10 Questions with ... E.J. Greig
February 11, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
The business is in my blood, as I am the son of a former TV news anchor and reporter. I grew up playing and exploring behind the scenes in TV newsrooms as my mother anchored the news. My first radio job was an unplanned and a spontaneous gift. A major influence on my life was my grandfather, a minister who had a weekly religious radio broadcast. I accompanied him to a broadcast session one day, and the board operator never showed up. I figured out how to work the board and had him on the air and up and running in a few minutes. I was a young teenager and they hired me that day. When I was a senior at the University of Michigan, I met the popular Detroit Urban radio host John Mason of FM 98 WJLB, who is now the announcer for the Detroit Pistons. Mason was the manager of a '90s R& B Group UNV. The Powe Brothers of U.N.V. are my first cousins. Mason got me a job at WJLB/Detroit. From there it was off to Chicago for a brief stint at the now-defunct 106 JAMZ, WEJM. My big break came when I was offered a job at Hot 97.5 WHAT/Atlanta. It was in Atlanta that I was blessed to have worked with Ludacris, LaLa, Chaka Zulu and other big stars in the game. I was the first person to put Chris (Ludacris) on the radio rapping. He did my intro song. Since then I have worked for WVEE (V103)/Atlanta, WOWI (103 JAMZ)/Norfolk, VI, and WQHH (Power 96.5)/Lansing.
1) So what twists and turns have there been with your career?
I remember being fired from HOT 975 in Atlanta by a volunteer/intern who became PD in a matter of months. Then getting hired by Metro Traffic to work with the afternoon-drive announcer at V103 and being fired within a month. So I joined the U.S. Navy, which turned out to be a blessing. I was stationed in Norfolk, VA and got a part-time gig on WOWI. I stayed there nine years after being discharged from the Navy.
2) What makes Cincinnati listeners different from other cities?
For the Wiz, it's the diversity of our P1 listeners. We are only 12% people of color.
It is also a very conservative city.
3) How do you see the future for radio and for Urban radio?
Of course, digital is the future, but as long as radio continues to roll with the changes, we will always survive. We now call our listeners "USERS." We focus on all of our digital platforms, just as much as we do our on-air presentation. WIZNATION.COM is 127% over our monthly goal. A good example of how millennials embrace the digital/social media format is our text element. We announced a Future concert at a local club Tuesday at 4:15. As of 4:33p there were 1,338 people who responded to the WIZ shortcode. That's 15 minutes into the campaign. Radio One does a great job of using these tools. (Shout-Out to Colby Colb and Jay Stevens!)
4) Let's talk music, what's your process for selecting what gets played?
Callout research and using our digital platforms keep us in the know for our key demos. My MD, D.J. Skillz, is in the clubs three to four nights a week as well. When we prepare our rotations, we chop it up with Colby or Jay, to be sure we are on point. It works. We are consistently numbers 1, 2 or 3.
5) What people have influenced your career and how?
My late father Edmund R. Morris, Sr; my late grandfather Bishop Harold W. Speights, John Mason, Janet Gee, Eric Mychaels, Rick Party, the late Tre Black, Jay Stevens, Colby Colb and Steve Harris. To name a few!
6) You wear so many hats, how do you find time to get so much done? What's a typical workday like?
We start at 8:30 Monday with a managers' meeting. 9:30 PD POW WOW (Jeri Toliver, Chris Colman, and myself get together often to strategize.) At 10a, I'm on the air until 2p. My producer, Ms. Ebony Jay, and I will post to our website and send out blasts via social media. At 2p, grab some lunch (on the run normally), and do music followed by an aircheck/one-on-one session. Our promotion meetings are on Tuesdays at 2p, but normally there are several small break-out or planning sessions in the afternoon.
That's the short version. LOL. You just do it! Thank God for a great team! Jade West is the best morning show producer in the business. Ms. Ebony Jay started volunteering for the station when she was 12. Her passion, now at 23, is just as kindled as it was when she walked in at 12. She is growing into a great radio personality, producer, and more or less assistant online editor. D.J. Skillz is my afternoon-drive guy and MD. He knows this market, loves the music, the culture, and works hard. My night guy is a legend in this city; Don Juan Fasho is #1 at night by double digits.
7) If I came for a visit, what places would you take me to see and restaurants to eat?
You have to do Skyline Chili in Cincinnati and the Underground Railroad Museum. Of course, during football season it's the Bengals game! (WHO DEY!)
8) Is it hard being both on the air and critiquing the other jocks?
No. Lead by example. Inspect what you expect. My only complaint would be the time it takes away from admin and music duties. That's challenging.
9) What are some of the yearly events your station takes part in?
Cincinnati Closing the Health Gap weekend, Cincinnati Black Family Reunion, The Taste of Cincinnati, and Women's Empowerment.
10) Where do you see yourself in this business in the future? What's your end game?
I want to write a screenplay about my life and my family after radio. It's funny, but I have wanted to do this for a long time. I recently found out my mentor and new boss Colby Colb is actually doing just that -- writing a screenplay about his journey.
1) What would people who think they know you, be surprised to learn about you?
My family background. My sister is a VP for the National Minority Supplier Development Council. My Mom was one of the first writers at CNN, and became an anchor person and reporter in two markets. My father was a well-known activist in the '60s and '70s in Michigan. My grandfather was Presiding Bishop of the Churches of God for 16 years. My uncle played for the San Diego Chargers. My cousin is Tony award-winning actress Mary Alice, and I can't forget my cousins, Shawn and John Powe from U.N.V. I COME FROM GOOD STOCK ... LOL
2) What frustrates you the most about radio and the music industry?
Newcomers who expect to be Russ Parr overnight. I worked for 15 years as a part-timer before getting a legit full-time job at WOWI.
3) How do you feel about Nielsen Audio's PPM and existing Diary method of measurement?
It is what is. We have learned how to program accordingly.
4) What are some of your favorite stations other than yours, you like listening to?
Z1079/Cleveland. WKYS/DC. WHAT/Atlanta. Power 107.5/Columbus.
5) What do you think it takes to be a successful PD?
FAVOR. Patience, experience, creativity. FAITH IN GOD AND PRAYER UNCEASING!