Citing a multitude of personal reasons, Marty Bender has resigned after two years as program director of WSHE FM 100.3, the Hubbard Radio adult contemporary station.
The death of his brother earlier this year along with what he called “additional health and family issues” prompted the move, Bender announced Wednesday.
“A day does not go by when I don’t wake up and wonder if I’m in the right place, for the right reasons,” Bender wrote in a memo to staff. “At this time, the right decision for me is to step aside from my day-to-day programming duties at SHE and attend to all of the above, along with the corresponding legal issues that seem to never let up.”
Greg Solk, senior vice president of programming for Hubbard Radio, said the search for a new program director would begin immediately.
“WSHE is turning into a top tier station in the market and much of that success can be directly attributed to Marty and his programming touch,” Solk told employees after Bender's announcement. “While we support his decision to step away from the day to day, we have asked Marty if he would stay on in an advisory and consulting role. He has graciously accepted. . . . Marty is a special kind of person. We all wish him the best in doing what he needs to do.”
Bender joined the station, then known as WILV/Rewind 100.3, in June 2013, succeeding Barry James, who retired after 20 years with the Hubbard Radio stations here and their predecessor, Bonneville International. Bender previously worked in Indianapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Detroit.
Last March Bender oversaw the rebranding of the station to WSHE. He described the move as an “evolution” that would allow the company to “refine our musical position to a new and less predictable place [while] redefining adult contemporary radio for 2015 and beyond.”
In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, WSHE ranked 17th with a 2.3 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 1,311,800. Among women between 25 and 54, the station ranked eighth with a 3.9 share and 400,100 cume.
Here is the text of Bender’s memo to staff:
To: SHE Staff
From: Marty Bender
Re: Decision . . .
As a few of you may know, the past year…and especially the last six months…have been very challenging for me on a personal/family level. While we all eventually address life-changing events, I’ve had to deal with almost every conceivable one of them happening in rapid succession. To compound the situation(s), all of these are happening in two cities, away from Chicago.
I lost my brother after a long illness and a brutal life-support situation. My parents, while dealing with the loss of their son, are now both advancing into their own life-changing challenges. I wish that was it, but there are additional health and family issues that still need to be resolved.
Thus, a day does not go by when I don’t wake up and wonder if I’m in the right place, for the right reasons. At this time, the right decision for me is to step aside from my day-to-day programming duties at SHE and attend to all of the above, along with the corresponding legal issues that seem to never let up.
This is a very tough decision for me, because of my attachment and belief in SHE and all that this station is quickly becoming. In discussing this decision with Greg and John, they have been supportive on every level, and have even asked that I stay a part of the team in a consulting role. I’m sure Greg will follow up with the details of that arrangement.
I just want to thank each and every one of you for your hard work and support in my two years as your Program Director. I’ll be honored to stay on board until a new Programmer joins, and then look forward to helping as a consultant to the new and unique brand that is WSHE. This transition could have only happened with the blessing and corporate care that is the entire Hubbard family.