Copied with permission from Prophet Systems Inc. Soon to be released to: Radio World, Radio Guide, BE Radio, Inside Radio, All Access, featured in the NAB Vegas booth Spring 2007....
Will Payne comes from a unique family. He is the third generation to be in radio. His grandfather started a station in Cushing OK. And his dad started one in Edmond, OK. (In fact, some of Will’s earliest memories are of his dad’s station, which had studios in their home.) These days, Will’s father owns 5 stations, part of the Payne Radio Group, and Will is the Program Director and General Manager at KITX (K95.5) in Hugo, a country music station. He also is co-host, along with Barry Diamond, of the station’s morning show, the Morning Circus. (If you are not familiar with Hugo, it’s the winter home for many circus performers, so the name of the show is quite appropriate!)
K95.5 is all about serving the community, Will says. He moved to Hugo about 11 years ago and really loves the area. Unfortunately, he says, the community doesn’t always realize what a great place it is, and that’s what K95.5 hopes to change. “We are trying to increase community pride,” he explains. The community can certainly be proud of Will and Barry-- they are constantly doing their part to reach out to the audience, doing the little things that too many stations these days no longer do. “We have a birthday list,” says Will. But he goes on to say that they don’t just read names over the air. “We call people and wish them a happy birthday.” They are very promotion-minded. K95.5 maintains a strong presence at local events, as well as giving listeners a chance to win tickets to concerts by their favorite country stars. Will and Barry also do a lot of public service, helping numerous local charities. For example, they were recently given an award from the Governor of Oklahoma for their work helping people with disabilities. Will and Barry have done the morning show together for the past six years, and their ability to entertain the local audience has won them several awards from the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters. And the station has also been nominated for the Marconi Award from the National Association of Broadcasters.
Given that Will is such a busy guy, he is glad he found out about NexGen. “We use it for all of our stations,” he says. “We have stations that broadcast different formats, but NexGen has the flexibility to make them sound good.” Thanks to NexGen, Will can program each station from Hugo and have it sound live and local. He also uses it for the sales office in Paris, TX, which is 20 miles from Hugo. “It lets our sales people do commercials there and then just send them to us. It’s very easy to learn how to use NexGen. No matter what we ask it to do, it just works.” Soon, he plans to start podcasts, and of course, he’ll be relying on NexGen for that as well.
The long hours don’t seem to bother Will. “It’s great that I can start off my day by doing something I really love,” he says when asked whether it’s difficult to do a morning show, be the PD and the GM. And what makes his job easier is he is surrounded by a staff that is as devoted to the station as he is. “We have an incredible staff. All of us here live radio. It’s not just a job for us.”