DAYTON, OHIO — In the summer of 1982, Dave Crowl could be found at WLVQ-FM in Columbus, Ohio, the Album-Oriented Rock station that still exists today, as General Manager. He was six years into his career as a radio broadcasting leader, with Program Director Pat Still sharing to Radio & Records how maintaining constant contact with Crowl was essential to the station’s success.
Crowl would go on to enjoy a 44-year career in radio. It will conclude at the end of this year, his current employer, Cumulus Media, has revealed.
Crowl presently serves as RVP/Market Manager for Cumulus’ Cincinnati radio stations, comprised of Classic Rock WOFX-FM, Country WNNF-FM, Active Rock WFTK-FM, Adult Contemporary WARM-FM and market-leading Classic Hits WGRR-FM.
Cincinnati is one of Cumulus’ stronger markets, with WOFX and WFTK sandwiching iHeartMedia’s WEBN in the Rock arena and “Warm 98” consistently ahead of Hubbard Radio’s WREW in the battle for women. In a crowded Country market, WNNF has outperformed Hubbard’s WYGY.
Crowl, a Dayton native, departed WLVQ in early 1984, taking on top management duties at KKRZ “Z100” in Portland, Ore., for Taft Broadcasting. As 1987 began, Crowl would relocate to Milwaukee, thanks to Taft’s acquisition of WBCS-AM & FM from Great Trails Broadcasting — an entity with a strong presence in his hometown of Dayton. Those stations would become WLZR-AM & FM, with the FM enjoying a very lengthy run as a successful Active Rocker, under the “Lazer 103” brand.
In 1991, Crowl ascended to his first multi-station leadership role, becoming Radio Group President for WLZR’s owner at the time, Great American. His national profile would rise over the next several years, largely for the company’s ownership of big Rock stations including a then-struggling WRIF-FM in Detroit.
With mega-mergers just starting to brew ahead of the signing by President Clinton of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Crowl emerged from Labor Day Weekend 1995 as Chief Operations Officer of Citicasters America, the result of a merger between OmniAmerica and Citicasters, which had been Great American.
As 1997 began, Crowl was now Radio Division President of a famed radio company that acquired Citicasters, Jacor Communications. The man Crowl reported to? Randy Michaels. Jacor’s $430 million acquisition of Citicasters, which closed in September 1996, made it the fourth-largest radio company in the U.S.
Then, on May 4, 1999, came the closing of a definitive deal in the history of radio broadcasting — Clear Channel’s $6.5 billion acquisition of Jacor, making it the No. 2 company behind Chancellor, which was purchasing Capstar. All are now within the iHeartMedia radio division.
Crowl joined Cumulus in 2012, and while largely focused on Cincinnati also served as acting GM of Cumulus’ Indianapolis stations from 2014-2016.
His career also includes a stint as a Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) Board Member from 1991-2006, and served as Chairman from 2001-2003.
“A 44-year career in radio would have been challenging to achieve without the support of my family, mentors, colleagues and friends who constantly inspired me,” Crowl said late Tuesday. “More importantly, I could not have arrived at this moment without the foundation of all the many dynamic general managers and their market teams who delivered compelling audio content to their listeners, communities and advertisers every day 24-7.
“No matter the market size, I have had the good fortune of working with the very best program directors, local personalities, news people, sales managers and account executives in radio. In addition, no success ever occurred without the dedicated efforts of so many chief engineers, accounting teams, promotions people and traffic continuity managers. I am indebted and deeply grateful to you all. And to all of my national sales partners at Eastman and Katz over the years, thank you for your excellence. I also want to thank Mary Berner, Dave Milner and everyone at Cumulus for their tremendous support of the Cincinnati operating cluster these last several years. Finally, to my entire team at Cumulus Cincinnati, I will always cherish your good work and all of our accomplishments.”
Offering words of congratulations is Cumulus EVP/Operations Dave Milner. “I’ve had the good fortune of working with Dave multiple times throughout my career, and not only is he one of the most successful and passionate leaders in radio, he retires having helped so many others thrive,” he said. “I’m excited for Dave and wish him much happiness as he enters this new chapter in his life.”
Cumulus President/CEO Mary Berner added, “Dave has distinguished himself as one of the most respected leaders in radio, dedicating the last 44 years to making radio the best it could be for the many communities he has served so well. In the process, he has lifted up our industry and the people in it, always treating others with respect, dignity and understanding. He will be greatly missed, and we wish him all good things in his retirement.”
Dave Crowl is a second-generation radio broadcaster. His father, H.K. ”Bud” Crowl owned radio stations WAVI-AM and WDAO-FM in Dayton for 30 years. He sold them in 1985, shortly before his death, to Stoner Broadcasting. The FM is known today as WMMX-FM “Mix 107.7,” a station launched by Deborah Parenti, Publisher of the Radio + Television Business Report.
Parenti says of Dave Crowl, “One of the nicest human beings and an outstanding broadcaster, radio is better for the years Dave Crowl gave the industry. I wish him many years of happiness in retirement. And, of course, he’s a Dayton guy!”