There are dozens of radio traffic reporters in the New York market. Many of them could be deemed “interchangable” with a cookie cutter sound. Only a select few in the last 20 years have been able to make a career, and be known to a large number of listeners. And then there’s Jeff McKay!
McKay is clearly the most engaging traffic reporter in the business. Therefore, his stock is constantly on the rise. After many years as a full-time gridlock guy on 1010 WINS, mainly nights and weekends, McKay landed as the morning traffic anchor with a managerial role at Merlin Media’s ill-conceived, FM News. But McKay has never been ill-conceived. His reports stay true every 10 minutes, never crossing into gimmicky. He straddles a line effortlessly from entertaining to informing like few in the traffic world have ever done.
Once the writing was on the wall at Merlin last year, and Merlin fired the majority of its staff, McKay began his quest for the next radio home.
“I was looking at a number of scenarios, in radio, television and outside of broadcasting, and had received several offers I liked,” McKay admits. “However, the possibilities with Radiate Media and Cumulus was the best position for me and my family.”
Despite not having a familiar portfolio, Radiate brings a “ground floor” company idea that enticises McKay.
“Radiate Media is an expanding company with a positive business plan. I believe I can have a solid future with them in a number of capacities, and expanding ‘The McKay Way’ could be within that realm,” McKay says. “I’m always open to whatever I can do to help the team.”
McKay, who has always come across as someone just wanting to help, uses his signature “call” maneuvering frustrated drivers from the scene of the city’s worst bottlenecking, “What you want to do…” in his passionate tone for an alternate route. And heaven forbid, if he catches a toll plaza with not enough manned booths causing a huge back up. An animated McKay is not afraid to say exactly what he feels, knowing it’s likely the same thoughts his “stuck” listeners are facing.
Now he’s helping commuters again. McKay has joined forces with Cumulus to provide exclusive traffic reports for WPLJ and WABC, specifically for morning powerhouses Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill on FM, and Don Imus on the AM.
“When you can share the airwaves with three legendary radio broadcasters like S&T and Imus on two legendary radio stations, what more can you really say?” McKay tells FishbowlNY.
As an added perk, McKay gets the new gig from the comforts of his home.
“It wasn’t even a part of the equation at first. The idea came from Tommy G of TG Media Group LLC, my business management company. He built a state-of-the-art talk radio studio in his home for his highly successful show. My studio allows me to spend more time with my wife and kids, and that’s all anyone could ask for,” McKay says.