Director of Digital
HOT 97, Emmis Communications
New York, N.Y.
If Jeffrey A. Thacker could be a superhero, the self-described comic book enthusiast would be the Green Lantern, like whom Thacker is humble, a natural leader, wasn’t born with special powers, but has a strong sense of duty and responsibility. Director of digital for HOT 97, the legendary hip-hop radio station owned and operated by Emmis Communications, Thacker grows the station’s digital presence by creating outlets for unsigned artists to be heard, and promoting events through video, social media, interviews and design. Traffic to the site has soared and social reach counts more than one million Facebook followers. “We use our digital footprint to bring people together because radio still breaks new music and sets trends,” says Thacker, who holds a bachelor’s in computer animation and graphic design from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and a master’s in communication design and motion media from Pratt Institute.
With digital platforms and social media relatively new at the time, Thacker joined a small team in the early 2000s, assuming a position that was ripe with possibilities, which he was sure he knew how to maximize. The small team of three now has more than 20 young professionals — all specializing in social media, video, web and print design, and public relations, and realizing more than 200 percent growth in engagement and activity on the sites year to year.
Close to Thacker’s heart is The Love Mike and Nia Foundation, named for Mike Muchioki and Nia Haqq who were murdered in a carjacking after their engagement party in 2011, and which he helped to establish and operates. He and Muchioki shared a bond through Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. The foundation provides scholarships to students attending New Jersey Institute of Technology and The College of New Jersey, alma maters of Muchioki and Haqq, respectively.