10 Questions with ... Kevin Cruise
January 19, 2010
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WVRV/St. Louis
- 2000 - present: KUUU where I started at middays, then added production director. I then moved to MD and afternoons around 2002 or so. I eventually became APD, and production manager for our two yearly shows (Cinco de Mayo and Summerjam). In December 2008, I was named PD.
1. Have you made any New Year's resolutions?
Not really; however, I'm celebrating my 10th anniversary at KUUU in May and I'm thinking about using all of my vacation this year. I've always wondered what it would be like to use my vacation days.
2. Initially, what got you interested in Radio?
Music. A little Kevin Cruise background: I played jazz saxophone for over 12 years. In addition to learning jazz theory (hard as sh*t by the way); I learned about music in general. I believe having a music background helps me to hear hit records. Your ears are trained as a musician and it's easy to use that training in the radio world. Plus, it's fun! I didn't want a job I was going to hate for the rest of my life, and I have a passion for music.
3. Salt Lake City is now a PPM market. What's the biggest change you've seen in the numbers?
No surprise in the numbers. We were happy to see the pre-currency numbers on KUUU. I heard a lot of "oh you guys are going to have to become a lot more dance/mainstream". That really bothered me when people outside of this market would say that. First of all, you don't know this market like I know it. Salt Lake is a unique market and we were able to prove hip hop works if you program it the right way.
4. What questions did your air staff have for you as KUUU moved into the PPM world?
The KUUU air staff wants to win, so most of their questions were based on what kind of music do the listeners really want to hear. For the most part the air staff wants to know what they can do to better the station.
5. How much has your job changed in moving from the APD/MD spot to the PD gig at KUUU?
Music is no longer my priority. It's a sad fact when becoming a PD. Most of the duties I have were already being handled by me as an APD. The biggest difference would be my communication with our sales manager. She and I have a great relationship and it helps to have that relationship so we can keep bad ideas off the air. The hours are pretty much the same, but I have to give a lot of thanks to my Music Director, Booker. Booker has really taken up the realm of music on KUUU and I'm happy to have someone to rely on when it's needed.
6. In addition to your PD duties, you continue as the afternoon drive personality on KUUU If you had to choose one over the other, which would it be?
That is a tough question for me. I love being on the air, but there are challenges when being the PD. I try very hard not to track, but the reality is I need to be in meetings at times when I'm on the air. When that happens I try to schedule on slower days of the week and earlier on in the show (I'm on air 2p - 6p). I'd like to say that I would eventually come off the air, but I don't know that my personality would ever allow for that. Maybe I can just be on the air for 2-3 hours and still be PD at some point in my life? I know I'll eventually have to come off the air, but until then I enjoy the time in the studio.
7. KUUU does a tremendous job with big concerts in Salt Lake City. What's your favorite part of producing the shows? Least favorite?
Thanks! Most don't know that we produce our shows in house. I handle everything from booking, hotel, ground, venue, sound/lighting/staging, dressing rooms, catering, etc. My favorite part is the day of the show. That's when the months of promoting on air and all the work comes into play. It's the day I see if I'm as organized as I say I am.
Least favorite is dealing with artists that think they are better, or worth more, than they are. We all have a job to do, and having to deal with arrogant artists/managers/production agents is the biggest pain. I have a handful of artists I will never work with again because of their attitude. Plus, I've enjoyed creating relationships with artists that I never thought I would have. It's rewarding when the headliner is easy to work with and grateful for the promotion you have given him/her. (On the other side of that I also produce shows for our Top 40, KUDD - so I hate summer LOL).
8. KUUU is unusual in that the station's primary target is Men. How has that been an advantage in your market?
The split in SLC is slightly more men than women. It helps when the market leans more toward the demographic. It helps us stay more true to the term "hip hop". Where more hip hop stations are moving more crossover/mainstream we can get away with playing an album track from Eminem.
9. In 2010, what area of your "game" do you want to improve?
Honestly, I wish I had the time for the smaller things. If I could improve one thing it would be the little stuff in my day. There are articles I want to read, etc that there just isn't time for. After a 9-10 hour day each day, and remotes on the weekend, I'm just too tired when I get home to check out articles or read up on industry news. I'm sure I could improve my patience as well. It's difficult to handle record people when the stresses of the job are not always playing their record. Programmers have so much to keep control over and it's easy to become frustrated when talking to a pushy rep.
10. If you were to leave Radio today and you could choose any other occupation, what would it be?
Chef...hands down. I love to cook and I would love to go to culinary school if I had the time. Hey, might as well go from one job that makes no money to another, right? I'm sure as hell not going to work for a bank! If I had the space and the money I would start a shelter for Labrador Retrievers. I have two Labs (one I just rescued) and love dogs. I'd love to get all the unwanted Labs off the street and take care of them.
What's your dream market?
I don't think I have one. As long as I can live my life comfortably (maybe even a little "too comfortable"), and do what I enjoy I'll be happy. I really do love Salt Lake City...now if we can just get more snow so the snowboarding would be a little better then I'd be extremely happy. This is a great city to live in. It's clean, and there is a perception of this state that is totally wrong. I don't really care if people don't want to visit or move here. That just means more snow for me, and more time hiking our great mountains! I've lived in a lot of places and this is definitely one of the most beautiful cities in the United States.
Personally, what would you like to find more time to do in 2010?
Play Assassin's Creed II. I love this game, but I don't have the time to finish it and it's starting to bother me!!! Plus, I really need to use vacation days. I need to learn how to take time off, but it's hard as KUUU is the most active station in Salt Lake City.