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MONDAY-FRIDAY: 3:00 - 6:00 PM

By Lisa McKay
September, 2010

There is a prevailing myth that a liberal arts degree won’t confer the job skills that will launch a career. Maybe I am unusually lucky, but between my bachelor’s degree in rhetoric and communications studies and four years working at the college radio station, WUVA, I found my vocation. I’ve spent the last three decades making a pretty good living doing what I love—successfully running the programming departments at radio stations.

It all started in the stairwell of Balz. I was 18 years old and it was my third day at the University. On the bulletin board there was a flyer for the college radio station WUVA looking for staff. I found my way to LeFever clutching my plaid monogrammed purse and a map, looking very much like the first-year student I was.

I started out in the news department. I loved being able to ask any question I wanted and get an answer on cassette tape then feed the packaged interview back to the station on the closest pay phone we could find.

I stayed in Charlottesville for the summer between my first and second years because I’d fallen in love. That summer, WUVA needed DJs, so I gave it a try. Thankfully that aircheck has disintegrated—much like my college relationship—but I remember my first break like it was yesterday, “93 WUVA, this is Rock ’n’ Roll letting the good times roll with the Cars.”

After four years of college radio, I had no trouble finding a low-paying job in the biz—my first paycheck was $26 dollars. I wanted to frame it, but I wanted to eat more so I cashed it. I worked in Orange and Staunton, Va., and then decided if I was going to be poor, it would be more fun at the beach, so I got a job in Nag’s Head, N.C., where not only did I do nights at Surf 106, I also served dollar breakfasts at the Holiday Inn.

About six months in, Jim Payne from WRVQ in Richmond, Va., called me while I was on the air and hired me over the phone. I started at WRVQ in 1989 at $18,000 a year plus appearances. This seemed like a fortune to me, and I was able to shop in all the aisles of the grocery store instead of just in the little bin of produce that they were selling cheap because some of it was rotten.

After 12 years at WRVQ, I had worked my way up to afternoons and program director when Clear Channel cleaned house and I was fired. That was very painful.

But you learn everything happens for a reason, and in no time I was making more money and living in Raleigh, N.C., running 94.7 QDR. Although I had never programmed a country station, I really enjoyed sitting in my car on the way into work just to find out how the songs—which are mini stories—would end.

During the past nine years, I’ve worked my way up to station manager. I’ve also added “salesperson” to my résumé and have billed more than a million dollars for my company, Curtis Media Group. QDR has won Large Market Country Station of the Year as well as other awards, and we are the top biller in North Carolina. In a couple of weeks, I am going to launch another station in Raleigh, and I owe all my success to a flyer on the bulletin board at U.Va.


By Suzanne Jalot

Dog Living Magazine
April, 2008

We knew we'd love interviewing Lisa McKay as soon as we learned what her lifelong goal is: To end pet overpopulation. She's definitely someone we want to get to know better!

A familiar voice to country music fans, McKay can be heard all across the Triangle from 3pm until 7pm on WQDR, 94.7 FM. A vegetarian and obvious animal lover, she currently lives with six delightful dogs, although she tells us she's had more.

"I've had as many as 15 dogs in the house what I was more active in the foster home program," McKay says, "Now I am down to six since I lost Carla in December, a month shy of her 20th birthday." McKay says she used to be very active in fostering dogs, and she always seemed to just hang on to the ones nobody else wanted.

Pet portraits by Katie Seitz - Phone: 919-785-0620

Her current pack consists of Buster, Butterscotch, Paco, Scooter, Lucky and Duke. "Buster is the pack leader," says McKay, "Butterscotch looks just like Buster, but is one-eighth his size and we do call him mini-me!"

Paco is a border collie mix who McKay says has a sly side, "He'd be the one cheating at the doggie poker table." Scooter is a small terrier mix who McKay says is usually stuck to her side. "We tease him because he always is dancing so we call him tiny dancer," she says. Lucky is a white dalmation-rottweiler mix who McKay picked up when she was living in Richmond. She was heartworm positive, had just given birth to a litter of pups and had a broken pelvis. We think we know how she got her name!

Finally, Duke is a large pointer mix who, because of hip dysplasia, had the balls of his hips removed when he was a puppy. "He loves to goose us," McKay says.

A life-long, self-professed "dog person," McKay says her dogs teach her how to enjoy life. "They go full tilt at everything," she says, "Eating their Purina One, playing and, my favorite, napping."

Now, what about that goal of ending pet over-population? "Pet over-population seems so easy to cure," says McKay, "Spay or neuter period." She does have a theory about why it's such a problem. "No one makes money if there is zero pet over-population so it isn't a priority for politicians," McKay explains, "We need a 'Spay Neuter Political Action Group' to make this a priority with every animal going out of a shelter." She suggests that an advertising campaign that shows shelters being forced to destroy 80% of their adoptable animals would also be helpful to bring public awareness to the issue.

McKay is certainly in a position to help educate the public. She says 86% of her listeners are pet owners. "I love when my listeners share their pet stories and pictures with me," she says.

"Experts call dogs and cats companion animals because they are just that," says McKay, "Companions and best friends for as long as they live. It's a pretty good deal for people." She says she knows achieving zero pet over-population can be done and she's seen it done in other cities. "Imagine if every pet was wanted," she says, "How wonderful their lives and ours would be."

The Spay and Neuter Clinic of Alamance County is a recently developed clinic found in Burlington. It offers low cost services for pet owners to spay or neuter their dog or cat. Rabies vaccinations will be given for the animals who do not already have one for an additional fee. The Spay and Neuter Clinic of Alamance County is committed to reducing the number of unwanted animals that come to the animal shelter each year. The health benefits for the animals are numerous and allow pet owners to actively reduce animal overpopulation in Alamance County. For more information or to make an appointment, call 336-570-6767 or visit their website.

Nearly 100,000 Americans are on on the waiting list for an organ--Too many die waiting--please sign up to be an organ donor now--your donation could save up to 50 people and as you know, you can't take it with you!  www.verybigheart.com

My Favorite Links

Mother of the Year...



this website, then type in a command and see what happens...sit, roll over, down, stand, sing, dance, shake, fetch, play dead etc. and...it's also very cute if you type in a command that's not recognized...!! Make sure you type in "Kiss" too, but do it last.


Another fun link:  click here

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