FANWOOD, NJ -- When he’s not directing communications at Chelsea Assisted Living, serving on Fanwood’s borough council, or responding to calls on the Rescue Squad, Tom Kranz is working on self-publishing his new book, “Liveshot: Journalistic Heroism in Philadelphia.”
Quite possibly the busiest man in Fanwood, Kranz is currently promoting his 30-year-old book and seeking reelection on town council.
“Liveshot” tells the story of the WCAU news team and their coverage of the 1985 Philadelphia MOVE disaster. Kranz was behind the camera as Philadelphia police dropped a bomb on a Philly row house, started a fire, and killed 11 people in an effort to expel MOVE, a black liberation group, from the neighborhood. His team covered the intense events for a near straight 24 hours.
“It doesn’t raise any bigger issues about revolution and politics, it’s just what we did,” stated Kranz matter-of-factly. The book was written 30 years ago, but he recently decided to self-publish it. For a very small investment through the website lulu.com, a paperback version is now available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as online through the Kindle store.
The seasoned journalist described the events of the book as the second biggest story of his career, following 9/11. Kranz and his news crew won a DuPont award for their courageous reporting in the midst of angry threats from locals.
Kranz is currently serving in the third year of his first term on Fanwood town council and running for reelection, unopposed.
“It’s kind of a relief, but it’s so easy to get cocky,” explained Kranz. “We don’t want the town to feel like we’re just coasting along. Part of me wants to say that it’s a sign we’re doing something right, but on the other side, I just wish more people would pay attention and get involved.”
The communications connoisseur serves as the chairperson of the recreation committee, a member of the administration and finance and public works committees, and liaison to the health and communications department. He is working hard on renovating the town’s TV station equipment, and bringing the Fanwood communication program into the 21st century.
The town councilman enjoys his position, viewing it as a unique way to understand the ins and outs of the town: “I think I was just nosy and wanted to know what was going on in town and I wanted to be involved. The idea of having a small voice in what we do was appealing to me,” expressed Kranz.
After he moved to New Jersey from his native Philadelphia in 1994, Kranz wanted to get involved in the town and give back. He was able to engross himself in town politics by gaining local prominence from the Fanwood Rescue Squad.
“It’s probably the one thing in my life that’s really a passion,” remarked Kranz. “I’ve always thought that everybody should do something they like to volunteer to help other people.”
Since he became an EMT at age 44, Kranz has been on response for 14 CPR saves and numerous other calls. “I got into it to be there if somebody needs their life saved,” declared Kranz. The dedicated Fanwoodian was also involved in a peculiar call where a young child got his hand stuck in a paper shredder. He humorously recalls that emergency providers simply used a crowbar to remove the hand.
Kranz also has a full-time job in the midst of all his side-projects. In 2007, when he left the world of broadcast journalism and his job as Senior Producer for CBS News, Kranz rebranded himself as a public relations and graphic design person. Now working at Chelsea Assisted Living as the communications director, Kranz writes press releases, designs brochures, and assists with all graphic designs needs.
Although seemingly impossible, the ambitious Fanwood resident doesn’t always have to stay busy.
“I also really like sitting on my butt and chilling out,” joked Kranz.
To learn more about or purchase “Liveshot: Journalistic heroism in Philadelphia” click here.