From Programming To Management. Here’s How You Do It.


It’s clear Journal Communications and Scripps knew they had a gem in Beverly Brannigan. Brannigan made it to the Market Manager level from the programming side, which is something we do not see a lot of in our business. Since 2014, Brannigan has been the Vice President and General Manager for the Scripps radio cluster in Wichita. She’s also the Vice President of Programming for the entire Scripps radio group. And, of course, she’s on Radio Ink‘s 2018 Most Influential Women in Radio list which comes out this Monday, but only in our print and digital issues (SUBSCRIBE HERE). Our world-famous lists are no longer available online.

Brannigan’s career began at WOKQ, Dover, New Hampshire. That was followed up by 20 years of programming at the first-ever FM Country radio station in Des Moines — KJJY.

In 2001, Brannigan joined Journal Broadcast Group and served as Operations Manager in Wichita for a decade before the company named her VP of Radio Programming in 2012. She was also Operations Manager for Journal’s Milwaukee stations 620 WTMJ and 94.5 The Lake.

Brannigan returned to the Wichita cluster after being named General Manager in 2014 by Journal and she continues in that role today for the E.W. Scripps Company.

Brannigan was inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame in 2012 and coached three winning Country Music Association Broadcast Personalities of the Year, as well as having programmed KFDI to a Station of the Year win in 2003.

Here’s our extended interview with one of radio’s Most Influential — Beverly Brannigan.

Radio Ink: Tell us what you’re responsible for every day?
Beverlee Brannigan: I lead five stations in our Wichita cluster. Every day we’re working on achieving results—revenue and ratings. To that end the most important thing I’m responsible for is making sure our team is working together effectively. The other role I have is VP/Programming for our Scripps Radio group. So on any given day I’m talking strategy with our programmers across the group.

Radio Ink: You’ve been successful for decades. How have you done it?  
Beverlee Brannigan: I am focused and I’ve learned ways to eat an elephant. On most days I’m courageous. Have confidence in your abilities. There’s something you do better than everyone else; determine what it is and go leverage that. If you don’t know what your best ability is, ask your mentors and closest colleagues; they’ll tell you. Then, believe them and don’t be afraid to reach higher.

Radio Ink: We don’t see a lot of programmers become managers. How did you do that?  What did Journal and Scripps see in you that made them believe in you?
Beverlee Brannigan: If I’m honest, it was entirely by accident.  Becoming a general manager was not a goal of mine and never on my radar.  That I became one is all my boss, Steve Wexler’s, fault.  Wex saw something in me that I did not see in myself–an insight he likely had because he had taken the same path from programming to the GM’s chair, and then on to lead our radio group at Scripps.  I think he was of the belief that leadership and strategic abilities were most important, and I could learn the rest as I went.  I love working the puzzle of assembling our best team,  and aiming our efforts towards excellence far more than I ever expected.   I didn’t envision that the GM job could be fun but I have to say….most days it really is.

NOTEOur MIW list will not be released online. It will only be available to paid subscribers. Subscribe to Radio Ink in time to receive our popular Most Influential Women in Radio issue. GO HERE

Radio Ink: How do you stay on top of your game every day?  
Beverlee Brannigan: I read and I talk to smart people. I exercise daily; good for body, mind, and spirit. I learn by asking questions; it comes naturally to me. I’m probably annoyingly inquisitive. The “why” behind everything is important to me. It’s possible I’ve missed my calling as a journalist.

Radio Ink: What are you doing to make the radio industry stronger?
Beverlee Brannigan: I serve on the Country Radio Broadcasters board where our mission is education and growth. I’m also on the Kansas Association of Broadcasters board. If we’re not invested in growing our industry, who would be? It’s squarely on us.

Radio Ink: If we were able to put you on speaker phone and every radio manager was on the other end listening, what would you say to them?
Beverlee Brannigan: First, I’m going to say, “Do NOT put your phone on HOLD!”  Followed by some kind of back-and-forth silliness with a colleague on the call. These jobs are demanding—I couldn’t do this every day without humor.

Radio Ink: What do you want to see radio do better? 
Beverlee Brannigan: I’d like to see us bring more creativity and adaptability to current conditions and trends. As traditional media, federally licensed, with plenty of guidelines, it’s easy to get stuck. When I see stations taking innovative approaches to challenges I am encouraged and inspired.

Radio Ink: What one goal has eluded you so far? 
Beverlee Brannigan: Radio Lobo is the Regional Mexican station in our cluster and one of my goals has been to improve my Spanish and become fluent. I am not there. Someday. I really want to master another language.

Reach out to Bev and congratulate her on a stellar radio career at [email protected]

NOTEOur MIW list will not be released online. It will only be available to paid subscribers. Subscribe to Radio Ink in time to receive our popular Most Influential Women in Radio issue. GO HERE


  1. Any programmer who can demonstrate success for their stations should be encouraged to keep on doing that – and be rewarded for it.
    Sticking them into a corporate management position would likely be counter productive, if only because programming would suffer from the vacuum.

  2. Congratulations, great career track. I was there and did that.
    Be good for radio if more programmers moved into the GM chair.
    Content is King.


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