Broadcast Pioneers member Bob Craig began his radio career in 1963 as a studio engineer at WBZ in Boston. A year later and through the 1970s, he was an announcer at various stations in New England, including Hartford’s WDRC, and Boston’s WHDH.
His first programming job was at WICH in Norwich, CT, in 1966. He updated its old-line “middle-of-the-road” format, freshened the sound, and gained broader demos, larger audience and increased revenue.
In 1970, Bob decided he was ready for a medium market, so it was off to Hartford’s WDRC-AM, where he held down the mid-day slot for almost five years. In early 1976, he realized that with the emergence of such popular artists as Billy Joel, James Taylor and Joni Mitchell, who had not only hit singles but hit albums, there was a format that could serve a 25-44 audience with a softer blend of top forty and AOR. He convinced the ownership of WWYZ-FM in Hartford that they had nothing to lose by being the bottom-ranked station in the market, and everything to gain, by becoming one of the first “soft-rock” stations in the country. Within a year, YZ’s ratings leaped into the top five, not only in Hartford, but in New Haven as well.
In 1979, the success of YZ caught the attention of Greater Media’s WMGK-FM in Philadelphia. Bob was hired away to breathe new life into radio’s original “Magic” format. Within a year, he revamped and updated the station to become a role model for the industry in “adult contemporary” formats. Its ratings jumped from a 2.9 when he arrived to a 9.0 in the fall of 1980. Throughout the 1980s, WMGK consistently ranked among the top three Philadelphia radio stations in the 25-54 demo. Bob also introduced the market to “Smooth Jazz,” hosting a popular Sunday morning show on WMGK.
Shifting gears in the 1990s, Bob walked down the hall to Greater Media’s premier “Adult Standards” WPEN, where he put his headphones back on and returned to the airwaves, holding down various air shifts before settling into the mid-day slot, which included the highly popular “Solid Hour of Sinatra.” Soon he was tapped again by Greater Media to assume programming and music director duties, and he remained until the station retired the format in 2004.
He joined the air staff at WRTI in Philadelphia in 2005, where he’s delighted to present, in his well-informed and engaging way, one of his true loves: real jazz. He also hosts and produces a weekly 3-hour program, “Voices in Jazz,” on WRTI HD2, and the Sunday evening “Big Band Jazz” on WRTI-FM. Plus, Bob was heard daily, again presenting his “Solid Hour of Sinatra” on WHAT 1340 AM in Philadelphia, from 2007-2009. Ongoing projects include recording audio book reads for Hachette Publishing.
Bob lives in the Philly suburbs with his wife Sharon Eisenhour, a broadcast performance teacher at Temple Univ., voice-over artist and voice coach. And there’s Bandit, their border collie mix, who’s a therapy dog. Bob spends his spare time scouting down rare records to add to his 10,000-disc jazz and pop collection. An enthusiast of pop culture since childhood, he enjoys reading about the people and things that have shaped our social values.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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