Drew Horowitz, the highly respected and admired Chicago radio executive who rose to become one of the industry’s premier leaders nationwide, is going out on top after 43 years in the business.
Horowitz, 67, announced today he’s retiring at the end of the year as president and chief operating officer of Hubbard Radio, parent company of three stations in Chicago and more than 25 others across the country.
“I absolutely know that each of us has learned a great deal from Drew and not just about radio, business and leadership,” Ginny Morris, chairman and CEO of Hubbard Radio, wrote in an email to employees. “I know that Drew has touched and helped many of us personally as well as professionally. Drew is a wise and generous leader and it has been an honor to be able to work alongside him for the last eight years.”
From his start as a sales account executive at the former WFYR to his key role in the development of hot adult-contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM as one of Chicago radio’s greatest success stories, Horowitz can look back on a phenomenal run.
“This is as good as I could have ever hoped for,” he told me. “I had a career that I never could have dreamed of when I started selling in 1976. I’ve loved every minute of it. I worked with great companies and great people who respected the industry and respected the people that worked for them. I just was so lucky.”
In addition to 101.9 The Mix, classic rock WDRV 97.1-FM and adult contemporary WSHE 100.3-FM here, Horowitz oversaw Hubbard Radio stations in Washington, D.C., Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Louis, Cincinnati and West Palm Beach.
Horowitz served as vice president and general manager of two Chicago stations — country WUSN 99.5-FM and the former WFYR — and headed Chicago-based Lakeshore Communications before he joined 101.9 The Mix (then known as WCLR) as general sales manager in 1992. He moved up to president and general manager of the station the following year and led it from last place to first.
“Eric in the Morning,” the drive-time juggernaut on 101.9 The Mix hosted by Radio Hall of Famer Eric Ferguson, has been No. 1 in adult demographics and advertising revenue for an unprecedented two decades.
During 19 years under Bonneville International ownership, Horowitz helped guide the expansion of the company’s holdings in Chicago and nationally. Since 2011 his role has expanded under Minnesota-based Hubbard Broadcasting.
“I’ve loved working with the Hubbard family,” Horowitz said. “They’ve been nothing but wonderful to me. Thank God we have people like the Hubbards still in broadcasting and doing business in the right way. I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to work for them.”
After stepping down at year’s end, Horowitz said he plans to take some time off and explore other opportunities, including serving on corporate boards, teaching and taking classes. “Another goal is to get someplace warm,” he said. “I’m tired of Chicago winters.”
Here is the text of Morris’s email to staff:
Warm summer greetings to all of you—
I write to you today to tell you about a change that will be coming to our company at the end of the year.
After 43 years of working in, owning and running radio stations and companies, Drew Horowitz, our President and COO, will be retiring from Hubbard Radio at the end of 2019.
Drew came to Hubbard Radio as a part of our transformational acquisition of four Bonneville markets in 2011. Since that time, Drew has been instrumental in helping us further grow the company as we added clusters in Phoenix and Seattle, bolstered our cluster in St. Louis and most recently, acquired our operations in West Palm Beach.
Like me, I know that each of you has appreciated working with and getting to know Drew both professionally and personally. And…I absolutely know that each of us has learned a great deal from Drew and not just about radio, business and leadership. I know that Drew has touched and helped many of us personally as well as professionally.
Drew is a wise and generous leader and it has been an honor to be able to work alongside him for the last eight years.
We will be celebrating Drew in the coming months and we will be in ‘business as usual’ mode until further notice.
Please join me in sharing our heartfelt appreciation for all that Drew has done to make us the best we can be and in wishing him all good things in the future.