WLQV host Jay Butler celebrates 50 years In broadcasting
Veteran radio personality Jay Butler celebrates a half century in broadcasting this week. Butler was just 15 when he began broadcasting afternoons at R&B station WJAK-AM Jackson, Tennessee on September 16, 1957. While developing his sound at WJAK, Butler attended Lane College where he majored in English. Upon graduation, he married Julia, his college sweetheart and wife of 45 years, and advanced to afternoon drive at WVOL-AM Nashville, which was owned by Rounsaville Radio. In December 1966, Rounsaville’s National Program Director became Operations Manager at R&B station WJLB-AM Detroit and, recognizing that Butler was ready for major market radio, hired him to host afternoons. Within less than four months, Butler advanced again, this time to crosstown WCHB-AM, the most-listened-to R&B station in Motown. In 1971, Butler returned to WJLB, advancing to Program/Music Director. It was during this second time around at WJLB that he would take his career to new heights and establish himself as a major player in the industry. Under Butler’s leadership, WJLB increased its ranking from 14th place to become the second highest-rated music station in Detroit, landing ahead of WCHB-AM, and just behind the legendary CKLW-AM.
In the mid 1970s, Butler took a hiatus from radio and moved to Los Angeles to demonstrate his versatility in the record industry, serving in promotions/artist relations roles with United Artists and Atlantic Records, and with Warner Bros./Whitfield, where he was Vice President of Promotions. Butler also starred in and wrote portions of the script for the film ‘Car Wash’ and performed in the critically acclaimed documentary ‘Standing in the Shadows of Motown’.
In 1982, Butler was lured back to his true passion and joined WQBH-AM Detroit, under the management of the late Martha Jean ‘The Queen’ Steinberg. In 2000, Steinberg purchased the station and promoted Butler to Program Director, a role in which he remained until September 2004, when WQBH was acquired by Salem Communications, owner of WLQV-AM where Butler is the current voice of ‘FaithTalk Afternoons’ weekdays from Noon – 6pm.
Butler says he is “fortunate to be able to make a living in an industry I grew up in and love, and to have played a part in people’s lives. I’ve met some great people working in this business.” When asked about the changes he has seen in his five decades of broadcasting, the future of the medium, and advice he would give to young broadcasters today, Butler ties it all together with the following wisdom: “Technology is always changing. New forms of competition will come and go. The greatest challenge to broadcasters today is the same as it has always been, and it’s also their greatest opportunity: Recognizing that great broadcasting has always been about creative, passionate people who understand their audience, and deliver the most compelling, relevant, programming content to that audience.”