Born in Saginaw Michigan, Don Wiggins was always a natural at leading the pack.
The eldest of one brother and two sisters, Wiggins had to maintain the leadership role in the family, inside and outside of the household. In high school, he was voted most likely to succeed, and has lived up to that standard ever since.
Wiggins is the general sales manager at Clear Channel’s WMIB 103.5 The Beat, one of South Florida’s urban contemporary radio stations.
The long trip from Michigan to South Florida leaves a distinct reminiscent smile on Wiggins’ face as he reflects on his journey in radio.
Radio became a lifestyle for Wiggins during his high school years. He worked as an on-air personality for a local Top 40 station in the Michigan market.
Later, an urban station (WWWS) hit the airwaves. Wiggins called it the “opportunity of a lifetime.”
Don Juan the Lover was born. At that time, Wiggins, aka Don Juan, was the top on-air personality in the market. He contributed music and programming talents to the station, and raised over $20,000 dollars for sickle cell anemia in his hometown.
“I believe that you must have a cause that you believe in and that was my cause at the time,” Wiggins told the South Florida Times.
With a passion for helping others define themselves, Wiggins soon found his niche in urban radio. He was consistently positioned at radio stations that either needed a turnaround or were basic start-ups. Each time, he succeeded.
Through the years, Wiggins worked his way up into higher positions, such as station manager, program director and sales executive. With his tremendous success in radio sales, he was whisked away from radio for a few years to explore the TV industry.
Soon after, he found his way back home to radio at Cumulus Broadcasting, doing local sales.
Moving from Saginaw to Las Vegas and back allowed Wiggins to expand his knowledge of the industry and prepare for his inevitable journey to South Florida.
The first day Wiggins set foot in the studios at 103.5 The Beat, he was immediately taken aback.
“All I said was, ‘Whoa!’ It was impressive,” he said. “I listened to the station and met the staff. I knew this was a time for me to reinvent myself and meet this endeavor head on.”
After discussing the move with his family and friends, Wiggins was more than ready to trade in his heavy winter coat and the Michigan frost for a nice pair of tropical shorts. He came to bask in the South Florida sun.
Brian Olson, president and market manager of Clear Channel Miami, hasworked with Wiggins in the past year, and anticipates the outstanding impact Wiggins will have on the community of South Florida.
“With Don here, I look forward to the Beat getting more involved with the community,” Olson said. “I know he can have the people of South Florida listen and feel like The Beat is the number one choice of the urban audience in this market.”
Traditionally, WHQT HOT 105 and WEDR 99 JAMZ have placed higher in the Arbitron ratings. Wiggins hopes to change that.
In just over six months leading South Florida’s 103.5 The Beat, Wiggins has already begun to bridge the gap between contemporary radio and the community it serves. He understands that radio has always been a strong information source in the
African-American community. He wants the community of South Florida to say “103.5 The Beat is my station,” and every day, he strives to maintain the connection with the people.
“The station has already made tremendous inroads in the community, the ratings are increasing and the revenue is way above last year’s projection,” Wiggins said. “I was brought here to turn it around. I’m excited to be here. It’s a blessing to be here, and I’m just looking forward to continue do what I do.”
Photo by Elgin Jones/SFT Staff. Donald Wiggins