The Z-89 Cray-Z Morning Crew & Big Mike – Calling it as we saw it

Danny and Scott in LA via electrons

25 years and 3000 miles later, it's a party!

In 1985, I produced a morning Radio show with a host of other talented folks on a new FM station in Syracuse, NY. It was a demanding, crazy time during a tumultuous part of my life, and I had a ton of fun. I recently went back for our 25th radio reunion, and caught up with people, which dragged out the archives. So I though I’d clear the air about the ‘Big Mike’ episode. More after the Break

We had been on the air for about a month – 5-6 DJ’s working with 2 producers, and a few dozen sports and radio reporters, doing a jumble of comedy, news, information, and alternative top 40 music. ‘Alternative’ meant we’d play songs that would be top 40 months before they hit the chart, then would dump them as old as the regular station started playing them. It was ‘The Freshest sound in town’, and lived up to the hype.

We sounded a bit like an early Z-100 Morning Zoo before it was popular. Personality bits and skits in between good music, and smart ass commentary. Which is why when a month into our tenure, when one of the local stations switched to a similar style, we got a little miffed.

It didn’t help that the Program Director of that station also was a WJPZ alumni. We were a little pissed, but took it in stride, and called them the first morning and said we liked the new format… which spiraled downward pretty quickly.  Listen to the bit first. Then I’ll add to it.

Danny the K called with sincere thoughts, even though the rest of us were egging him on, he did think it was an improvement to the Y-94 show. They were Number one in the market, and we were shocked that they’d change ANYTHING, since they were the station to beat. And Mike obviously knew it was a bunch of punks calling from a station, since we said ‘on the air’ and other cues after he started rolling tape on HIS side of the conversation.

No, it was Danny’s throw away tag line that caught Mike by surprise. ‘Thanks a lot for calling, we’ll let you know how the pictures come out’.

We hung up. A smart ass prank call. We then we got a call back from one of his crew mates at Y-94 chastising us for being unprofessional, and that we weren’t worthy or would be as funny as him. Happy Dave took her out in 2 lines.

That’s where we thought the story would end. Nope.

The PD at Y-94 called up our station manager, pissed because Big Mike lost it after the call. How could we do that to him personally? An Alumni and person who helped get WJPZ on the air, and we’re destroying his talent with harassing calls?

We’re totally perplexed. This was totally mild. We actually complimented him, and the shitstorm this is kicking up is getting huge. So we dug a little deeper, and found out we weren’t really the problem. Danny tripped a wire he had no clue was there with his snarky comment.

Big Mike was going through some marital difficulties. Recently there had been some police involvement because of raised voices. And Mike somehow thought we were stalking him and taking photos.

Mike thought we were going to blackmail him about something we had no clue about. So he’s losing it at Y-94, dreaming up all sorts of doomsday scenarios, while we’re all fat, dumb and happy at our station, wondering what the hell is problem with us calling in and saying his wife had told us to tell him to bring home some white bread and mayonnaise.

In the end, nothing more came of it, but for a few days we were annoyed until the next project came up. But for the record, it was a simple, prank call. We’re good, but we’re not THAT good.

Here’s a link to more bits from the z-89 Cray-Z Morning crew in ’85. Enjoy.

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2 Responses to “The Z-89 Cray-Z Morning Crew & Big Mike – Calling it as we saw it”

  1. scottmercer Says:

    Yes. One of the better anecdotes.

    By the way, why didn’t you tell me the news about BYD?

  2. boffoyuxdudes Says:

    When Warren Buffett is in to you for almost 10%, you don’t rock the boat!

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