Cherri Gregg is the community affairs reporter for KYW Newsradio (KYW-AM) in Philadelphia. She reports on a variety of grass roots issues and events and produces and hosts Flashpoint with Cherri Gregg, a show focusing on community affairs, political news, civil rights and grassroots issues impacting the Philadelphia area. Gregg is also the creator of KYW Newsradio’s annual GameChangers, a 10-day series that celebrates Black History Month by highlighting individuals who are making a significant positive impact on communities of color in the region.
A graduate of Howard University School of Law, Gregg is occasionally called on to provide legal analysis on decisions by the U.S. government, as well as on critical civil rights issues such as mass incarceration, immigration rights and voting. In addition, she is active within the local Philadelphia community by moderating town halls and by providing coverage of everyday heroes who are changing lives of those in need.
An award-winning journalist, Gregg is also a graduate of Boston University and Temple University School of Media and Communication. She is a past president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists and was recently named Journalist of the Year by the association.
How did you get started in radio and at KYW?
I originally pursued a career in law, but always held onto my dream of becoming a journalist. While earning my master’s degree at Temple University, I focused on building my television portfolio by producing a public affairs show, anchoring the university’s news show and by producing television news packages for a variety of other shows. I also worked as a freelance correspondent for a Turkish-owned, New Jersey-based television station, Ebru News.
When the general manager of Temple TV approached me about a job at KYW Newsradio as a part-time overnight and weekend reporter, I jumped at the opportunity. When former vice president of programming at KYW Newsradio, Steve Butler, interviewed me a few weeks later and offered me a job reporting up to two days per week, I never looked back.
I first appeared on air in January 2011, and since then I have been allowed the space to grow. I was promoted to community affairs reporter in 2013 and Flashpoint with Cherri Gregg was launched in 2017. I also produced stories for CBS-3 Eyewitness News and have produced multi-part investigations that have won national awards, including Where’s Grandma?, which exposed holes in Pennsylvania’s guardianship system, and Driving While Black, a collaboration between Entercom and CBS-3 that tackled the issue of African Americans being targeted during traffic stops. In more ways than I can express, radio has opened doors that I didn't know existed and, so far, joining the team here at KYW Newsradio has been one of the best decisions of my life.
If you could interview anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
I’d love to interview Tyler Perry. He is a walking example of self-determination, faith and creating your own opportunities. When Tyler first began performing as Madea, I went to see him at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. I recently saw another performance at the Met in Philadelphia earlier this year.
Tyler is simply amazing. He grew that stage play into a franchise and capitalized on its success to build series of shows appearing on multiple networks and films and he has now opened his own movie studio, all while taking heat from people within the community he serves. His focus, drive and community impact is so inspiring to me.
How has SAG-AFTRA affected your experience in radio? How has being in the union shaped your career?
SAG-AFTRA was my first union experience. In the beginning, I questioned the purpose of the fees — especially when I was working only part-time — and what the union could do for me. Over time, I’ve learned that the protections put in place by the union are for my benefit.
Being a member of SAG-AFTRA ensured I got overtime pay, time off and that I was properly compensated for short turnaround time as a new reporter. The union helped stabilize my earnings after I resigned from my law firm to pursue a career in radio. It also helped me earn a decent living while working part-time. I was so impressed with the impact that being a part of SAG-AFTRA had that I joined its Broadcast Steering Committee and began participating in its leadership efforts. While my schedule no longer permits my participation in union activities, I believe that it is invaluable and I am glad that some of my KYW Newsradio colleagues are members as well.
What advice do you have for someone today entering into radio?
Work hard, think big, and use the medium for good. I love radio more than I ever imagined I would, and I hope to see more aspiring journalists consider beginning a career in the radio industry. Radio reaches 92% of Americans weekly and isn’t going anywhere.
- Local News