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Volume 90, Issue 95

Tuesday, March 25, 1997



Radio types balance split personalities

©Geoff Robins/Gazette
TURN ON AND TUNE IN TO RICH AND ELAINE. London radio celebrities Rich Greven and Elaine Sawyer stir up coffee, chemistry and comedy in the morning.

By Brad Lister
Gazette Staff

What do The Flintstones, Elizabeth Taylor and redheads all have in common? And no, this isn't a punch line to some dirty joke.

They are part of more fun in the morning – the high octane world of popular morning duo Rich Greven and Elaine Sawyer of Q97.5 FM.

"A typical day for us is never typical," says Greven. "The show starts at 5:30 a.m. but never mind coming that early."

"You'll see all you need to see at seven," says Sawyer.

Greven's day begins early and he usually arrives at the station about five. Once there he checks the news and takes a look at some of the material that has come in for the show. The bull sheet provides Greven and Sawyer with all their trivia, star gossip and everything else that enlivens the show. Sawyer arrives in after six.

Their road to morning glory came from different angles. Greven started in the radio business in the late '60s. "I was bored with what I was doing and I had a buddy in the business," says Greven. He attended a broadcast school in Toronto and before he graduated, landed a job with a radio station in North Bay.

Sawyer's path to the on air booth was a little different. For a number of years she worked in radio and television advertising, eventually ending up at CKSL, Q's sister station, where she and Greven became friends. "I invited her on the show to share some of the stories," explains Greven. That grew into a segment called Enquiring Minds that happens every morning.

After a format change at CKSL, Greven moved to Q and the station undertook a search for a female co-host. Sawyer got the call.

"We'd already established an obvious chemistry," states Greven. "The comment we most often gets is, 'It feels like you're sitting right across the table having coffee with me.'"

There are rough days like at any other job. "It's not always good. There are days when we're butting heads," says Greven. Sawyer adds, "We can agree to disagree." However, fans comment the duo sounds like a married couple.

Spontaneity is a key ingredient of the morning show. "You have to use that," says Greven. One segment of the show that really lends itself to that idea well is Battle of the Sexes. The segment, which has become one of the show's most popular, involves one man and woman calling in to answer trivia questions.

The popular trivia contest is always a laugh, involving topics as far reaching as chocolate body paint. During a recent segment, Greven asked the question, "You just swatted my shuttlecock, what are we playing?" The woman replied, "I'm not even going to guess on that one."

Upon walking into the booth one could imagine finding Greven tapping his feet in time to the music. There's a lot of playfulness but what kind of planning goes into the show? "We're very loosely planned," says Sawyer. During the pre-planned commercial breaks Sawyer and Greven often confer as to what they will banter about next.

Along with her on-air duties Sawyer is also in charge of the promotions department. She works with the sales department to promote the station and increase listenership, monitored by the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement. That is done throughout the year. In the business of radio Greven says, "You're only as good as your last book."

Usually the duo can be found out and about at local community functions from fashion shows to chili cookoffs. "It's a function of the job," Sawyer says. "We like doing them." The pair says it gives them a chance to meet the members of the community that enjoy the show.

It's a job where the fun factor is very high. When it stops becoming fun then I'm outta here," says Greven.

To Contact The Features Department: gazfeat@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997