General manager’s sudden death stuns radio station group
Stephen D. Miller, 52, general manager of seven Honolulu radio stations, died Tuesday night in California of unknown causes.
Radio station staff members at Salem Media of Hawaii Inc. were shocked and saddened to learn yesterday morning of his sudden death.
He was lean and "healthy as an ox," said Rudi Camello, one of two general sales managers for the stations.
Camello had previously worked at Salem Hawaii and returned to his home state from California in October at Miller's beckoning.
"He was a great man with a big heart ... one of the brightest men I've known or worked for in the industry," Camello said.
Co-GSM David Serrone, with Salem Hawaii for some 7 years, met Miller when he came to work for Salem Hawaii in February of last year.
"His extreme success and experience have been instrumental in (bringing) our stations to where they are today," Serrone said. Miller's leadership increased station sales and on a personal level, his death "leaves a huge hole," he said.
Miller oversaw some 50 employees at KAIM-FM 95.5, KHCM-FM 97.5, KHUI-FM 99.5 KGMZ-FM 107.9, KHNR-AM 690, KGU-AM 760 and KHCM-AM 880.
At the time of Miller's appointment, he was described in a Salem statement as a 30-year radio veteran who had owned his own stations and had previously worked in Hawaii as an executive for the old Atlanta-based Patterson Broadcasting Inc.
Under Miller's command, Salem's country music format recently shifted from the AM dial to 97.5 FM, which had sported a news-talk format.
Putting news-talk on the FM dial in the first place emulated a popular industry trend on the mainland, but music sounds better on FM.
Switching the other format back to AM "also provides us with better coverage on the news-talk format," he said in mid-August.
Jon Horton, regional vice president for Calif.-based Salem Communications Corp., will be coming to Honolulu to run the stations in the interim, Camello said.
Miller is survived by a son and daughter from an earlier marriage, a sister, brother-in-law, his parents and a girlfriend of nearly 20 years, Camello said.
Corporate officials at Salem could not be reached.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org