(Published August 2008)
TAB’s 2008 Broadcaster of the Year is an inspiration to others in the industry.
Caroline Devine retired as regional vice president and market manager of Cox Radio in Houston in 2007.
Devine was born in Liberty, Texas. Her parents owned a grocery store, and it was the hub of the town’s activity.
She loved riding horses and eventually got into painting and playing the piano. Devine and her two brothers, Dan and Mike, attended high school in the small town of Hull, Texas.
The school, Hull-Daisetta, was rich with oil taxes and able to attract excellent teachers with its high salaries.
Her parents insisted on high achievement in all subjects for their children. Devine graduated as valedictorian, earned several scholarships and headed off to Sam Houston State University.
At the time, radio was only a source of entertainment for Devine – she never imagined it as a career!
Devine met her husband William while she was still in high school. He was a college boy, but it was love at first sight when Devine saw him dance.
They married and started a family while she was still in college. Devine transferred to Lamar University, eventually graduating with a Bachelor of Science.
William moved around Texas, working in retail. Devine worked as an elementary school teacher all over Texas, following William from Beaumont to Temple to Harlingen and McAllen and finally back to Beaumont.
She took a job with the Burroughs Corporation selling business forms and machines to financial institutions.
It was her chance to work for a Fortune 500 Company. Good friend Ken Smith was the sales manager for KYKR-FM in Beaumont and William’s western wear store was the station’s best client.
They enjoyed going to KYKR’s client parties and various events. So while she was happy with her job, Devine became more and more intrigued with radio.
Ken hired her as a sales rep and it was love at first bite. The radio business satisfied her search for creativity combined with solid business fundamentals.
Devine worked for KYKR for two years before taking a sales position in Austin at KEYI-FM and KNOW-AM. She was quickly promoted to General Sales Manager and stayed with the station for six years.
Devine enjoyed selling, but truly loved the opportunities for mentorship that came with the GSM position.
In 1988, Jay Jones, then owner of the Rusk Corporation, took a chance and hired Devine for her first General Manager position over at KSMG-FM San Antonio.
In San Antonio, Devine’s team brought KISS-FM back to life, first as an LMA and then as a purchase. It was an immediate success, and is a ratings and revenue leader to this day. Devine barely knew one rock song or group, but Virgil Thompson and Janis Maxymof taught her everything she needed to know.
Devine always said keeping the talented hosts of the “edgy” KISS morning show on safe and entertaining ground was a fun challenge.
Station clients could earn VIP trips to exotic destinations and for 18 years she helped to host the travelers in France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Thailand and other exotic destinations.
Who thought a small town teacher from Southeast Texas would wind up travelling the world!
Cox Radio purchased the stations from Rusk in 1998 and they made the smart decision to keep Devine on board.
She got her Regional Vice President stripes in 2003, with the added assignment of Cox’s six stations in Honolulu. Everyone was rightfully envious of this assignment, but she says it was truly an enlightening and rewarding experience.
Marc Morgan and Bob Neil moved Devine from San Antonio to Houston to take over the VP/Market Manager duties for their four station cluster.
At Cox, Devine was involved in creating the company’s groundbreaking mentor program. Station personnel are partnered with higher level Cox executives to learn the ins and outs of the radio business.
“Radio Ink Magazine” has listed her several times on their prestigious “Most Influential Women in Radio” list.
The “Mentoring and Inspiring Women” group grew out of the list and she is proud to continue her participation as a mentor. In 2005, Devine was inducted in to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.
After nearly 30 successful years in the radio biz, Devine retired in December of last year. She and William have been enjoying retirement together ever since.
Devine’s positive outlook combined with her solid work ethic has been an inspiration for many years.
Throughout her life, Devine has tried to instill in her family, former employees and herself one simple lesson: life is short, life is a journey and in the end you have to believe you can dance.