February 3, 2021 marks Trey’s 50th year in radio. That’s the anniversary of his very first “on-air” radio broadcast at KPCA-AM in Marked Tree, Arkansas, on February 3, 1971. This is his story of how a 9-year-old ended up on the radio. “I’ve been in radio literally since I was 9 years old, when I wrote down school news on a piece of notebook paper and had my mom drive me to the radio station hoping the guys who hosted The Treehouse talk show would read it. They let ME read it! From that moment, I knew that radio was what I wanted to do. I gave up Little League baseball, and every other kid sport and activity, so that I could hang around the radio station.”
After that faithful day that Bill Lawson and Jerry Ashlock let him read the school news, he spent the next five years pestering station manager Dewitt Waites to let him hang around the station for free. Dewitt eventually let him have his own radio show by the time he was in the sixth grade. At 14, Trey was ready to get paid for his radio gig, so his grandmother, Pauline Bartholomew, helped him negotiate a paying part-time job up the road from Marked Tree at KTMN-AM in Trumann, where he worked during his high school years.
In 1979, Trey returned for KPCA in Marked Tree and was named general manager at age 18, just three months after high school graduation. He managed the station for five years, spending some of that time attending Arkansas State University.
Trey moved to Jonesboro in January 1984 and served as general manager at KNEA. In August of that year, he and friend Bill Little had the opportunity to buy KDXY-FM in Paragould. Trey and Bill operated the station until 1993 when Trey joined Bill Pressly, Bob Pressly, and Kevin Neathery to form a new company that purchased KDXY and later KEGI and KJBX to complete the Triple FM Radio Group with Trey as its Vice President/General Manager. In 2003, the company was sold to radio veteran Ed Christian’s Saga Communications group out of Michigan and renamed Jonesboro Radio Group (JRG). Since that time, Trey has continued to serve as the JRG’s President/General Manager. JRG now has six stations operating from their historic building at 314 Union in downtown Jonesboro: KDXY-104.9 The Fox, KEGI-100.5 The Eagle Rocks, KJBX-Mix 106.3, Hot 107.5FM The Party Station, EZ 92.7FM, and 98.5FM The Outlaw.
Trey’s first love about the radio business was being on the radio. He has been doing a morning show since the Spring of 1979 while at KPCA. He did his first morning show on KDXY (then K-105) on Labor Day, 1984. He has been doing that shift ever since. Jim Frigo joined Trey in September, 1997 along with the late Mark Ford. The Stafford and Frigo morning show has been the Number One radio morning show in Jonesboro since 1999.
One of Trey’s interests as a kid was weather. That interest, combined with the role radio plays in the weather, led to five years as KAIT-TV Jonesboro’s week end weather anchor from December 1992 to November 1997. He is also a Past President (1997) of the Arkansas Broadcasters Association. In between all of that, he married his wife Jenna in 1996, welcomed his daughter – Ellie – in 1998, and was surprised by triplet boys – Treyson, JD, and Chaz – in 2001. He is the son of the late CP and Glada Stafford of Marked Tree. His sister Paula and her family live in Nashville.
Trey’s life motto is “Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” That motto is summed up in his quote to Radio Ink Magazine in 2014 when he was a finalist for “General Manager of the Year” in their nationwide contest: “I never ask this staff to do anything I don’t do, or haven’t done, or wouldn’t be willing to do again myself. And to show what someone’s attitude should be on a daily basis, watch me. I’m having fun, and you should too!”
Here’s to 50 more years of fun on the radio and in life, Trey!