Member Spotlight – Jeff Cruz

What is your favorite song?
Right now… “KNOWN” by Tauren Wells.  so good. OF ALL TIME… wow. that is a hard one…  I’d have to say either “American Pie” by Don McLean or “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.  Both are just amazing to sing along with! 🙂

What is the last book you’ve read?
“Unoffendable” by Brant Hansen.  I recommend it to anyone that has not read it yet. it is funny and serious, but especially with the political environment and sensitive nature of people today, it is a valuable Biblical look at how to process information and choose NOT to be offended.  Something every single person can 100% benefit from.

What led you to a career in radio?
Love of music, and growing up down the street from one of the local legends of morning radio in Birmingham, Doug Layton.  I was able to see right away that it was a real career!

What advice would you give people new to the business?
Whether radio, or label side, or any job you get today… 2 things.

1) WORK HARD!  Do not be a clock-watcher.  Ask questions.  Come in early.  Stay Late, Volunteer for anything that needs to be done, especially if it gives you a chance to learn something new about the job!


2) BE PATIENT!  It takes time to climb the ladder. There is a lot to learn, and experiences to gain in order to truly learn most of it. Stick to it, and keep at it. Do not expect overnight success, promotions and pay raises.  It will all come in time.

Give a shoutout to someone who is making a difference in radio and what are they doing to make an impact?
There are a ton of men and women making significant impact in their communities and their teams out there, but one that immediately comes to mind is Scott Herrold!   He is killing it in Las Vegas. Scott has lead SOS to a great position in Las Vegas. They serve the community well in amazing ways, from partnering with local churches and ministries to help those in need nearby, to serving local first-responders and their families, to being a beacon of true hope for the whole community in the aftermath of the tragic shooting.

Scott has also become a real leader in our industry as a great programming mind that always shares ideas with others, as creator of CREATIVE CARDIO, as a CMB Board member, all while programming and doing mornings for a busy network!  At the same time, he gives back to his staff. He has helped so many amazingly talented folks come to, and move up from Las Vegas.  Rick Hall, Mike Couchman, Dan Young and many more have come from his team stronger than they came, and able to move on to other opportunities to great success on their own. He is definitely a guy I would’ve been honored to work for!

How do you refresh your creative energy at work?
FUN. We have a creative team and when we need to get the creative juices flowing, we go do something fun as a team. Never underestimate the power of a little fun down time together as a team to help distract from the block or rut you are stuck in, and jog your mind into a new fresh place.

Amazon Echo or Google Home?
Amazon is just the most amazing overall company, developed the ECHO way ahead of anyone else’s smart speaker, and Alexa is a good overall experience, so that is where I am for sure.  (and a general overall Amazon fan in general!)

Plus, thanks to Britt Whatley’s instagram video instructions, I have smart plugs and bulbs coming to set up my Christmas lights on command with Alexa too!  She made it look so cool!!

What is your favorite part of your job?
Getting to be a part of the process of getting songs that come in as rough demos, all the way to the connection with the fans and radio listeners.  As a program director, the part of the job I loved the most by far was trying to find a way to connect the listeners deeply with the messages in the songs and the hearts of the artists behind them.  That was how I knew that the station could win, the listener would benefit, the great songs would have the longest possible life and impact, and the artists would be able to build a fanbase that would allow them to tour, and create more music to keep that cycle going again and again.   Now, working on the label side, that is still all I think about. Finding the best songs for radio, is more than just a good hook or fun melody.  It is about finding songs that  listeners will deeply connect with or just plain love to hear, and ultimately lead to them becoming fans of the artist AND the station that facilitated that connection.  It just never gets old.

Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
Two of my  favorite radio personalities right now (though there are SO MANY GREAT ONES) are SARAH TAYLOR at KCMS in Seattle, and MORGAN SMITH at KSBJ in Houston. Very different in their style and personality but both are just unbelievable at communicating to the target audience in a very authentic, appealing way, without any gimmicks or extra silliness. Both are as great at meaningful conversation, as they are at witty observations. They know well who they are taking to, and serve them extremely well through their shows.

What was your last non-industry job?
I have a degree in Elementary Education and my last job that was not in the music or radio business was as an elementary school teacher for a couple years.  But after that, I did work for about 3 years for Arbitron, which is certainly a part of the industry in that it created the ratings for radio, but since what I did was train and support radio station sales people how to read ratings and use the software programs around them, it seems “industry”, even though it is very very different that working in radio or record label.  

Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
Honestly, I have been blessed to be a part of some amazing teams in my career, and to be a part of some amazing things along the way, but the one I am still most proud of was when I worked as APD / Music Director at Z88.3 (WPOZ) under Dean O’Neal, and the station achieved its goal of getting #1 overall in the Orlando ratings for all listeners, 12+.  It was a long process that involved lots of testing and adjustments to our music and programming for sure, but also was because of the marketing/billboard efforts, promotions exploding under Carol Ellingson, and the air staff at the time being some of the very best there are, and performing at the top of their abilities. I will never ever forget taking the printout of the ratings moments after they arrived into the studio to tell Dean, and seeing the look of surprise and excitement on his face… It was a very special time, and we all worked extremely hard, but the payoff was so worth it.

Teach me something I don’t know in the next five minutes.
Well as I mentioned, I worked for Arbitron training radio sales people on ratings.  One simple way I used to teach difference between Average Quarter Hour (AQH) listeners, vs. Cume Listeners is this…

If you hosted a party and invited everyone you know… and then stood at the door with a little counter and clicked it once for every person that came to the party, but only once… even if they left and came back… that is your total number of unique partygoers who attended your party, and that is your total CUME for the part.  (Cumulative total).

Now, if you had clicked the counter EVERYTIME someone came in, even if they left to go to their car to get something, and came back in, and then left to the store for snacks, and came back, etc… no matter what, you count them every time they enter… then at the end of the party, you divide the total number of people who came in every time, and divide that by the number of quarter hours (15 min periods) your party had (4 hour party would have 16 quarter hours).  That would give you an average of how many people were at the party at any given quarter hour during the party… So you may have had a total cume of 40 people, but an total entries of 100, over a 4 hour party that would give you an average party attendance any given 15 minute period (AQH) of 6.25

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
Orange.  Bright and fun, not too dark, not too light. You can color with it and it will stand out.

(and I am an Auburn Fan 🙂

Jeff Cruz
Provident Label Group – VP of National Promotion
CMB Silver Member Since 2013


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