In the spotlight....

Greg and the Morning Buzz

Greg Kretschmar, host
with Roadkill, Laura, Kelly and Kayla
WHEB-WGIR-Q106-WLKZ-WWOD
Clear Channel NH/MA
(603) 436-7300
www.morningbuzz.com
www.kretchy.com

 

 
Interviewed by Steve Harmon


If you have been to any of our Bitfest Dallas-Orlando-San Fran, you have seen Mr Greg Kretschmar:

New England Personality, Photographer, and one of our best friends...Harmon
---
 
The "Godfather".

Thats what they call me. Some even say there's a "Soprano" resemblance. I dont see it. I've been doing mornings here since 1987. In radio years, that qualifies me to be a Jurassic Park exhibit, I think. But having Blacksmith, Roadkill, Laura, and Kelly there each morning keeps it fun. We hope it does for you too....

As for me - I'm just a normal guy in an abnormal job. I've got a great wife, 2 great kids, and a job that lets me play for a living. Yeah, that doesn't suck.....
 

 

Harmonious:  Cast names and roles on show?  Introduce us to your show! Greg:  1-2.I’m the pilot, so to speak. I’m also the Dad of the show. I started here when dinosaurs roamed the earth. I’m a total New Englander, so I fit right in. Roadkill is our resident heavy metal wise ass, who will cut anyone in half verbally before they know what hit them. Laura is the organized Mom of the show. She’s  an unbelievable multi tasker with a bit of Hermione Granger thrown in. Oh yeah, she’s hot too. Kelly (a guy) is our dry witted, gambling loving news/sports guy, and Kayla is the youngest member of the show,  who is totally plugged in to every reality show and pop artist there is. Oh yeah, she’s hot too.

All of us on the show are from NH and ME – which, in this very territorial part of the country- is kind of important.

We’re kind of an anomaly, I think. We’re in medium markets – but since we cover a big area on the 4 stations we’re on – the show feels and performs like a big show, in a place you wouldn’t expect it. That’s one of the things I love about it.

 

Harmonious:  How do you bring your photography to the air? Greg:  I started my photography journey as a way to deal with the stress of a serious illness my daughter had about 8 years back. She’s fine now, but it was the scariest time in our lives. I used photography to help me refocus on the small things I had taken for granted – and that has extended into the way I live my life, and present myself on the show. I lived all of that on the air- so now the photography is just an extension of who I am.  I auction off signed prints every year for our major fundraiser,  and do photo flights with listeners.

 

Harmonious:  Biggest lesson you can share about doing a morning radio show Greg:  The biggest lesson is also the simplest:  It’s not rocket science. Don’t overcomplicate it. Its simply communicating with people – like they are your friends. Treat them as such. Talk about and do the things that connect with THEM in their lives. I always think of our show as the kitchen in their house. When they come downstairs in the morning – we’re there. So pull up a chair and join us.

 

Harmonious:  What's your biggest challenge been? GregImpacting the importance for us to reach outside the city limits of Dallas and Ft. Worth. The Metroplex is gigantic with literally hundreds of small communities, many of them rural. There are some who are completely out of touch with who our audience is, and changing that is job one. Constantly searching for opportunities to be in their community...go to them, not the other way around. The other biggest challenge is reminding people it's about the audience...not us.

 

Harmonious:  What's your biggest challenge been?

How do you freshen the show?

How often?
Greg:  Our biggest challenge isn’t something you will have to deal with, hopefully. Last year, after a 5 year battle, my co-host, Andy Blacksmith, passed away. He had been on the air with me for 17 years – and we did it all on the air. He talked about his illness, and his struggle, and was very open about it. Dealing with his illness behind the scenes took a toll on all of us. It’s so hard to watch your friend go through that while trying to pretend all is well on the air. When he died – we came back and did a tribute show with our closest friends and celebs who loved Andy. It was the best – and most therapeutic show I have ever done.  And from the response- it was exactly what the audience needed as well. I truly believe it strengthened our bond with our audience more than anything else could of.

All other challenges, when put next to that one, seem meaningless

 

Harmonious:  How much contesting do you like?  Do you use social to promote it? Great trick/idea  Greg:  Contesting: We do one a day, on average. And we just use it as a way to entertain and have some fun.  We pit the audience against our show members. I do it that way because I find that when you put two listeners against each other- its just not as funny.  We have some benchmark contests-  The 60 Second Jukebox being one.  They have to identify 4 songs in a minute – and if they start failing too bad- Roadkill makes fun of them. We do pre promote on Facebook/Twitter.  Most of the contests are used as an avenue to get them involved in a sponsor related prize.

