McCartney was born in Everett, Washington after the Civil War. He graduated from the University of Puget Sound and earned an MBA from Thunderbird. He worked for PACCAR in Bellevue, WA where he was decruited to Bahrain and Singapore. His lack of sports marketing skills led to stints with the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Sounders and a minor league soccer team in Oregon. McCartney embraced mediocrity at a cowboy country radio station and promoted summer concerts before publishing a community newspaper. He's been married for decades, has two sons and a daughter.