Rick Bentley

The Wolf’s Greg Lane accomplishes radio rarity, hits 25-year mark in Fresno

Greg Lane has been on the air in Fresno for 25 years, including his current position on 102.7 The Wolf.
Greg Lane has been on the air in Fresno for 25 years, including his current position on 102.7 The Wolf. rbentley@fresnobee.com

Greg Lane has been on the air in Fresno for 25 years, first at 93.7 KISS Country and now with 102.7 The Wolf. To find someone who has been on the air that long in one market is so rare , the odds are higher you will see a panda wearing an “I Love Trump” button while riding a unicorn.

Few professions have less job safety than radio personalities They can be fired if ratings drop, the station changes formats, a new program director is hired or because the sun came up that morning.

The secret to Lane’s surprisingly long success is simple.

“This job is not about me or the music. It’s all about the listeners. We could be giving away $1 million a minute and it wouldn’t matter if the listeners aren’t there,” Lane says.

When Lane talks about the importance of those who tune in the station, he’s not referring to ticket giveaways or playing requests. It’s about more than that. Those who work with Lane describe him as being one of the nicest and kindest people to work behind a microphone.

Steve Weed, senior vice president programming for the Fresno iHeart group that includes The Wolf, says they are lucky to have someone as “well respected and liked” as Lane.

And, it’s not just the local listeners who have picked up on the positive approach Lane brings to the job. He still gets hugs from music superstar Taylor Swift because of the support Lane has given her since she was an unknown. During the recent stop in Fresno by Garth Brooks, the country singer singled Lane out during a press conference.

Lane has interviewed the biggest names in country music, mostly through the 10 years he broadcast from the Country Music Association awards. He loves talking with the stars, but he’s even more proud of the community work he has done over the quarter century. One of the biggest is the 17 years he’s been behind the blood drives with the Pumpkin King Pumpkin Patch.

Lane knew he wanted to be on the radio since he was in a sixth grader living in Rochelle, Ill.

“We went to the radio station and they had a PSA that I read. I knew then I wanted to be in radio. Before that, I had always wanted to be an astronaut,” Lane says during his morning shift at The Wolf earlier this week. He broadcasts the 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekday show in Fresno and, through the magic of computer technology, does the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. show in Modesto.

He got his start in radio in Livermore and spent 10 years in Sacramento. He and his wife, Suzanne, moved to Fresno in 1991 and he landed a job at KISS. At that time, KISS was a Top 40 station. But it changed to its country format six weeks after Lane was hired.

More than 22 years was at KISS Country, but that ended in January 2014. Even after being fired from the job he loved, Lane maintained his positive approach. He wanted to be angry about his tenure at KISS Country coming to an unceremonious end, but he just felt hurt.

The job offer that came from The Wolf only weeks later helped Lane deal with the doubts he felt at being fired. He’s now happier than ever doing the two broadcasts.

“I have never felt more support that what I am getting here,” Lane says. “There’s such a feeling in this building of everyone wanting to succeed.”

He would be glad to be on the air another 25 years in Fresno. He jokes that the station will just have to agree to let him broadcast from an assisted living home.

Community event

The Alliance for Community Media, a national organization that represents community media centers like CMAC, is promoting Thursday, Oct. 20, as national Community Media Day. In connection with this, public tours of the Community Media Center, 1555 Van Ness Ave., will be conducted all day.

Special events include:

1:30p.m.: Presentation of a “Community Media Day” proclamation at Fresno City Hall.

2- 5 p.m.: Workshop to explore techniques and strategies for getting good sound will be held.

6-8 p.m.: Emmy-Award winning camera operator Jeff Phillips ( “The Apprentice”), will share his experiences traveling the world as a camera operator.

7-9 p.m.: The high school football coverage on CMAC’s Education Channel (Comcast 94, AT&T 99) starts with the first of three games: Roosevelt vs Hoover live from Sunnyside Stadium.

Special guest

Jimmy Weldon, a mainstay of local TV programming in the 1960s, is the guest speaker at the Christian Business Men’s Connection luncheon. The event is at noon Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Clovis Veterans Memorial, 808 4th St.

His topic is “Powerful Military Story.”

Those of you old enough to remember watching local television in the ’60s probably recognize the name. Uncle Jimmy Weldon and his wise-quacking duck buddy Webster Webfoot hosted a children’s program that aired on Channel 47, then known as KJEO, at 9 a.m. weekdays. He was also the voice of Yakky Doodle for the Hanna-Barbera Studios.

For more information, call 559-225-5095.

Having faith

“The Face of Mercy,” a new Knights of Columbus documentary that uses personal accounts to highlight the impact of God’s mercy on people’s lives, will air 5 a.m. Sunday Oct. 30 on ABC30.

The film is narrated by actor Jim Caviezel.

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355, @RickBentley1

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