John Kiesewetter reports:
Gary Sullivan can tell you how to fix a faucet, repair a roof and design a deck.
Just don’t ask the popular host of radio’s “At Home with Gary Sullivan” and TV’s “HomeWoRX” how to construct a career in broadcasting.
“This just sort of happened. I’m not smart enough to plan this,” says Sullivan, 60, whose weekend radio shows air on 225 stations coast to coast, plus on Sirius XM Channel 246.
When he was an executive for Cincinnati’s Hader Hardware chain in 1986, owner Jim Hader encouraged him to respond to WCKY-AM’s solicitation for a home improvement show host.
“Doing radio was the absolute furthest thing from my mind,” Sullivan says.
The one-hour Saturday fix-it show grew to three hours by fall. For 20 years, Sullivan has offered advice on Saturday and Sunday radio – and for nearly that long on TV – about everything from ceilings to sealants, and plumbing to plaster.
“He’s extremely knowledgeable,” says Jeff Cornwell, senior vice president for long-time sponsor Quikrete.
Sullivan’s friendly, helpful style goes back to his days as a 16-year-old stock boy at Carlson Hardware in Kenwood. Veteran employees “taught me how houses work, and I was intrigued by it,” he says.
The 1971 Moeller High School graduate dropped out of the University of Cincinnati in 1975 to help manage Hader Hardware’s Milford store, part of the Cheviot-based family company founded in 1888.
“In most cases, a home is someone’s biggest investment. And it’s very gratifying to help people,” says Sullivan, who grew up the Dillonvale area.
“When I’m on radio, it’s like I’m on the floor of the hardware store, or I’m at the split-rail fence in my backyard, and someone is asking about a toilet which won’t stop running.”
Except today he doesn’t have a fence.
The backyard of his spacious, four-bedroom brick two-story opens onto the Four Bridges Country Club golf course in Liberty Township. He and wife Susan, an accountant, were one of the first to build there in 1999, as he was completing his transition from Hader Hardware president to how-to media guru. (more…)