Chief Harpo exec shares journey of success
Cassie Rhea Little, The Oklahoma Daily
While speaking with an executive from Oprah Winfrey’s media corporation Friday, mass communication students were encouraged to take risks, do what they love and “go all in” to succeed in the professional arena.
Erik Logan, Executive Vice President of Harpo, Inc., shared his biography and career tips with students in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. He told them his story of growing up in Oklahoma, his previous jobs and the road to attaining his current position.
Logan started his career in 1985 working at an Oklahoma City country radio station as Chuck the Duck and Cody the Coyote.
“I aspired to be the best, and at one point, I wanted to be Mickey Mouse,” he said.
Eventually, Logan confronted his boss about being on the radio, and by his senior year of high school in 1989, was on the radio from 7 p.m. to midnight.
“I made the sacrifices and went all in,” he said. “I didn’t go to prom, and I worked on the holidays.”
Logan would study and write papers during songs and commercial breaks.
It was while he was on air, that he changed his name from Erik Toppenberg to Erik Logan, which is the surname from his uncle who was also previously in broadcast.
Michael Lloyd, The Oklahoma Daily
He encouraged students, like his employees, to believe honesty is the best policy.
“For every 10 minutes there is in a meeting, I spend an hour preparing for it,” he said. “I tell my employees, ‘Believe every word I tell you until I lie to you one time, and after I lie to you once, you don’t ever have to believe me again.’”
He also shared with students about how he criss-crossed the U.S., turning dying country music stations into top producers in the industry until larger corporations began to hire him for executive positions.
While he was working for XM Satellite Radio, Winfrey offered him a position with the company.
After turning her down, she upped her offer and Logan accepted.
Logan said he doesn’t believe luck got him to where he is today as much as preparation, opportunity and help from a higher power.
Courtney Corbeille, public relations junior, enjoyed Logan’s visit and said she could relate.
“He is very inspiring,” she said. “I’m a junior in college, and I’m looking for internships. He was a junior in high school, and was already starting his career.”