Farewell Craig & Al
It's with a heavy heart that I report the end of an era. The legendary Craig & Al will do their final morning show together tomorrow (Friday, March 7) on 94.9 KYSS FM.
This is a team so mighty, that without even trying, they got thousands of loyal classic rock fans to become fans of country music. That is unheard of. And by 'without even trying' I mean they didn't get on the air at Z100 and say "hey, we're going over to KYSS FM, make sure to listen!" They never ever said that to anybody. There was no social media, no Facebook or Twitter to tell their dedicated listeners to follow them to their new station. We all just followed because we are loyal to Craig & Al the way they are loyal to us.
Craig & Al are loyal to our Missoula community, and communities all over Western Montana in a way I've never seen from anybody else. They use the power of radio to help solve problems on, and off the air. Your husband's truck got stolen? They'll find it. Lost dog? They'll find it. Vandals break off the tail of the cow at Clearwater Junction? The amazing duo raises money to fix it. Hooligans steal the Sinclair dinosaur? Craig & Al track it down with the power of their listeners.
And that's just the fun stuff, there' s a very serious side to the force that is Team Craig & Al. Their endless community service and philanthropy. Their giving nature and genuine concern for fellow Montanans. Genuine, if I had to sum up Craig & Al in one word, it would be genuine.
This is a team that can get on the air and in just one day, raise $30,000 to take local children Christmas shopping. I had the honor of working on KYSSmas for Kids last year and I can't even explain to you what an experience it was. Children emailed and sent cards saying it was a nice feeling to buy something that they wanted, not needed. One dad emailed us and said it was the first time he'd ever seen his children in brand new snow boots, not hand me downs. Underprivileged children from Seeley Lake to Frenchtown were able to find gifts under their Christmas tree because Craig & Al teamed up with generous local businesses to raise money in an auction powered by their dedicated and generous listeners. That is HUGE.
I knew this day was coming for some time and always thought that on their last day, I would present Craig & Al with some grand gesture. Some super sentimental gift to let them know how much they have inspired me personally and professionally. However now that the day is here, I got nuthin'. Nothing I can buy, do or say could possibly sum up what these two men mean to me and my family. Which I suppose is just fine considering these are not material men. They don't give a shake about possessions or fame, and that's what I love most about them.
OK, maybe not most, what I love most about Craig & Al is listening to their show. They know every caller by their first name, who the caller is married to and where they work. I strive daily to copy this on my own show. They laugh at each others jokes, which in turn makes listeners laugh. They make their listeners feel genuinely appreciated and they are the masters of perfect delivery. Which to me, is the ability to say something that may be inappropriate without offending anybody in the audience.
EVERYBODY knows Craig & Al. Everybody. You'd be hard pressed to find a local who has not heard the Hump Day song and the Happy Boy song. I once went out in public with Al and every single person we saw knew him. Every one of them. It's unreal.
I grew up in a very loyal Craig & Al listening family. They were always on every radio in our house and still are. Even my mom, a die hard classic rock fan, still switches it to KYSS in the morning. Speaking of my mom, thank you Craig & Al for being so kind to her throughout the years (granted she is easy to love.) When I left home at to attend broadcasting school in Spokane, I heard that mom had called in to the show to ask if the guys had any advice for me and that Craig responded "don't do it!"
Growing up listening to Craig & Al, I was a regular winner. And every time I called in to win something, they were so nice to me. When many radio personalities might be annoyed and encourage a kid to quit bugging them on the air so much, these guys were the best. I tried to find the photos of when I participated in the Spam contest in the Albertson's parking lot but couldn't find them. I've also sent in entries for 'Throw Mama From The Plane' and have made many visits to the world famous $2 window.
When I did a brief stint at Z100, it was truly an honor to pop the $2 window open to hand listeners their prizes. And when I did go over to Z, on my last day on The Blaze, a vacationing Craig was kind enough to call into my morning show from a goat farm to bid me farewell. He even brought back some killer goat moonshine for me! And my daughter still has and plays with the bin of Barbies that Al gave to us from his own daughter's collection.
Craig Johnson & Alan K are the real deal and a class act. Entertaining on the air and genuine friends to many off the air. I will miss hearing them on the air together and seeing them at work. They have honestly inspired me in my career and continue to inspire me to be kind to people.
Al, I hope you travel to hundreds of foreign lands and taste a million different whiskeys. Craig, I will once again follow you to your new destination even though I could do without the hippie music.
Farewell Craig & Al, it's been a helluva ride!