Radio World: What was your first gig in radio?
Ellis Terry: Operations manager for the Chicago Boys Club radio station WCYC(FM) in 1972.
RW: What got you started down this path?
Terry: A mentor I had at the Henry Horner Boys Cub in Chicago was Bill “Butterball” Crane, who at the time worked on the air at WVON(AM) Chicago. I had the chance to visit with him a number of times, and the bug hit me then. Bill was both a trained engineer (Navy) and on air.
RW: How has the radio industry changed since you first began your career?
Terry: Everything now is segmented, and consultant driven. Used to be once you were hired at a non-union station, you did whatever was asked of you.
RW: What do you see are the most notable trends in radio?
Terry: Everything now is revenue driven and this has caused, in my opinion, a lot of stations to neglect engineering. A lot of times we talk to customers about new transmitters two to as much as five years before the actual purchase is made, and then they — for the most part — needed it yesterday.
I realize this is a major expense, but the other side of the coin is this major expense is the major reason for helping generate revenues. It costs money to be off the air, but usually this is one of the neglected departments because of the expenses involved.
RW: How do you think broadcast will be different in the coming years?
Terry: Hard for me to predict, but I don’t see much of a future in over the air radio unless technically some new viable method of transmissions of this type happens.
RW: What’s next for you?
Terry: At the moment, my plan is to relax with the wife and enjoy retirement.
RW:What are you looking forward to in retirement?
Terry: Trying to make up for lost time with family.
RW: Any advice for your colleagues or those just starting broadcast work?
Terry: Learn to take time and smell the roses, as well as staying educated about the job and always do the best job you can. If you feel you cannot, know that it’s time to move on, rather than going through the motions.