SYRACUSE -- After three years outside of radio, Don Wagner is back in the biz. Wagner, who some may know by the name Don Christi, is the new General Manager for Leatherstocking Media Group's properties in Syracuse, Oneida and Utica. He replaces Judy Kelly, who left for a new gig in Florida last month.
Wagner started at Leatherstocking on January 31. "As strange as this sounds, it really is great to be back in the business after being out for almost three years," Wagner told CNYRadio.com.
Although his Leatherstocking job is new, Wagner is no stranger to Central New York. In 2000, he was named Regional Operations Manager for Regent Communications, based at the company's Utica-Rome cluster. Three years later, Wagner was promoted to General Manager of Regent's Watertown cluster. When Regent sold the cluster to Stephens Media Group in 2007, Wagner left Watertown but remained with Regent until August 2008. Between then and his current job, Wagner had been working in sales outside of broadcasting.
Just as Judy Kelly did before, Wagner has the unique task of overseeing stations in three different cities. In Syracuse, Leatherstocking owns the former Buckley cluster of Classic Hits 92.1 (WSEN-FM), Oldies 1050 (WSEN) and CNY Talk Radio (1390/WFBL). The company's original two stations -- WMCR AM/FM in Oneida -- are also under Wagner's supervision. The most-recent addition to the Leatherstocking portfolio is WUTI/Utica, which simulcasts the CNY Talk Radio lineup.
"I like the challange of working with three very different markets," Wagner said. "Oneida is small market radio at its best with the challenges that come with selling and programming in a small market." He spends plenty of time traveling between the locations, explaining "the trick is to keep each location focused on their respective market with both sales and programming."
An interesting bit of trivia: this isn't Wagner's first time working with WUTI. The station -- then known as WRUN -- was under his watch as the Ops Manager for Regent in Utica.
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