10 Questions with ... Greg Crawford
May 13, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started as a Board Op at KFWB/Los Angeles, during the end of Color Channel 98.
My next stop was Denver, where I was the Original Night Hawk on KDKO, a Soul and R&B Station out of Littleton, CO. I moved up and down the dial, working at WTBY/Waterbury, CT; WNHC/New Haven, CT; KYNO/Fresno, CA; KAFY/Bakersfield, CA; WIXY-A/Cleveland (Globetrotter Communications); and I was promoted to OM-PD at WGCI, Chicago. I did weekends at WIND/Chicago before they pulled the plug on the music and went News/Talk. Then I moved on to Transtar - Unistar Satellite Radio Network, Los Angeles. I spent 13 years in Michigan, most recently at WZPX, Ion TV Master Control Op, and doing weekends on 100.5 WTRV (The River), Grand Rapids, MI.
1) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
I am on the Internet a whole lot more than I used to be. I write short story scripts. I'm spending more time making short micro-docs. We just wrapped a theatrical short film, a dark comedy about an aging radio personality looking for one last gig. We are hoping to enter several film festivals with this short. We are planning on showing it to several focus groups before we edit the final version. We believe our little film will play well with radio people. Our research is aimed at the general public.
As a footnote, in film production you wear a lot of hats or use a lot of hyphens. In this, my latest effort, I was the writer-producer-cinematographer. One of my oldest and best friends, Ted Jordan, a former KYNO/Fresno boss jock, directed and played the lead. Ted has produced and directed five Family Faith features, and on occasion has played some small parts in his own films. Ted did a great job of acting, playing a curmudgeon, which is way out of character to his positive up-beat personality.
2) Some people get discouraged or enlightened with the business when they actually step out of it for a while. Tell us your observations from the outside.
While working part time as a Master Control Op at Fox 17 in Grand Rapids, a mean thunderstorm entered our viewing area, producing hail, strong winds and a chance of tornados. During the Saturday night-Sunday morning shift, I would be the only one on duty and in the building. That night, our Chief Meteorologist stayed after the evening newscast till around 4a, doing VO cuts. The EAS announcements kept rolling in, each one about 10 minutes too late to actually help anyone. I could not help but thinking that radio has abdicated its leadership position in providing timely items in the public interest. What is really sad is that most people needing this information would be out driving, not at home watching TV.
3) What's the craziest thing you've ever done to get a job?
When I was working at WNHC/New Haven, CT back in 1971, a DJ friend of mine came out and visited me from California. He tried his best to convince me to look for work in California, and tried to talk me into coming out west. He told me that he would find a job for me. I gave him a couple of airchecks and a few resumes. At the time I did not know that he went out of his way to meet and befriend a program director of the #1 station in that market, for the sole purpose of giving him my tape and resume when the time was right. It happened sooner than later. The PD casually mentioned that he had an all-night opening. My friend jumped into action, handing him my T&R that he just happened to have, and hyping him to hire me over a couple of drinks at Cedar Lanes Bowling Alley in Fresno.
I would not recommend ever doing that. My "friend" bragged to one of the other jocks about what he had done, and a little over a year later I found myself fired without any explanation.
4) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
For the longest time I was trying to get back in the Chicago market. On the more practical side, part-time (under 30 hrs) in the Southwest or Southeast would be fine. After all we do own an RV now.
5) What's the most unbelievable question you've ever been asked in an interview?
Once on an interview, I had a manager glance down my resume, notice that I had been out of work for a year at one point, and ask me if I had been in jail. I answered NO, and gave him the back story details ... that both my mother and stepfather were dying, and I was taking care of them. My wife was employed full-time in the medical profession and I was home taking care of our three-year-old daughter.
6) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
It's definitely a buyers' market. Since I am semi-retired and on Social Security, my compensation expectations are lower. My good points are a "get things done" attitude, attention to detail, and my on-time record beats all the major airlines. Being older, it is sometimes hard to get past stereotypes. I have met a lot of people who have given up learning new things, and keeping up on technology. I promised myself that I would embrace new technology and not let it roll over me.
7) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
I listen a lot when I am driving on long trips, mostly.
8) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
Two come to mind. As a PD-OM of WGCI/Chicago. I was able to bring the ratings up from 0.5 to 3.8 in one book while running a voicetrack operation. It was myself and one part-timer. For promotions, we had to two billboards, a few TV commercials and $1,000 cash to give away during the book. During that time period, WLS gave away 44 Fords and WMAQ was giving away $10,000 every week with their "WMAQ is going to make me rich" promotion. The other accomplishment is a footnote really ... staying nearly 10 years at the Transtar Radio Network in Los Angeles.
9) Is there anything specific that you regret doing while you were still working?
I was driven to make it to the top, the bigger the market the better. I have learned to realize that life is a journey and to enjoy the trip.
10) If you were offered a similar position to what you were doing for considerably less money, would you seriously consider taking the job just to stay in the biz?
Yes, call now. Operators are standing by to take your order. Call now!
What great movies have you seen?
"Heaven is for Real."
We've done the final edit on my short film "The WREN," a dark comedy. It's about an aging Boss Jock, looking for his last radio ride. We have entered it in the Waterfront Film Festival in Saugatuck, MI. I'm hoping that we'll be accepted. We should know any day now.