Crane Comes Early for Dad-to-Be - NBC 7 San Diego

Crane Comes Early for Dad-to-Be

A local DJ will live in a crane until he collects 101,000 toys, or his wife goes into labor



    Join The Holiday Toy Drive
    AJ in the Morning
    AJ in the crane at night.

    It has been a busy few months for AJ Machado. His wife is pregnant, he moved house and he moved radio stations. The DJ from “AJ in the Morning” on Star 94.1 will have plenty of time to reflect on the whirlwind when he’s sat in a crane in a parking lot for several days. 

    “The lift I'm in is pretty small and my small mattress and port-a-potty take up most of the room, so it's hour after hour with no company and little room to walk,” AJ said.

    For the eighth year in a row, AJ is going to live in a crane in the Ikea parking lot in Mission Valley and he won’t come down until he has collected 101,000 toys for AJ’s Kids.

    “I've spent quite a bit of time at Rady's Children's Hospital and I've seen what a difference things like toys and games make,” he said.

    AJ normally heads up there in December, but this year he’s heading up early and there is only one thing that will get him down early.

    “My wife is in her third trimester and there is a chance she could go into labor while I'm in the crane,” AJ said.

    Which begs the question, what would happen then?

    “Someone would have to replace me if that happens, but I'll let the crew figure that out for themselves,” AJ said.

    Last year, the DJ was in the crane for eight nights, seven days and collected 101,000 toys.

    “Sick or not, kids just want to be kids and the right toy at the right time can make all the difference. The toys we collect in the "Kids Crane Toy Drive" each year aren't just given away during the holidays, they stock Rady's up for the following year,” AJ said.

    Those toys are used in a lot of different ways.

    “To cheer up a child, to encourage a kid to take their medicine, to educate a child about a procedure, to act as a diversion to a bored sibling, to be a gift to a child who has to spend their birthday in the hospital,’ AJ said.

    The team is expecting a bunch of celebrities this year. So far they have confirmed Plain White T's, who will perform at a concert at the crane.

    “We will also have a visit from up and coming artist Esmee Denters who is the protégé of Justin Timberlake. Comedian Carlos Mencia will stop by for a meet and greet. Luis Castillo and other Chargers players will be coming through to sign autographs,” AJ said.

    They’re still waiting for some others to confirm.

    AJ goes up in the crane on Friday. If you can’t visit the crane, make an online donation now that will be used to purchase toys.

    “Trust me, if you make a donation, you make a difference,” AJ said.