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Radio DJ-Dave Cruse
Three voices fill the speakers each morning on the way to school. They're the hosts of the Morning Cruise, Carmen Brown, Bill Martin and Dave Cruse. My mom and I usually find ourselves in the middle of a story or argument with no idea of what's being talked about, but we find ourselves laughing anyways.
The chemistry and hilarity between these three is infectious. Sometimes the stories told are incredibly fortuitous, or seem that way, and yet their responses and reactions fill the sound-waves with the name of the station: Joy.
I was recently given the opportunity to interview one of the hosts, Dave Cruse. His personality on the airwaves came through in his answers; and just like listening to the Morning Cruise makes me laugh, many of his answers did also.
RH- How did you first become a radio host?
DC- I was majoring in advertising at LSU and had gotten to know the managers of my local Christian radio station through a band I was in at the time. It was a commercial station that always needed sales people. Although I stink at sales, their sales people wrote and produced the commercials for the clients to whom they sold advertising. I joined the sales force my senior year of college so I could get practical experience writing and producing commercials. After a few months, I started helping with the music, doing a lot of commercial production and filling in on air. The ownership decided that they agreed that I stunk at sales, but thought I did real well on air and in production, so they moved me to afternoon drive and made me the Production Manager.
RH- Have you ever worked in secular radio; if so, what's the difference between that and Christian radio?
DC- I haven’t worked in secular radio but did work for an NBC television affiliate for a while and can tell you that the difference is night and day. People can be nice or nasty in either place, but you find much less “me” focus in Christian radio.
RH- What is the strangest call-in you've ever received?
DC- I once mentioned that there was a new Batman movie coming out and that it was expected to be a blockbuster. It was a passing reference, not an endorsement and was really just a vehicle to set up a trivia question about a caped crusader. That prompted a 20 minute conversation with a woman who wanted me to understand that all super heroes are of the devil because they don’t get their powers from God.
RH- Do you have a favorite memory while at the JoyFM?
DC- Several, but I’ll focus on one. I hadn’t been at The JOY FM long when we got an email from a woman named Debbie. She wanted us to know that she wasn’t a Christian but was listening because she felt her kids needed something spiritual in their lives. A few weeks later she called and asked for prayer for her kids ... then later for her husband ... then for herself ... then she wanted to know more about what it means to be a Christian. Within a few months of that first email, Bill Martin and I had the pleasure of welcoming Debbie into the family of God.
RH- My pastor's wife, Christi, would like to know if you, Bill and Carmen really get along as well as you appear on the show.
DC- Yes. We really do enjoy being around one another and pick at one another like siblings.
RH- If you were not a DJ, what would your job be?
DC- I’d probably be working in the creative department of an ad agency or quite possibly serving in ministry in a local church somewhere. I minored in religious studies and considered going to seminary. In fact while I was in college I served as interim music and youth minister for two different churches.
RH- Besides working at the JoyFM, what else do you do? Do you serve at your church, or anywhere else in the ministry?
DC- I have written the scripts for 4 Broadway style church musicals. I also play bass in the worship band every Sunday.
RH- What is your favorite song that plays on the JoyFM? Your favorite artist?
DC- That depends on the day. I love Matthew West, Steven Curtis Chapman, Amy Grant, Brandon Heath, Josh Wilson ... Right now I’m listening to the new Building 429 CD quite a bit.
RH- When you're hosting an event, have you ever had an interesting fan encounter, or experience with a musical artist?
DC- Too many to count. I’ve had great listener moments and scary ones (there was one listener who was a bit unstable and apparently thought I was sending her messages). As for artist experiences, I spent a week with Mark Schultz riding a bicycle across the state of Kansas to raise awareness for a ministry to orphans and widows. That was a great week filled with memorable moments including using a portable shower outside the tour bus on a very windy day in the parking lot of a mall.
RH- Does your family ever get embarrassed by the stories you tell on the air, or do you ask their permission beforehand?
DC- I don’t think I’ve ever embarrassed my family with a story I told on air. They’re all used to me bringing life to the airwaves and I’m pretty careful about how and what I’ll share and what I won’t.
RH- Would you mind giving us your testimony of Salvation?
DC- I grew up in church, raised by Christian parents who walked their faith out in front of us kids every day. I learned all the Bible stories and was king of the Sunday School Bible trivia games, but even though I walked the aisle and shook the preacher’s hand at age 7, I was in high school before i understood what it meant to be a disciple of Christ. At a church retreat I shook that same preacher’s hand and surrendered my life completely to Jesus, telling him I would walk through whatever door he asked me to, which has brought me here today.
RH- Do you have any tips for teens who want to possibly be a DJ in the future?
DC- Love the music. Read out loud and listen to your voice. Take some courses in creative writing and public speaking. Get your foot in the door at a local station by volunteering. Be willing to do whatever is needed and ask questions while you’re there. Learn all you can. Then, if you still have a passion and desire to be a DJ, know that it will mean long hours and low pay for quite a while. You may have to move around a bit to “climb the ladder” but if you love it, you won’t be happy doing anything else.