In the family businessBorn into a broadcasting clan, Morris found radio a good fit 7/14/2002 08:00:00 PM Eastern
Virginia "Ginny" Hubbard Morris was literally born to be a broadcaster. She is the third of five in the well-known Hubbard clan, all of whom are employed in the family broadcasting business.
Morris's older sister, Kathryn "Kari" Hubbard Rominski, runs the corporate foundation. Older brother Stanley E. Hubbard II is the entrepreneur of the family, running U.S. Satellite Broadcasting until the family sold the venture to DirecTV in 1999 for $1.25 billion. Now he's preparing to launch a cable and satellite network called MovieWatch. Younger brother Robert Hubbard heads the Hubbard Television Group, while Julia Hubbard Coyte, the baby of the family, runs three Hubbard-owned bookstores in New Mexico.
Morris began working for the family company in 1982 while still in college, although she says that, at the time, she would have preferred to stay a waitress. She waited tables at the local Mr. Steak during high school.
She had no intention of going to work for her father, Stanley S. Hubbard, chairman and CEO of Hubbard Broadcasting, but he persuaded her to try out a position in the promotions department of Hubbard Broadcasting's flagship TV station, KSTP-TV Minneapolis-St. Paul. She says she "lined up props for promotional shoots, lined up vehicles for community parades. I liked the excitement of it and the creativity of it. And I loved the people."
She intended to finish college but enjoyed working full-time so much that she quit college to work in the station's promotions department, becoming manager and then director.
Although she loved the work, she says, it wasn't her best career fit. "In retrospect, I wasn't very good at it. My dad very kindly fired me by promoting me into a different job."
Her father describes it: "Maybe her real love wasn't there. She had to find her real love, and that was radio."
Her father made her vice president of corporate affairs and public relations for Hubbard Broadcasting in January 1989, but she did that job for only a year and a half.
In July 1990, Radio Manager John Mayasich retired, and Stanley S. began thinking about who could replace him. "We needed to go off in a new direction. I thought, 'Who do I know that would be able to do that?' And I thought of Ginny."
Hubbard says he offered his daughter leadership of the family radio business because "she's creative, she's good with people, she's not afraid to try new things, and she has good sense."
Radio has been her passion since the day she first stepped into KSTP(AM). "I absolutely knew almost from the day I started there that radio was really meant for me."
Since then, she has been expanding Hubbard's radio business. In August '99, Morris and her team launched Hubbard Radio Network, which syndicates the company's locally created programming to 40 affiliates in four states. Hubbard Radio acquired WIXK(AM)/-FM New Richmond, Wis., in December 2000.
Besides running three radio stations and a network and being a wife and a mother of two, Morris in June became the first woman to chair the National Association of Broadcasters' radio board of directors. Those who know her say the board—traditionally a sort of old boys' club—couldn't have made a better choice.
"She's an exceptional talent whose executive skills are beginning to be recognized in the industry," says NAB President Eddie Fritts.
A former radio board chair also thinks Morris's gentle leadership and excellent diplomatic skills will serve the industry well. "She is quiet, but she is a leader with great resolve," says William McElveen, southeast vice president for Citadel Broadcasting Co., Columbia, S.C. "It gives me great confidence in her ability to lead the radio board."