Thirty years ago today, Michael Damsky began his radio career as a sales account executive at the former WFYR. As ambitious as he may have been, he never imagined he'd someday become president and general manager of WLS-AM/FM (890/94.7), one of the most fabled institutions in Chicago broadcasting.
"I grew up listening to WLS-AM and Dick Biondi, as everybody did, and I really got turned on to progressive music from the old WLS-FM of the late '60s," said Damsky, 60, who succeeded Michael Fowler as boss of the two Citadel Broadcasting stations Friday. "So to be sitting in this office is really unbelievable." Damsky, who most recently was vice president and director of sales at WLS, previously spent 24 years at CBS Radio adult rock WXRT-FM (93.1), where he rose through the sales ranks to become vice president and general manager. He also played a key role in the launch of CBS sports/talk WSCR-AM (670).
At the news/talk AM and oldies FM, Damsky faces some critical challenges at a time when the stations' parent company is under the pressure of bankruptcy protection. First and foremost among his goals is to revitalize the program department on the AM side. Hinting at major moves to come, Damsky said:
"My top priority is make sure WLS is being programmed to best showcase the talent that we have. We have great individual shows, but now we need to maximize their value and restore the luster of the WLS brand."