This past Saturday, colleagues and close friends gathered for a “Celebration of Life” for Lisa McKay Blake. It was an informal gathering and a toast. Friends gathered at the two-hour event at Oak & Dagger Public House in Raleigh to share laughs, stories, and memories about a person that made a mark on many lives. McKay passed away earlier this month after a short battle with cancer. Her close friends submitted this piece to Radio Ink about the event this past weekend.
The room was filled with memorabilia, multiple radio broadcast awards, and representations of Lisa’s personal passions — her love for animals and the beach. A video produced by two of her former colleagues was shared, which perfectly summed up Lisa’s career dating back to her time at Q94 in Richmond as Program Director and radio personality. It concluded with pictures of Lisa from just two weeks ago as VP of Programming at Curtis Media Group and radio afternoon personality at 94.7 WQDR.
Lisa McKay had an incredible passion for radio, a strong work ethic, a heart for her community, listeners, and animals, a love for mentoring young talent, and encouragement for young artists in the music industry. Two of Lisa’s favorite sayings were “How can I make your day better?” and “I try to approach each day with an attitude of gratitude.” Lisa left quite a legacy with the number of lives she touched and she truly “lived like she was dying.” Her friends know she would not want them to dwell in sadness — she would tell them to “just have fun!”
The toast at the end of the evening was “To Lisa — She is loved, she is missed and she will always be remembered.”
Lisa McKay received the Country Music Association award for Large Market of the Year for WQDR at the height of her career this past October in Nashville. She’s been recognized many times as one of the top program directors by Radio Ink magazine, including this year. McKay led WQDR to recognition as the CMA large market station of the year three times: 2011, 2014 and 2017, as well as the Academy of Country Music large market station of the year in 2009 and 2011. She won her own ACM award for Large Market Personality of the Year in 2013. WQDR was also recognized as large market station of the year by the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters in 2014.