Filling a Niche; Entrepreneur John Fuller’s Broadcasting Success
John Fuller’s success is a testament to simple but effective strategies: find a niche that needs to be filled and fill it, do your research, and get out from the behind the desk.
“I tell my salespeople, just answer the phone. Don’t hide behind email or voice messages, “ says Fuller. “You pick up the phone and call them. If that doesn’t work, you jump into your car and get over there. And that’s the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people. You’ve got to get out of the noise.”
Fuller shared his experiences in the broadcasting business on Thursday, November 8, in an address at Goodwin College in East Hartford. He was the first speaker in a series called Vital Voices in Entrepreneurship. The event was well attended, with community leaders joining Goodwin students and staff to hear Fuller’s story. In all, almost 100 people crowded the Community Room.
Fuller explained how his life in radio began as a game played between him and his sister. That game became a career goal, and that goal has in turn blossomed into a thriving broadcasting business that includes 10 radio stations and thousands of loyal listeners.
“I was very lucky to find something at a very early age that I was always intrigued by and really liked,” says Fuller, the President and General Manager of Full Power Radio. His company owns stations throughout the region, including Connecticut alternative rock station WMRQ 104.1 and the state’s only Spanish language FM stations, Bomba 97.1 and Bomba 104.9.
His business savvy has seen Fuller and Full Power Radio to become the owner stations that include Soft Rock WBMW 106.5 (Ledyard, Conn.), Jammin’ WWRX 107.7 (Pawcatuck, Conn.), and News Now WJJF 94.9 (Montauk, N.Y.).
Fuller grew up in Hope Valley, Rhode Island. As a kid, he and his sister used to play radio games over simple walkie-talkies. She’d head out on her bicycle and deliver traffic reports through her radio, and Fuller would respond with local news, weather, and Wayne Newton songs.
By the time he was 19, Fuller had turned the game into something much more. He applied for his first FCC broadcasting license and started his own radio station. Though he professed to hating country music, he found that there was a demand for it. He began broadcasting, and in the process, his career in radio was born.
“There was no FM country station at that time, and the station thrived,” says Fuller. “People were so excited. They loved the local news but they also loved the fact that we were out there at fairs and festivals.”
By the late 80s, Fuller had bought other radio stations in Rhode Island and began expanding into New London, Connecticut, by the 90s. Along with developing stations, he built radio towers to improve frequency, as well as cell phone towers to facilitate the booming mobile industry. The kid on the walkie-talkie had found success in telecommunications, and he has since grown his business and created jobs for dozens of employees.
“You work that hard and it always works,” Fuller says. “Work works. You have to have a relentless self-improvement. You have to be better than you were yesterday.”
His influence goes beyond the business and broadcasting world. Fuller is active in several civil causes, including a partnership with emergency services in Ledyard. The town uses his towers to improve their signals, allowing responders to better serve residents. In 2010 and 2011, Fuller footed the bill in Norwich for police protection for the Winter Festival parades, allowing the town to continue traditions that otherwise would have been canceled for budgetary reasons.
Fuller is also a member of the Chambers of Commerce for every city where he owns a radio station, including Glastonbury.
Vital Voices in Entrepreneurship is a collaboration between Goodwin College and the East Hartford Chamber of Commerce to present successful and innovative speakers to the community.