Skip to main content

Skip Essick the ‘Radio Artist’

Feb 08, 2016 06:20AM, Published by Kevin, Categories: Today, Arts+Entertainment in this issue, Stories From The Heartland



Gallery: Skip Essick - Winter 2016 [5 Images] Click any image to expand.



Skip receiving the prestigious
Marconi Award from the
National Association of
Broadcasters in 2006.

In September 1988, there was a live broadcast that was the first of its kind.  A call-in radio talk show was broadcast on location from–of all places–the Vatican!

The show commemorated the 10th anniversary of the pontification of John Paul II.  And who was the radio host who accomplished this “first”?  Most of Fresno either recognizes his voice or his name.  It is our own Skip Essick.

The Vatican is a long way from Toledo, Ohio, where Skip was born the oldest of five to a strong Catholic family, but travel was to become second nature to him.  This kid from Ohio was not into sports or other activities that captivated his contemporaries.  Skip was actually more interested in his maternal grandfather’s interests of travel, fishing and golf.

In fact, he states that his grandfather was a member of the PGA (though he never toured), and his grandfather’s 1938 golf clubs remain in Skip’s care to this day.

A defining moment in his life came at the young age of 10.  Uncle Lou came driving up in a “big car with a beautiful wife”–the fruits of being a popular DJ in North Carolina.  That was when Skip decided that radio was to be his life.  As a senior in high school, he found his first radio job in his hometown of Lima, Ohio.

Left - Right Jack Fox with WHAS Radio Lousiville, The Lord Mayor of Dublin and Skip in 1992. Skip was awarded the gold Shamrock Award by the city of Dublin and made an honorary citizen of Dublin for promoting tourism to Ireland.

Upon finishing school, Skip describes traveling “to every small town that had a broadcast antenna” to apply for a radio job.  He found success at the bottom of one antenna in Van Wert, Ohio, at WERT.  In those days, you had to have an operator’s license to be on the radio; therefore, Skip applied to broadcast engineering school in Atlanta.

WERT had other plans.  They offered this young man a full-time job which, of course, trumped going to Atlanta.

Election Day in 1968 was Skip Essick’s first day of full-time employment on the air.  It was also the first time he ever cussed on the air!

The first radio call in show ever permitted by The Vatican. September 1988. Skip’s guest was Cardinal John Foley, the president of the papal commission for social communication. The broadcast was from the studios of Vatican Radio/September 1988.

The engineer had hung a microphone in the teletype closet to pick up the sound effect of the teletype, and instead it picked up Skip’s opinion of the election results (left to the imagination of the reader). The spring of 1969 found Skip at “the big station” of WCIT in Lima and then at WGRD in Grand Rapids, Mich., where his career took off.

He humbly gives credit for this to the people he worked with.  Skip tells of how he knew from the start that focusing on the quality of the audio production was the secret of success and he set his standards high.

“It is much like being an artist with a canvas,” describes Skip. “When you’re doing a radio station in America, it’s about quality.”

He describes his favorite station as WHAS in Louisville, where “a big signal, amazing talent, University of Kentucky sports and University of Louisville sports” kept him for seven years.  In 1995, he finally had the chance to work at WJR in Detroit, explaining, “I grew up in the shadow of that station” as “The Great Voice of the Great Lakes” with Detroit Tigers baseball. 

The task of rebuilding that station after the passing of the great J.P. McCarthy in 1995 fell to Skip.  His success led him to become a general manager with Clear Channel Communications just one year later (he ultimately managed 17 stations).  Unfortunately, managing a station was too far removed from the art of good radio, and Skip wanted to return to directing programming. 

Being older and overqualified were some unexpected hurdles, but in stepped KMJ in Fresno.  Skip tells of how he formed the vision for KMJ on his first day–and that vision carried KMJ to the No. 1 spot for most of the seven years that he was the program director.

New corporate ownership with myopic decision-making and a brief health issue sent Skip back to Ohio.

During that transition, the job offers were many but he wanted to retire in Fresno.  An unexpected surprise awaited him.  It was the opportunity of ownership in KGED-AM (1680) Fresno that brought him back.

Skip and Sharon Essick in the
west of Ireland in 2009.

Skip has become known for many things, including his trips to Ireland.  He tells of a DJ at WOOD in Grand Rapids who often spoke of retiring to Ireland.  Every St. Patrick’s Day, this DJ would celebrate on the air.  When it came time for the DJ to retire, Skip arranged for a retirement trip to Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day where DJ Bruce Grant broadcast his last show from the RET studio in Dublin.

Now, after 23 trips to Ireland and taking more than 800 listeners with him, he stands to add trip No. 24 in April 2016 with the listeners of KGED.

