Feature: J. Michael Wilder Plays it Straight

Published in Profile July/Aug/Sept 2013

In a little town carved out of the mountains of southeast Kentucky, the “Wildman’s” voice once crackled over the 1410 AM frequency.


Though he had “spun the discs” and read the news for three years in Harlan, Kentucky, his last stint on the air was a return from hiatus. After a semester at the University of Kentucky, and eight months of hard labor in an Indiana foundry, J. Michael “Wildman” Wilder returned to his hometown and picked up where he left off—at the job he landed as a freshman in high school.

As a boy, Wilder never envisioned himself pacing in front of a jury or even leaving Kentucky. Now, as the vice president, general counsel, and secretary for Marathon Petroleum Corporation, the executive’s title may be a far cry from the radio personality he once was, but Wilder’s character is still rooted in Harlan County and a family that raised him to value more than recognition …

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