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2006 Oldham Community Showcase

WHAS’ Cruise to speak
at awards luncheon

Oldham Chamber’s
12th annual expo offers family fun

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

CRESTWOOD, Ky. (March 2006) – 84 WHAS “Morning Show” radio personality Tony Cruise doesn’t mind being challenged. This highly likeable morning talk show host greets each day at the radio station with a degree of enthusiasm that is contagious.
Cruise realizes that his voice may be the first thing some listeners hear before they even get out of bed in the mornings. And for that reason, he strives to provide something worth hearing.

Tony Cruise

84 WHAS Radio’s
Tony Cruise

“I hope people are comfortable with me,” said Cruise, 45. “I’m no prima donna. They hear my mistakes.” Cruise has learned to laugh at himself and hopes listeners think of him as the friendly guy next door.
Admirers will get a chance to listen to Cruise live at the Oldham County Top Achiever’s Awards luncheon at noon on March 3. The luncheon will take place inside the Showcase area with a sneak preview of the booths open until 3:30 p.m. The public show is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 4. 84 WHAS gardening hostess Cindi Sullivan will broadcast her live morning radio show that morning at 9 a.m. from the Showcase.
Cruise said he would be speaking on “not giving up on your dreams and goals.” A question-and-answer session will follow.
Born in Evansville, Ind., Cruise has been at WHAS since October 1992. He moved to Oldham County in 1985 after having lived in Louisville.
He graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a degree in mass communications. Extensive sports reporting led him to produce sports shows and host “Sportstalk 84,” a call-in show on WHAS that lasted nine years.
“Tony has a good, solid journalism background,” said Kelly Carls, Clear Channel Communications regional vice president of programming. “As a sports reporter, he was adept at setting up interviews and getting good information out of guests.”

Cindi Sullivan

Cindi Sullivan

Cruise replaced Bob Sokoler on WHAS’ Morning Show in 2004. “The company realized I connected with Kentuckiana,” said Cruise. He has family within the state, in Maysville and Somerset, and possesses “a good sociological background of the state. I’m a homeboy,” he said.
Carls said many strong candidates applied for Sokoler’s spot on morning radio. Cruise expressed an interest in 1999 when Wayne Perky retired, “But he just wasn’t quite ready to plunge into that job,” said Carls. Cruise took this advice to heart and stuck with sports reporting.

Oldham Community Showcase

• Friday, March 3: Oldham County Top Achievers Awards Luncheon, noon at Crestwood Station Shopping Center. Featuring speaker Tony Cruise of 84 WHAS. Tickets $10. RSVP.
• Saturday, March 4: Business expo from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at Crestwood Station Shopping Center, Hwy. 146, Crestwood, KY. Free admission. Exhibitor booths, live entertainment, children’s activities, food court, displays.

Entertainment Schedule
On Stage:

• 10:30-11:30 a.m.: Shaun Nalley (soloist)
• 11:30 a.m.-noon: The Oldham County Singers
• Noon-1:30 p.m.: The Generations
• 1:30-3:30 p.m.: Karaoke
• All Day: Inflatable bounce provided by La Grange Presbyterian Church.
Roaming
• 11 a.m.-2 p.m: Flakey the Clown, Don Hudson (magician). Michael Liles, Face Painter
• Information: (502) 222-1635

When it comes to accomplishing his career goals, Cruise said that his position at WHAS “is the pinnacle.” His goal was to replace Wayne Perky or Van Vance when they retired, and he was able to successfully fulfill both of those dreams.
His success may be due to the fact that “he understands the local culture and history, and how different people fit in,” said Carls. “He can convey pertinent information without all the guesswork.”
“I want to get better, and adapt to the cultural changes,” said Cruise. His aim is to make the “Morning Show” relevant to his listener’s lives.
He labeled himself “an old-school type of radio guy” when it comes to public interest issues. A huge part of his appeal is due to the fact that people consider him to be likeable, said Carls.
The fact that he can talk about so many different things is a big plus to Cruise’s appeal. He can program a show around Baghdad, Iraq, one day and discuss Bagdad, Ky., the next. He enjoys tackling “political issues that affect us all,” he said.
Part of his aim is to “let people in on what the government is doing,” he said. The government has to answer to us, said Cruise, instead of us answering to the government. He believes this is the way our Founding Fathers instituted the American political system. Each day, Cruise sets down with his producer, Scott Fitzgerald, to map out and plan day-by-day programming for the “Morning Show.” He knows ahead of time that he have will have certain segments to fill, and his input is invaluable to the show.
Cruise is well informed on current issues, said Carls. Coming from the sports realm, some people are surprised that the “Sports Guy” can carry off a show on so many different topics, said Carls.

OC Showcase Clown

Photo by Don Ward

A clown entertains the croud during
last year's Oldham County Showcase.

But Cruise has a knack for doing this from 5 a.m. until 9 a.m. weekdays. Referring to himself as the “living laugh tract,” this proves his good attitude is the perfect fit for the “Morning Show.” Cruise believes in himself and is thrilled to be able to work for a station he has listened to since he was a kid.
Cruise lives in Buckner with his wife of 25 years, Penny, and two sons. Clay will graduate from Oldham County High School this year, and Cruise likes to go dirt bike motorcycle riding with 11-year-old, Samuel.
A member of the La Grange Baptist Church, the Saddleback East Bike Club of Trimble County, Ky., and a member of the Boys Haven board of trustees, Cruise said his “big emphasis is on family.”

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