Former WIOG and WSGW GM John Casey Dies
March 31, 2023
The MAB has learned that John Casey, one-time General Manager of both WIOG-FM and WSGW-AM has passed away in Burlington, North Carolina. He was 86.
Born in Louisville, KY, Casey graduated from the University of Syracuse in 1963 with a Master’s degree in communications (Magna Cum Laude). Originally intending to spend his life teaching spanish, he instead pursued a career in radio, starting in small stations as a DJ and gradually working his way up to becoming general manager at WIOG and WSGW in Saginaw, Michigan in 1975. He subsequently took the two stations from a small audience to radio giants, increasing the broadcast strength of both stations and making WIOG a ratings powerhouse that took number one in Arbitron ratings for 17 ratings in a row. In the 1990's WIOG was nominated for a prestigious National Association of Broadcasting Marconi award, and at one point WIOG had the highest ratings for any station across the entire US.
In 1997 Casey fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming a radio station owner, purchasing WWOJ and WWTK in Sebring, Florida. After spending several years in the sunshine, Casey and wife Irmgard missed their family and decided to move to Burlington, North Carolina to be closer to their two grandsons.
Dave Maurer, former Operations Director at WSGW-AM/FM in Saginaw told the MAB, "John Casey lived and breathed radio. He was masterful in sales, programming and promotions. He also was a strong proponent of local news and gave me the resources I needed for our award winning station. He did many receptions and dinners to show his appreciation to staff."
WSGW Morning Host Art Lewis said, "John was the consummate broadcaster. He understood both sides of the aisle...business and programming. He didn't just build a group of employees, rather he formed a family structure to which we all belonged. Even in his later years he kept in touch with us 'old timers' to see how things were going. He'd even offer up a suggestion or two, always with the idea of making us better than we were. He was a great boss and a dear friend. He will be missed."
Jerry Noble, Program Director at WWCK-AM/FM in Flint, wrote about Casey on his Facebook page, "John Casey was a great radio manager and an even better person. He gave me the reins at WIOG in 1993 and while he wasn't perceived as a "Top 40" kind of guy, his love and knowledge of our industry and broadcast acumen guided many. His kindness will be missed."
Casey is survived by his wife, Irmgard; a son, Joel Casey and wife Tamara; a daughter, Melinda Casey; his grandsons, Joshua Casey and Jacob Casey; his sisters, Anne Friebert, Mary Mulligan, Patricia Abramoski, Rose Atwood and husband Dennis; and numerous nieces and nephews.