'The Doctor' Jerry Kraus
Jerry Kraus knows a good gig when he sees it. As the afternoon jock and promotions director at 96.9 WOUR, the Yorkville native has been part of the Utica-Rome station for 26 years and counting. Before his move to Utica he got his start on the air while he was a student at SUNY Oswego, running the board for some of those classic radio mystery theater shows and helping with a late night progressive rock show.
After graduation, he worked for the Oneida County finance department full time and one day took a walk up Genesee Street in Utica during a lunch break and landed a weekend air shift at WOUR. A few months later they needed a full time guy, and the rest, as they say, is local radio history. WOUR was known for their southern rock slant before Jerry hopped on board and brought his favorites like Aerosmith, Bad Company, and Bob Seger. The station's morning guy at the time, Tony Yoken, took note and dubbed him 'The Doctor of Rock', and it stuck.
While working full time doing evenings, Jerry completed a Masters degree in Media Administration at Syracuse University, a cross between the Newhouse School and the MBA program. That additional education and experience has enabled Jerry to also help out off the air at WOUR and the rest of the Clear Channel Utica-Rome stations. He's been an account executive with WOUR while handling his on-air duties. He's also taught courses in economics and communications at the local college level.
That's the radio side of Jerry Kraus, but what's he all about beyond the studio? We asked him...
What was the last book you read?
Iím not into fiction, I like to read about real people and what roads theyíve traveled through life. I recently finished a book about the pro golf tour from the eyes of wacky pro Gary McCord in his book Iím a Range Ball in a Box of Titleists. Currently, Iíve taken the marathon on; Iíve started Bill Clintonís book My Life. After seeing him at Hamilton College recently, Iím ready for this. And the super-sized book makes a neat workout hand-weight.
Which three famous people would you invite have dinner?
Any dinner conversation Iím a part of usually drifts between music, politics and sports in no particular order. So letís go with John Lennon for the scoop on the Beatles hype, music and his infatuation with Yoko. Former president John F. Kennedy would be an outstanding guest for politics and his take on the entertainment connection (and the real story about Marilyn). Our sports guest would be Mickey Mantle for his views on sports fame, celebrity and his favorite 'party 'til you drop' moments. All are departed from this earth so weíd get that 'other side' viewpoint too, as an added bonus.
What television show do you never miss?
When itís on, The Sopranos, but like many other fans, I think the wait is just ridiculous. So until then Iím taping The Apprentice (tough to match the first season), Survivor (dying a slow death), NYPD Blue (died a few seasons ago, but IĎll ride it out with respect to Sipowitz), The Shield, ER (also on life support) and Saturday Night Live (better when taped so you can FF through all the lame-o skits and lip synched pop). I canít forget ESPNís Sportscenter and Baseball Tonight, in season, to keep track of my roto team. Of course, I have a pile of these tapes I need to get through.
What was the first album you ever bought?
I have two older brothers, so albums usually were handed down. Good albums too. Rolling Stones, CCR, Beatles, Elvis all were there for the playing. It was great. But as I remember, I took a trip on a Saturday afternoon to Downtown Uticaís 'Tape Utopia' (next to the Busy Corner, where the fountain is now) to pick up the first KISS LP and the first Queen album. A tie.
What would I be doing if I wasnít in radio
Is this where Iím supposed to get goofy and answer something about the Playboy mansion or golfing in Hawaii? Actually I have dabbled in investment property, the stock market, teaching, sales, advertising, design and marketing and business management. Probably something along those lines. Or helping Sam book the bands at the Turning Stone. Oh, if only I hadnít stopped piano lessons in the third grade in search of that World Series ring, Iíd be on stage with those bands, raking it in. Yeah right!
Whatís your dream vacation?
Iíve always been intrigued by those sports fantasy camps. To spend a week with retired baseball players, playing a few games, practicing on the field with them, that would be fantastic. Thereís also Rock fantasy camps, where some of those music legends give lessons and help organize a jam concert. So whoís with me on organizing a combination of the two and weíll hit it big with the rich baby boomers with way too much money to spend? For me, my dream vacations are getting out of here when itís freezing, landing in a warm destination and then soaking it up checking out restaurants, golfing, watching spring training baseball, chillin' with my honey and just livin' easy. Vegas, Phoenix, Florida. Itís all good.
If you could take one CD to a desert island, what would it be?
This answer changes daily for me. Today it would be Rubber Soul by the Beatles. Or Entrance by Edgar Winter. WOUR turned me on to this one when I was listening in high school to DJs like Tom Starr, Peter Hirsch, John Cooper, Robin Sherwin and Steve Huntington. What goes around comes around. Before Frankenstein, Edgar showed off his blues and jazz roots. Does the double-cd set: WOURís Rock of Central New York, Vol. 3 count?
Name something about yourself that people would be surprised to find out?
I work on old tube radios from time to time. Not the newer solid state transistor radios but the classic ones. Iíll drop in at garage sales or check eBay occasionally to find some of those tube radios and tune them up. Itís something I learned from my dad, a former GE radio repairman. Are you surprised to know I have a twin brother Jim who is a CPA and Attorney in Syracuse? This might surprise you then. While we never switched girlfriends, we did switch classes in high school and Iíve even had him fill in for me briefly on WOUR and no one knew.
How many days would you last on Survivor?
At least half way. We used to do a lot of camping, so that part wouldnít get to me. It would be the lying and conniving with the final alliances that would drive me nuts. Iíd be voted off for getting the lazy slackers up and working instead of letting them sleep all day. Notice how the girls can say nothing other than "Oh my gawd" when teased with a chocolate morsel as a reward? Iíd crack and strangle one of them and get tossed off. Now, all underwater challenges allow contestants to use swim goggles. When Andrew Savage (formerly of Waterville, NY) was on Survivor (Rupertís season), he feared losing his contacts underwater and barely opened his eyes and lost the challenge. He suggested to Jeff Probst that goggles be allowed and they started using them the next season.
Letterman, Leno or Koppel?
Lately itís Leno unless Letterman has a killer guest coming on. Jay has it going strong and doesnít waste all kinds of time that Dave does cooking, laughing with Paul and working the audience. What a reversal. Letterman used to be the king. Jay has reinvented himself and Dave seems at times too unfocused. Is Koppel really still on?
What's your dog's name?
'The Doctor' Jerry Kraus
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