 

Harmonious:  How often are you interacting with your audience on your social, Facebook...Twitter...Instagram? Do you ever buy Facebook to help with a post? Greg:  iHeartMedia stations will relate to the pressure we get to be active on social media and our websites. We are pretty active with posts- but careful not to wear out our welcome with the online audience. We promote guests and events there, as well as questions related to the show. For instance- I post a question about a subject I will bring up on the air that morning – and then when I actually do it on the air- I’ve got built in responses to help jumpstart the segment.  We always try to answer questions sent to us via social media, too –

 

Harmonious:  Our Jeff and *** Question:  One person is in a  bad mood, the rest of you     <do what to him/her?> Greg:  We have a rule: never bring the shit into the studio. We all try very hard to be positive every morning – and if for some reason we’re not having a good day- we deal with it by admitting it. Listeners have bad days too, right? BUT- we usually try to do something we know that person really digs – a contest or segment, or play a bit - to help get them out of it. I have also – in the middle of a break – taken off my shirt. If you have seen me – you know that shit is funny – because I aint pretty. <awwww now wait, no OK-Harmon>

 

Harmonious:  Bits that work today?

How do  you young up your show?  For instance do you still say...saw it in the newspaper>?  
Greg:  Bits that worked TODAY:  Did you hear the story about the dude who had to call 911 because his CAT wouldn’t let him in the house? Well that’s about the most embarrassing thing ever. Total loss of the man card. Who the hell lets a CAT do that to them? Friggin wuss. And to call 911? Horrendous. That’s a call NO GUY should ever make. And that’s what we went with:  What 911 call would any guy be embarrassed to make? -  The answers:  Lost in a corn maze,  ran out of gas, hit by a train.   We also had a great segment when Roadkill called Laura out for making an obnoxious drinking noise with her new waterbottle. It led to a ton of calls of the little things co workers do that drive you insane  (ie: nose whistlers….)

We keep the show young with the help of Kayla. She’s totally plugged into the lingo, and trends. I also use my 21 and 23 year old kids. I was on Snapchat long before anyone else on the show.

 

Harmonious:  Bits that used to work but need to be re worked or simply trashed>? Greg:  Bits that need to be re-worked, or trashed?  Well I normally “retire” bits when they’ve run their course. We were doing Facebook Theater every Thursday – but when they started all sounding the same-  we dropped back to every other week. If I get to the point where the segment runs its course, I’ll just quietly retire it.

 

Harmonious:  Staffing issues, do you have all the help you need or are you a little stretched? Greg:  I think every station in America that isn’t in a top 20 market is understaffed. We struggle like everybody else- but I’ve always told the guys on our show that we have to set the example. We set the tone in the building. If we don’t go above and beyond what’s expected of us – how can we expect anyone else to do the same? Having said that-  yes, there are times when we feel strained…

 

Harmonious:  Who decides the personality of your accounts and manages them?  Is it a show member, or a digital team? Greg:  We don’t have the luxury of having a digital director who posts as us. We have a webguy who helps with station driven posts, but we post all the show related stuff ourselves. I don’t like leaving how we’re presented to someone else- so Im comfortable with that..

 

Harmonious:  Do you find doing live shows on location valuable?  What determines a live show vs. saying no to sales?
 
Is it better to just go to Facebook Live?
Greg:  Live shows:  We do a few live broadcasts a year. We don’t do it often because taking a 5 person show out is a project. Remember, we don’t play music- so we have to be total content for 4 and ˝ hours. So – when we go out, we want it to be an event that can provide us with content opportunities. And since we don’t live in a major market with celebs coming and going all the time – that’s challenging. And taking us out of the studio takes away many of the tools I use to do the show. Sales is understanding of this.

We’ve used Periscope, and now Facebook Live to help bring the show (both live on the air, and behind the scenes) into the audiences homes (or phones). That’s kind of the new way to  do a live broadcast, I guess…

 

Harmonious:   Are you on sales calls daily? Greg:  Sales calls:  We do go out on sales calls, especially with client endorsement opportunities, but it’s certainly not a daily, or even weekly thing.

 
Harmonious:  With a smaller budget available for promoting your show, is social the way to get noticed?

How do you get noticed in a very fast changing cycle?
Greg:  Getting noticed on a small budget:  We are lucky to have a great relationship with the state ABC TV affiliate, and we do a bunch with them. We’ve hosted weeks of their classic shows  (MASH, Gilligans Island, Star Trek), done their evening magazine shows, and I host a one on one interview show once in a while too.

Getting noticed in a fast changing cycle? Easy. I MAKE the news. I take people hostage in our studio and call the news crews.  Of course, I haven’t done it yet. I’m saving that one for when the moments right…

 

Harmonious:  Was there a radio star you loved growing up listening to?  Greg:  If you grew up in New England and  listened to rock radio- you love WBCN. Charles Laquidara, Ken Shelton, and Mark Parenteau were radio Gods to me.

 
Harmonious:  The best BitBoard bit we ever tried was....."

 
Greg:  And the best Bitboard idea we ever did? Wow- there's been a ton, but I know we've used the bit where we dropped a French Peugeot from a crane when France wouldn’t let the US fly through it’s airspace. We made the national news for that, which was pretty cool…<Thanks Paul Castronovo>

 

 

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