Tribute: Rest in peace, Ian Crewe

2015-12-30 11:52
Ian Crewe (MTN Radio Awards)

Ian Crewe started off being the person I most disliked during my time at Talk Radio 702. He was bitchy, scathing and had absolutely no skaam in telling you how you went wrong, in the meanest way possible. Coming into your first job with the terror of Ian Crewe's mouth looming over you was frightening and at the time, I'm positive I made all efforts to avoid him. (Which was very difficult considering the layout of the news room.)

About a year into my stint there, I unexpectedly began doing overnight shifts. Now, ask any person who has worked nights for an extended period of time and they'll tell you that you lose a bit of yourself. You forget what it's like to be normal and there are tough lessons that are dealt your way. In that misery and those difficult times there was a shining light in the form of an old man with shock white hair, who liked to wear shorts and sandals and teach you about slut radio.

Our very first bonding session was over a cute guy who was a guest at our sister station, 94.7 Highveld Stereo. Ian, always alert to any potential 'talent' made excuses to walk by the man, who was sitting on a couch waiting to go inside the studio. We took turns in the next ten minutes to come up with all kinds of excuses to walk past. And we couldn't stop giggling. A laughing Ian Crewe was sublime. He was naughty and in that moment I knew that underneath that withering mouth of his, was a soft heart and a gentle soul.

What followed was Ian becoming a teacher and a friend. He taught me so much. I guess in life you get people that teach you the skills to get the job done and other's have the ability to teach you life. Ian was the latter. In teaching me how to stay calm after a big fluff on live radio, he taught me how to stay focussed during life's battles. On patience with getting a story right to the editor's satisfaction, he taught me that with time and dedication, you'll always win.And of loyalty, Ian's steadfastness was an inspiration to everybody who crossed his path.

At the time, Ian's health was tumultuous and during one horrid winter he fell ill. I stood in for him which meant that I worked nights for 10 days back-to-back. When he was better, Ian gave me a box of chocolates in a fancy tin that I have kept to this day. I insisted that I get something in return for my hard work and one night brought my partner's gran in to meet Ian. You see, she was obsessed with him and had been listening to his voice for ages. Ian was more than happy to oblige and we were square.

Today, as tributes pour in for Ian Crew, the legendary newsreader who South Africa has come to know and love, it is clear that he wasn't just a news reader: he was our friend. He was the constant voice that we'd hear when we turned on the wireless and he belonged to us all. Those who have worked with him and crossed his path, will no doubt have countless stories that will make us tear up. May we remember the quirkiness of Ian and carry his lessons with us. Always.

Jessica Levitt

The Juice Editor