2012-04-06 / People

City resident enjoys radio ‘tremendously’

By Kristy Wagner
Staff Writer

Chuck Igo Chuck Igo Most Mainers in the southern part of the state know Chuck Igo as the morning radio host for Big Hits Y100.9, but South Portland residents know him as a neighbor, family man, author and active member of the community.

Igo is from the Boston area and came to Maine after he joined the Navy in 1977.

“The Navy brought me up here,” Igo said. “I went to broadcast school for one year and joined the Navy exploring options.”

Igo attended Grahm Junior College located in Boston’s Kenmore Square. It offered programs that ranged from business to broadcast, Igo said. The junior college closed in 1979 after going bankrupt. Before closing its doors, the college raised tuition significantly and, instead of finishing his two-year degree at a more affordable school, Igo joined the Navy.

“I ended up in Brunswick and started a career in radio while I was still in the Navy,” Igo said.

He has lived in South Portland with his wife since March 1983 and his three children all graduated from South Portland High School.

Igo said radio fascinated him from an early age and it has been all he has ever wanted to do as an occupation.

“I used to make my nana take us by the radio stations in Boston so I could stare in the windows,” Igo said.

Igo said radio is not who he is as a person, but said he enjoys working in radio tremendously.

“I like what I do. I have to love it to get out of bed at 2 a.m.,” Igo said.

The radio host has been with Big Hits Y100.9 for 10 years, but he worked for the station when it was owned by a different company.

“All the stations in the building where I work now – I have worked for all of them individually at some point in my career,” Igo said.

Igo explained how the radio market in Portland is saturated with 19 stations, but the tight-knit Portland broadcasting community provides a friendly and supportive climate as opposed to a competitive one.

“We’re all friends. It’s a great little group,” he said.

Along with his work in radio, Igo has also written and self-published a novel.

“I am a huge Tom Clancy fan,” Igo said. “(Clancy) stopped writing at one point and I thought to myself ‘Boy, I really need my fix.”’

If he could write 500 or so pages of commercial copy for WPOR, where he was working at the time, Igo figured he could write a whole book.

“I thought, ‘That’s a novel right there,’” Igo said.

When Clancy went on hiatus in the 90’s, Igo said he was inspired to compose a story based on the political scene of the late 1990s with the president’s public indiscretions and the speaker of the house “waving his finger” at him.

“I said, ‘What if I didn’t make him an adulterer?’” Igo said. “I made him a Russian spy and that’s where the story went.”

Igo titled his book “Taken Identity” and he self-published it in 2007. He said he had a literary agent for the book when he finished it in the early 2000s, but that person could not get a publishing house to pick it up. Friends of Igo volunteered as readers and helped him through the editing process before he self-published.

“I would still like to see ‘Taken Identity’ published conventionally through a major publishing house,” Igo said.

Since writing “Taken Identity,” Igo has completed a second novel, which he has yet to publish and he is currently working on another.

“‘Taken Identity’ was written in stolen moments,” Igo said.

At the time he wrote “Taken Identity” Igo worked in Boston and used his two-hour commute from South Portland as time to work out details of the story. He also took notes and wrote while he waited for his daughters to get out of dance class and he would take time to write in the mornings after he sent his children off to school.

“It’s a great way to pass the time. Once it starts flowing I don’t want it to stop,” Igo said.

“Taken Identity” is available at Nonesuch Books in South Portland and at Dunstan Corner in Scarborough. The title is also available to purchase and download as an e-book for Kindle, NOOK, and other electronic e-readers.

Igo said his career in radio is more than just hosting on the air and he has other tasks at Saga Communications that require him to be there at 3 a.m. Igo said he remembers a good portion of his years in radio when he regularly worked long hours, seven days a week. Since his children have all graduated high school at this point, he said things have slowed down a bit.

“We got involved actively in the community and did various booster groups and things like that,” Igo said.

Igo has most recently participated in the South Portland High School booster groups for hockey, lacrosse and music while his son attended the school.

“He’s a freshman in college now, but no sooner did we step away the historical society said, ‘Hey, why don’t you play with us?’” Igo said.

Igo is on the South Portland Historical Society Board of Directors. He also continues to help build the set for the high school’s musical every year and he participates in the Northeast Chapter of Dollars for Scholars, a network of community-based scholarship foundations run by volunteers in cities, towns and neighborhoods.

“It’s a great program nationally that is designed to give every high school graduates a little scholarship money to go toward education,” Igo said.

Igo tries to involve himself in the community as much as he can, but his schedule can make it difficult.

“When I can do it, I will, but there are times when I need to know my limits,” Igo said. “I do have to pick and choose.”

Igo enjoys the South Portland community and likes to “step up and make a difference” whenever he is able.

“As you go through, you notice there are many of the same people involved, whether it is a sports club or Little League or whatever, and you form those friendships,” Igo said. “I like to think that South Portland is a big city with a small community feel.”

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