Hayes grew up as a radio hostage. His Uncle, Phil Hayes, was
the News Director of WLS Radio in Chicago in the early 70’s.
His yearly family trip from Portsmouth, Ohio during his mid
teens was more like a visit to a top 40-radio fantasy camp.
While his Uncle Phil was off working, Steve would spend countless
hours just hanging around the ABC radio studios with plenty
of personalities such as Larry Lujack, Fred Winston, Chris
Stevens, J.J. Jeffries and others who all became his mentors
as well as involuntary babysitters. At the impressionistic
age of 16, Steve began his own radio career in his hometown.
Starting out running the Sunday morning church tapes, a vertical
direction was the only option.
24, Steve was working as an on-air talent for ABC Radio KAUM-FM
in Houston when one night, an epiphany occurred. As Steve
remembers, “ It was Thanksgiving evening and I was feeling
as alone as I’ve ever felt in my life. Here I was thousands
of miles away from everyone I cared about when I played the
song ‘ My Little Town ’ by Simon and Garfunkle. It was visionary.”
At that flashpoint his life goals changed. Steve vowed never
to lose sight of his roots and family values while making
a career for himself. Working in other radio markets such
as Huntington, W.Va, Daytona Beach and Jacksonville Fla, Cincinnati,
Louisville and Lexington Kentucky, he was able to make it
balance. As Uncle Phil moved on to New York City and WNBC
Channel 4 TV in the early 80’s, it was a chance meeting with
Don Imus during yet another Steve visit that solidified his
redirected mission. When asked the secret to making radio
work, The “I” man snapped back “Just be true to yourself kid,
and all other things will fall into place. Now leave and let
from radio, Steve Hayes has always been known as a humorist
who could use the media to make people laugh. In 1991, Steve
was asked to take over the Managerial duties of a radio station
in Danville, Kentucky from his long time friend and associate,
Rob Scheibly. While it sounds like a bad reality show, Steve
didn’t actually know until his first morning on the job that
the station was close to bankruptcy. From 1991 through 1997,
the now public tales of Skunk Country reflect the animated
story of real life radio in a small town. Consider it a sanctuary
for those who still believe in the magic, and for all who
do pay attention to the man behind the curtain.