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MetraPark’s new marketing and sales director is Ray Massie, who is currently the general manager for KGHL radio.

He begins his duties on June 16.

MetraPark Manager Bill Dutcher introduced Massie during a press conference on Friday morning in the lobby of the Rimrock Auto Arena.

“He’s been in Garth Brooks’ house. He knows Martina McBride,” Dutcher said, saying he was excited to have Massie and his 40 years of experience in the business at MetraPark.

Massie said his biggest job will be to “bring more events to MetraPark.”

He fills a position held by Sandra Hawke, who retired at the end of 2013 after 25 years of service.

Yellowstone County had said its goal for a new marketing director was someone who would aggressively solicit shows and market MetraPark to draw more events and shows to the arena and fairgrounds.

Massie said he’s up for the challenge. “We have to sell Billings to the rest of the world. We need more events and to serve the community better,” he said.

Massie called Hawke’s legacy “astounding” and said he’s looking forward to the marketing potential of the state’s biggest fair and fairgrounds. “We’ve just scratched the surface with social media,” he said.

Massie’s experience includes writing television shows, programming, marketing and managing radio stations along with producing various events like Frogtoberfest in Riverside, Calif., WIL-FM’s Willing to Help Flood Relief concert, Crestwood, Missouri’s Picnic in the Park and Tim and Willy’s Christmas Breakfast Show at Night in Phoenix, Ariz.

In addition, Massie has worked for CBS and for Clear Channel Radio in Los Angeles and Phoenix and was selected as national country programming format captain for all of CBS Radio in 2003.

In 1998, Massie received the a trade award from Radio Ink Magazine as the best large market radio programmer in America.

He also has worked with major country artists.

“I’ve known Blake Shelton since he started,” Massie said. He’s hung around with Alan Jackson and Kenny Chesney. He even served as a “body guard” for Taylor Swift, he said.

“Knowing who to call is really an important factor of this job,” Massie said.

Massie is not limited to country music. He said he has experience in promoting and co-promoting events. MetraPark recently began co-promoting selected events in an effort to share the risk, generate more revenue and bring in bigger acts.

One of the first big tasks for Massie will be marketing MontanaFair, the state’s biggest county fair, from Aug. 8 to 16.

“I’m excited about the fair,” Massie said. His approach to MontanaFair will be to make sure there is something new each year, he said.

Massie, 57, has a business degree and a journalism minor. He came to Billings in 2010 as the director of operations for Gap West, now Townsquare Media, and currently is KGHL Radio’s general manager.

Massie also is the incoming chair of the Billings Chamber of Commerce’s agricultural committee and volunteers at the Society of St.Vincent de Paul. He and his wife, Vicki, have children and grandchildren.

County Commission Chairman Jim Reno said he was pleased to be able to hire a good local candidate and that MetraPark was fortunate to get Massie.

Massie was among the candidates in a second round of advertising for the marketing job.

MetraPark began the hiring process in February and initially offered a salary range of $43,000 to $58,000. There were three finalists, but two of the candidates already were making more money than the top end of range.

So MetraPark re-advertised for the job, bumping the salary range to $58,000 to $70,000. Hawke was making $66,392 when she retired. Massie will be paid $65,000 a year.

“The challenge is more important to me than the money,” he said.

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Federal Court, Yellowtone County Reporter

Federal court and county reporter for The Billings Gazette.