Skip talks of his vision for KGED with true passion: “It’s simple.  I want KGED to be the very best conservative Christian station in all of California.”

To our benefit, we are now the canvas that this radio artist is creating upon.

Written by Bradley T. Wajda, D.O.



Stories from the Heartland in this issue radio


  • Hawaiian Hula (dance) classes

    04/03/2017
    02:00PM — 07:30PM

    During our Hula classes, we respect the traditions of Hula and do our best to research the langua...


  • Kino Hana, Cardio-Hula

    04/03/2017
    07:00PM — 08:00PM

    ALOOOOHA!!!! Ready to shake up your fitness routine? Ready to shape up and tone your amazing bo...


  • Hawaiian Hula (dance) classes

    04/04/2017
    02:00PM — 07:30PM

    During our Hula classes, we respect the traditions of Hula and do our best to research the langua...


  • Kino Hana, Cardio-Hula

    04/04/2017
    07:00PM — 08:00PM

    ALOOOOHA!!!! Ready to shake up your fitness routine? Ready to shape up and tone your amazing bo...


  • Peter and The Starcatcher

    03/30/2017
    05:30PM

    In this ingenious prequel to Peter Pan, a handful of actors play over 100 hilarious characters. Y...


  • 2017 Fun(d) Run

    04/01/2017
    08:00AM — 01:00PM

    On April 1, 2017 take a Wellness Day for you and your family and join us at Woodward! Take advan...


  • Party for the Parkway 06. Meet an Alpaca

    04/01/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    MEET AN ALPACA SATURDAY, APRIL 1 1:00 pm KT-LEE RANCH ALPACAS, NORTH FORK PARTY 6 Have you...


  • World Autism Awareness Day

    04/02/2017
    12:00AM

    Each April 2nd, Autism Speaks celebrates the start of its signature campaign, Light It Up Blue, a...


  • Unique Perspectives on Autism

    04/05/2017
    06:00PM

    A mother of two boys on the autism spectrum joins forces with a developmental pediatrician, board...


  • Unique Perspectives on Autism

    04/05/2017
    06:00PM

    Celebrate Autism Awareness Month with us at this special one-time event! A mother of two boys...


  • 2017 Art Hop

    04/06/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    ArtHop occurs every 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month. It’s one of the most active and successfu...


  • An outstanding night of Art & Music featuring award winning and nationally known artist Kyle Edwa...


  • Art Hop: Ladies Night

    04/06/2017
    05:00PM — 10:00PM

    Join Our Amazing Artists As they throw a ladies night for Art Hop! A fun night of Art, Music, Mo...


  • Arts & Hops

    04/06/2017
    05:30PM — 08:00PM

    FCFB is turning 100 and wants to celebrate this milestone birthday with you! Bring your friends a...


  • Boots In The Park

    04/07/2017
    05:00PM — 10:00PM

    Join Us For Boots In The Park On Friday, April 7 With Some Of The Biggest Names In Country Music!...


  • Geek Night: 59DaysofCode

    04/07/2017
    05:00PM — 07:00PM

    Guess who’s back, back again. 59DOC’s back, tell a friend. Guess who's back, guess who's back. Gu...


  • Breakfast with the Animals

    04/08/2017
    08:30AM — 11:30AM

    Join us for hot syrupy pancakes, sizzling sausage, hot coffee, donuts, milk and juice! This year’...


  • Kingburg Pet Clinic

    04/08/2017
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    Get ready for the next Kingsburg Pet Clinic, to be held on Saturday, April 8 on the east side of ...


  • Artist’s Event

    04/08/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    Do you love to sketch, draw, paint or photograph live animals? Would you love to spend up to two...


  • Fresno Chinatown Underground Tunnel Tour

    04/08/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Every big city has an active underground network and Fresno is no exception. The ability to duck ...


  • Peter and The Starcatcher

    04/09/2017
    05:00PM

    In this ingenious prequel to Peter Pan, a handful of actors play over 100 hilarious characters. Y...


  • Eatin' on Eaton

    04/14/2017
    11:00AM — 01:00PM

    Save the date! Eatin on Eaton is coming back Friday, April 14th. Food trucks will be out on Eaton...


  • Peter and The Starcatcher

    04/14/2017
    05:30PM

    In this ingenious prequel to Peter Pan, a handful of actors play over 100 hilarious characters. Y...


WHO IS CEN CALI LIFE MAGAZINE?

It is the mission of Cen Cali Life Magazine to spotlight what makes our Central Valley a unique and integral part of the Golden State. To learn more about us and our mission, click on the "About Us + Advertising Link" at the top of this page.

Happy Reading,

Karen Maroot

Publisher


 

PROUDLY BROUGHT TO YOU BY THESE COMMUNITY SPONSORS