Skip Hunter, Heartland Corporate Director of Engineering and IT

Skip Hunter began his career in 1982 as the voice of Santa Claus on WATW AM/FM “letters to Santa”, an unpaid position. After the seasonal program ended Skip was employed as a part time announcer. WATW was splitting their AM & FM signals from simulcast at this time and since Skip had a back ground in electronics, he was asked to help the contract engineer with building the new studio for the WJJH FM.

In July 1983 when the WATW became an AM and WJJH FM, Skip was hired as a fulltime announcer for the evening shift on WATW. Skip worked with the late Jim Casey the contract engineer for WATW/WJJH and took a correspondence course from the Cleveland Institute of Electronics on broadcast electronics. In 1984 Skip was designated chief engineer of WATW / WJJH.

In 1986, after the rented basement studios flooded on Labor Day, the management decided to erect a new building at the current transmitter site to house the studios instead of renting. Skip and Jim Casey designed the current studios and made the move from downtown Ashland.

Through the course of the next few years, Skip worked his way up the ladder to become the Program Director. When WJJH was able to increase power to 50k, Jim Casey and Skip moved the transmitters from the old bomb shelter into the 26 x 26 building that houses the transmitters today, and also installed a new transmitter for WJJH and WATW. Skip was also involved in erecting a new 300 foot tower at the site.

In  WATW / WJJH applied for and was granted a license for WBSZ FM. Skip worked with contract engineer Alan Brace to convert his office into the WBSZ studio and install the 71k WBSZ transmitter and combiner to have two separate signals on one antenna.

In 1999, WATW / WJJH / WBSZ purchased WNXR FM in Iron River WI. Skip moved the WNXR Studio from Iron River to Ashland and made the switch in October of 1999.

In 2000 a new transmitter was purchased. Skip and Alan Brace installed the new transmitter.
Midwest Communications purchased Ashland / Iron River in 2002. Skip was made webmaster of the Ashland Group websites, in addition to his PD and engineering duties. During the next few years, Park Falls, Eagle River, Iron River MI. and Houghton MI. were added and Heartland Communications Group was born. Skip was made assistant to VP of programming and IT and as well as head engineer of the group of 13 stations.

Jim & Diane Coursolle purchased Heartland Communications in 2010 and Skip was promoted to his current position, Corporate Director of Engineering and IT.