Fleck, the new head coach at the University of Minnesota. It’s all about creating a winning environment where our guys know they are an integral part of what we are trying to accomplish. I expect them to work hard every day, create something special and to make sure they learn to balance their business lives with their personal lives.

Radio Ink: When do you know you have a great employee who has the potential to become a manager?
Marc Kaye: When you work with someone and you see them in action and then you see the sparkle in their eyes. They are smart, clever, creative, and have an insatiable appetite to do great at what they are currently doing, while having this unbelievable passion to move forward and get better and better. Not all great employees make great managers, but great managers can help make great employees. When you see that person that wants to be an educator, a coach, a cheerleader, you can simply smell it in the air. After doing this for a pretty long time, it’s just like finding a great piece of fruit my friend, you can just smell it.

The Hubbard Seattle Team

Radio Ink: What is the number one challenge you face every day as a manager, and how are you overcoming it?
Marc Kaye: If you have ever managed a cluster in a major market, you look forward to days with only one challenge. That is precisely why it is so exciting to be a market manager in radio today. We are constantly challenged. We are challenged from every side of the business we manage. You can never rest on what you accomplished yesterday because today will bring many new challenges. However, it is no different today than it has been for many many years; the single most important thing we do every day is managing our staff. While there are times it can be exhausting, it is easily the most rewarding. Ratings, cost per points, new listening options, these challenges are things we can conquer with the right plan and the right people. Creating a fun, winning environment is the key to success.

Radio Ink: Tell us what your biggest/most proud moment at the station or cluster was over the past 12 months.
Marc Kaye: When you manage a cluster, it’s a lot like having many kids. Wouldn’t it be great if Johnny, Mary, and Fred all came home with great report cards at the same time just one time! Getting our three FMs positioned for greatness from both a programming/ratings and sales/revenue standpoint is always a challenge. With Hubbard Radio believing in the product end of our business so vehemently, we have worked hard to have the day when all our report cards are solid. We still have work to do, we always have work to do, but with the group we have assembled here in Seattle, we can make greatness happen. The only thing that came close is when my grandson got his first little league hit. Come to think of it, that was pretty awesome.

Radio Ink: What does it take to be a strong and successful manager in radio today?
Marc Kaye: Surround yourself with great people. We hire tall, we hire short. We hire experienced, we hire inexperienced. We hire big, we hire small. We hire young, we hire not so young. But the one thing we no longer do, is hire stupid. I love to mentor, I love to teach, but I gave up trying to make stupid people smart a long time ago. When we look to hire, we may not always hire the person with the most impressive resume or job history but we always look for that special characteristic that will help us move forward to achieving our goals. You may think it’s a bit hokie and a little summer camp, but like P.J. Fleck says, “Row the boat.”

Reach out and congratulate Marc on being one of Radio’s Best Managers at mkaye@hbi.com

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