Northwest named John Coffey the station manager of its National Public Radio affiliate KXCV-KRNW.
The station manager position opened in June after previous station manager Rodney Harris died from health complications, according to a news release from the University.
Coffey said the biggest lesson he learned from Harris, who mentored Coffey, was how to treat employees well and create a supportive work environment.
“He was very good with us; family always came first,” Coffey said. “If we had an issue that demanded time with family, there was no question to ask; it was always important to him.”
Coffey graduated from Northwest in 1982. After working as the news and sports director at KNIM Radio in Maryville for almost 16 years, he came back to Northwest in 1999 as news and sports director for KXCV-KRNW. He served as the news and sports director, trained student staff and hosted play-by-plays of Northwest football and basketball games as “The Voice of the Bearcats.”
Coffey, an Albany, Missouri, native said although he has experience in out-of-state work, he always comes back to Maryville because he said it’s a great place to live.
“Maryville’s a good community and the University has been a large part of my life,” Coffey said. “Even when I’ve worked commercial radio, still broadcasting Northwest football and basketball games and of course the University plays a big role in the community, so it’s been a big part of my life since I came here as a student in ‘78.”
The Bearcat Radio Network has expanded to six stations in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa under Coffey’s lead, and he coordinates news partnerships with other radio stations in the region.
Coffey said the most challenging period of time at the station was in early 2018 when state funding to the University significantly dropped and budgets all over campus got tighter. Beyond that, he said he couldn’t think of any specific challenges because they are outshined by student successes.
In a Northwest news release, Northwest’s Executive Director of Marketing and Communication Brandon Stanley said Coffey has a passion for coaching students in the field and preparing students for success after graduation.
“His relationships with community leaders will assist the station and University moving forward, and his experience with underwriting, the Bearcat Radio Network and FCC regulations and requirements are crucial toward the station’s sustained success,” Stanley said in the news release.
Coffey said he enjoys broadcasting play-by-plays for a football team with six national championship wins, but working with students to prepare them for life after graduation and seeing their success is his favorite part of his job.
“I would hope (students learn) time management skills,” Coffey said. “Juggling work at KXCV and schoolwork – if you know how time management works, it’s going to make you successful in whatever field you go in.”
Coffey said he hopes his legacy at Northwest is that he treated people well and that he brought listeners joy with his football and basketball programs.