I’ve always been a geek. Just ask anyone I went to school with or any the girls I tried to date.
My obsession with music began at age six when my grandmother gave me a transistor radio—an old Lloyds—which spawned an all-consuming fascination with things that came over airwaves. A few years later, my uncle—who moonlighted by servicing jukeboxes—kick started my record collection by dumping a box of old 7-inch singles on me one Sunday afternoon. I was hooked.
In 1980, I got my start CKUW at the University of Winnipeg, which, at the time, was a closed-circuit station. Our broadcast range was limited to one hallway and one cafeteria.
After graduating I ended up at CJRL in Kenora, a 1,000 watt AM station that broadcast to the people and wildlife of Northwestern Ontario. From there, it was on to KX-96/Brandon and Q94-FM/Winnipeg before I ended up at CFNY (renamed The Edge) in October 1986. I’d first heard about the place through Rush’s “Spirit of Radio” when I was still in high school and remember thinking to myself “Wouldn’t it be cool to work there one day?"
After fifteen years as a CFNY/Edge in a variety of announcer gigs, I moved to program director at Y95 in Hamilton, overseeing, in part, a frequency change which made the station Y108.
In 2004, I started a four year stint as the station’s Program Director (where I was somehow was named Canada’s PD of the year in 2005, 2006 and 2008), my latent geekiness once again came to the fore and I became Senior Program Director for Corus Interactive, the online arm of Corus Radio. My last project with Corus was as Head Curator of ExploreMusic, a truly unique online and on-air feature dedicated to music discovery.
Oh, and that radio show. The Ongoing History of New Music debuted in February 1993 and since then it’s…well, it's taken on a life of its own. There have been over 690 one-hour episodes making it (I think) the longest-running music documentary in Canada and one of the longest in North America—if not the world!
If you’re into reading, I have a weekly national newspaper column in the Metro commuter paper, four published reference works on alt-rock and four audio books, The Alan Cross Guide to Alternative Rock.
What else? There was ExploreMusic-TV on Bite-TV and Aux. The inflight audio programming I did for Air Canada for years. The various TV guest appearances. The official biographies I wrote for rock bands. Appearances in dozens of documentaries. The magazine articles. The narrations. The speaking gigs and lecture series.