By Je’Don Holloway Talley
For the Birmingham Times
Long-time radio personality Jerome “Da Homie Jay” Crumpton and Birmingham-based barber and entrepreneur Bennie “Bennie Mac” Holmes are the voices behind the myV94.9 (WATV-FM) “Home Team Morning Show” radio program. Both hosts recently spoke one-on-one with the Birmingham Times, and here’s a little bit about each of them.
Bennie “Bennie Mac” Holmes
Holmes, 40, is a barber, entrepreneur, comedian, and Woodlawn High School grad who joined myV94.9 in 2017. The show, “is a building block to the stuff I already had going on,” he said. “It’s a major piece to what I was already doing. It was the link in the chain, it connected the dots, and I’m very grateful for it. … I can see myself being a highly [regarded] comedian. Radio takes the things I’ve been doing previously to a different level. I can see myself being one of the top comedians in the country and being able to make major moves in the city.”
Before radio, Holmes, who earned his barbering license at Lawson State Community College, was doing more than just barbering and comedy.
“I have an in-house marketing agency, and I was selling radio and TV ads across the country,” he said. “I was also doing promotions for different artists, managing comedians, renting houses, producing comedy shows, writing sketch comedies—and I still am. I’m an entrepreneur.”
Holmes, a husband and father of two, focuses on far more than comedy. In his Thursday “History 100” segment, he shares black historical facts and events with listeners.
“I’m a comedic narrator, and it’s all about telling a story;” he said. “I’m a writer, and I’m pretty entertaining, … so I knew I could make [the segment] a success.”
The future is bright for myV94.9, said Holmes: “I can see big things for the station because the people here are committed to seeing it grow. … It was a beginners’ station, and we all want to raise it to be the best that it can be. We’ve got a staff that came in [knowing] that they wanted to be number one—great sales staff and on-air personalities. Everybody here is competent at what they do and can multitask. We’re a hell of a team.”
Jerome “Da Homie Jay” Crumpton
Before being recruited in the latter part of 2017, Crumpton had been off the airwaves since 2014.
“I was like, ‘Wow! I get to start something from the ground up and help build a whole station. That’s what’s up!’ I started with V 94.9 in April 2018,” he said.
Crumpton had spent 12 years, from 2002 to 2014, as an on-air talent with 95.7 JAMZ (WBHJ-FM); he was then known as known as “Lil Homie.” After leaving that station, the seasoned disc jockey consulted on programming, image, and music—and he was more than happy about returning to Birmingham’s airwaves with Courtney French Broadcasting LLC.
“Working for Courtney French Broadcasting has been extraordinary,” Crumpton said. “It’s where creativity lives, and community service is the soul. … If you have an opportunity to partner or work with [French] on any level, it’s going to enhance what you do because he’s so good at what he does that he’s going to elevate you.
“Watching [French’s] example and the way he moves, … [teaches you] how to be business savvy and organized and conduct business in a corporate setting. That’s what I’m trying to get out of this. His business acumen is what I’m trying to [absorb]. It’s not about the accolades or popularity. I’ve already had that, and it doesn’t really do anything for you; it’s only for a moment of time anyway.”
Crumpton, 37, earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and broadcast production with a minor in marketing from Jackson State University, where he got his start in radio with the help of Alabama State Rep. Merika Coleman, who was also a student there at the time.
The Biloxi, Miss., native, is committed to the station’s growth and wants to be part of its expansion.
“My goal is to have multiple myV94.9 stations,” he said. “Maybe we can actually get one open in my hometown or in Jackson, Miss. I want to take this theme and this format at myV94.9 and share it with other parts of the state and the nation.”
Being part of myV94.9 means being part of the community, said the husband and father of two, who currently lives in Bessemer.
“We are on the west side of the city, and that whole area, in my opinion, is underserved,” he said. “We’re always diligent in the community. We’ve done numerous community fairs. We had our own block party this past summer at the radio station. We’ll pull up in the van to community events.
“The [‘Home Team Morning Show’] has a segment in the mornings at 6:15, 7:15, and 8:15 called ‘Good in the Hood,’ during which we basically talk about the good things that are happening in our community. We’ve also done numerous ‘Peace in the Park’ [rallies] and school events.”
When he spoke to the Birmingham Times, Crumpton was at the Fountain Heights Community Rec Center planning an event with the center’s personnel.
“We have on-air personalities that you can touch,” he said. “[Some] stations take personalities off the air and add AI, [or artificial intelligence], as hosts, when the point of radio is to be local and go into the community in which you serve.”