10 Questions with ... Strawberry
September 20, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Born at KHQT/San Jose, then grew up at KYLD/San Francisco. I spent 10 years at KYLD, dominating nights for over five years, then graduated to mornings where I firmly held my own in the shadow of the legendary Doghouse. After a two-year stint as APD and afternoons, then mornings in Phoenix, it was back home to the City by the Bay!
1) How would you describe your first radio gig?
Probably the same description everyone else gives: overworked, underappreciated intern, answering phones, pulling carts and CDs, making food runs and yes, even crawling through the drop-down ceiling and into the promotion director's office for night show prizes.
2) What artist would we be surprised to find on your iPod?
I have a huge hip-hop and rap playlist, a ton of mixes, pop artists like Kelly Clarkson, The Killers, and several hours of Santana. But people always need an explanation for the 39 Neil Diamond songs and his "Essential Neil Diamond" greatest hits album. Honestly, one of my favorite albums -- before my time, but holds sentimental value.
3) What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
I am a certified personal trainer, as well as CrossFit certified. Mornings and afternoons before coming to 997NOW, I am at the gym kicking peoples' asses, Jillian Michaels style! Wait! I mean, the DUDE version of her... the guy on that show... Bob Harper.
4) Could you give us a little insight into your on-air staff?
Well ...with Fernando & Greg, "the first openly gay duo to host a morning broadcast on American commercial radio," Letty B. doing middays and the legendary St. John in afternoon drive, I am the only one here who likes vagina. I can also tell you that NONE of them like to be pranked. During a transit strike, I "borrowed" St. John's new Audi and had my phone op pick up people and drive them home. Saint did not appreciate the bit when he found out it WASN'T A BIT! Between F&G, one of them hates me and the other has a crush on me ... I'm just not sure which one. Most recently, Letty left a Tiffany bracelet in the studio that ended up making its way to some of San Francisco's finest strip clubs! Link: http://997now.radio.com/2011/07/11/what-should-we-do-with-letty-bs-bracelet/
5) If you could add one full-time position to your budget right now, what would it be?
Forget the position! Let's build a "Smush Room" in here! Jersey Shore style! (Chunk, my producer, likes that idea ... he also likes to impregnate interns.)
6) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
If I can get clearance to use his name, Big Von. If I can't get clearance to say his name, then I'll just say he is an extremely talented jock and host at an in-market Hip-Hop station. I love this guy. We came up together, interning and driving vans at the same time. (He actually crashed one into a public bus). He is ridiculously, naturally talented. Nothing on his show sounds forced or fake. He loves the music and has become a fixture in that market segment. Aside from the time when he and I caused an entire N*YSNC concert to be cancelled and narrowly missed termination and a lawsuit (Michael Martin will verify), some of my best memories are from the times we worked together.
7) Looking back, which years hold the best musical memories for you and who were your favorite acts at that time?
I'm a West Coast dude, born and raised. No doubt- the early '90s! Dr Dre "The Chronic," Snoop Dogg "Doggy-Style," 2Pac "All Eyez On Me," E-40 "In A Major Way," (NOTICE HOW GANGSTA I AM? Ha ha!) My first concerts and music festivals were in '93 and '94 as well. Good times.
8) What is it about our industry that keeps you wanting to do it for a living?
No dress code. Free stuff. And it makes me feel like I can get hot chicks.
9) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
"Music is king."
10) What is the current state of the radio "talent pool"?
Seems to be a self-induced problem. I know a lot of extremely talented individuals who have been out of a gig for WAY too long ... and it breaks my heart. I've also seen great teams broken up and separated. It all happens for the same reason -- budgets. Companies have a number to hit, so they cut the jocks with the big paychecks and promote a street teamer or weekender who never sat through an aircheck meeting, or pulled an overnight shift, which have also been cut due to budgets. In the PPM world the music rules, but you have to have someone between the songs who -- simply put -- has been TRAINED.
What's the biggest gaffe you've made on-air?
For those of you who know JoJo Wright, you are aware of his obsession with all things paranormal. Back when I was his van driver/stunt boy, when he was ruling nights in S.F., he had spent weeks preparing a Halloween broadcast complete with a séance and a huge audio effects production of himself becoming possessed by evil spirits. I was board op that night for him, everything was smooth, I hit all his cues and on his signal, dropped out his mic and began running the produced "spirit possession." Moments later he called the hotline asking how it sounded. To this day I don't know exactly how it happened but some switch on the reel-to-reel machine was engaged and our entire conversation about "how real it sounded" and "you totally fooled everyone" went out live over the air. The loudest noise I heard in my life was my PD, Michael Martin, sprinting down the hall and throwing that sound-proof door open giving me the "CUT IT! YOU'RE ON THE AIR" motion to the neck! Two decades later, this is my worst moment and I still feel bad.
I literally ruined the entire hoax.