WAYNE JUNG TONIGHT
My broadcast career began on WSIE-FM, the Southern Illinois University campus radio station. Remarkably, I still remember the 88.7 frequency of the campus radio station where I spun jazz platters (occasionally vinyl, but usually giant 14-inch automation reels), delivered news copy and provided play-by-play of local sports.
Junior year, I ventured into St. Louis radio as a news stringer for KSD-AM and eventually found my way onto the air of my hometown station, WIBV-AM. Crop reports and funeral service arrangement notices didn't seem to be the most glamorous gigs at the time, but soon I was actually getting paid for high school football and basketball play-by-play throughout the Metro-East.
Soon thereafter I added morning DJ for WMRY-FM to my broadcast reel.
After graduation, I accepted an opportunity with Continental Cablevision of St. Louis and launched a 24-hour local origination channel broadcasting sports, talk shows, news and anything else that we could create to fill time and hopefully generate revenue.
It was a real start-up opportunity and talk about hands on.
Obviously recognizing that broadcasting was much better with money, I was thrilled when I closed St. Ann Dodge as our first advertiser (and I came to find later, one of the first local cable spot advertisers in the country) and program sponsor of Continental Cablevision Channel 3.
And then I left broadcasting, when I accepted an opportunity with Bloomer Amusement Company, a long-time southern Illinois theater chain expanding into the exploding home video rental business as BAC Video.
My new video career took off, right along with VHS, Beta and the videocassette recorder during what I affectionately refer to as my WANG CHUNG years.
Remember? Everybody have fun tonight, everybody Wayne Jung tonight...
VIDEO DID KILL THE RADIO STAR
At least for me it did.
The success of our efforts at BAC Video actually led to my leaving the St. Louis-area when I moved up the supply chain into video distribution for Sight & Sound Distributors.
Having spent five years in retail, the world of wholesale was a new adventure and one that allowed me to gain unique startup experience with Sight & Sound.
As branch manager, I opened sales and distribution facilities, ordered fixtures, furniture and supplies, and staffed both the front and back-end of our operations in Minneapolis and Louisville, making a brief stop along the way in an existing facility in Little Rock.
After a four-year whirlwind tour of the Midwest I settled in Louisville, the home of Roadrunner Video, a privately-held video chain with big aspirations of going public.
As President and Chief Operating Officer I oversaw a rapid expansion of our footprint opening new stores in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio before achieving the public offering that allowed us to move into New Jersey and Maryland, as well
Roadrunner Video allowed me to return to broadcast, on a limited scale, as I created a movie-themed magazine for distribution through our stores and a weekly radio show focusing on movies, which I hosted.
The success of our business was the people in our organization, first and foremost, but it was also an extreme touch-marketing campaign that put Roadrunner in front of the consumer everywhere, especially where and when they were having fun.
These included partnering with the Upper Deck Heroes of Baseball – Louisville All Star Weekend, bringing William Shatner to town for an in-store meet and greet, sponsoring the University of Louisville (and giving away free movie rentals to everyone in attendance when the Cardinals made a long run from scrimmage) and hosting World Wresting Entertainment events and appearances.
My favorite recollection of that time was during a local air show that we were sponsoring where I ran into a friend who proclaimed, “I just knew you’d be here! Roadrunner Video is everywhere!”
Yes, we were.
THAT THING YOU DO
The completion of our successful public offering, allowed me to pursue a few personal business opportunities during the late half of the 20th century. That sounds so strange even as I type that.
The House of Blue Smoke opened in 1997 as a boutique high-end cigar store. It combined several of my passions, in addition to the obvious one, not the least of which was the daily, one-on-one interaction with the customer.
Never satisfied with being just a single location smoke shop, I quickly partnered with Churchill Downs to launch a line of cigars using the twin spires logo (not an easy achievement to acquire the rights to such a legendary brand) and became the official cigar supplier for the Kentucky Derby.
The crowning achievement was the opportunity to participate with the historic 125th “run for the roses” by bringing a cigar roller from the Dominican Republic to roll cigars in the paddock.
Those years included a number of consulting opportunities with a wide variety of local and regional businesses, but ultimately as the new millennium dawned it became more apparent that a return to my broadcast roots was in my blood.