I was done sitting, doing nothing! I needed to get back to being essential. Like so many of you, I had other jobs before my current career. In reality, I did a bunch of things. I don’t like to brag… Well, actually I do, but this isn’t something to brag about. I hold a record among everyone I’ve met. I gained and lost five jobs in four years. No applause please. Any superior person could have done it. Besides, my friends wanted me to feel better and bought me a lot of free beers, so it all works out.
Anyway, I needed a job. Years ago, when I was getting started, I was in radio. I did evenings six to eleven on KLUD. The station pronounced it: K-Lude, Mellow music for a relaxed mood. We played smooth jazz, soft rock, and music from the forties and fifties. Imagine playing that when it was dark outside. I needed a coffee IV just to stay awake. I cranked up the volume on the commercials to keep the audience conscious. They don’t pay me anymore, so I can say stuff like that.
Anyway, I was sitting on the sofa finishing my second bag of Oreos and third Bourbon, the preferred breakfast of quarantiner’s everywhere, when I read about an old friend of mine at KLUD. She had just been made program director at a local conglomerate station. Well good for me, I mean her. I called her and yes, she agreed to talk to me. After a few minutes of getting reacquainted, and a few more explaining an incident involving an alligator skin, catsup and three unused microphones, I told her why I called.
They say luck favors the foolish, and Mr. Ohh! is nothing if not foolish, so I asked for a job. Well, it seems because of the virus, market changes, and new music, the station had just lost several people so she asked me to come in for an interview. It was the weirdest interview I ever had. I had to promise to be more mature than I was twenty years ago and she promised never to bring her cat to work. Which was the start of a series of events which led to my hasty exit from KLUD. But that story is old and those police files are sealed so let’s not bring it up.
Next, I spoke to the station manager. He was cool. He was also about a hundred fifty years old. He’d ask a simple question like my address and then spent the next ten minutes telling me stories about how it was in radio back in the day. Then he’d shed a tear or two and start all over again. I’m not sure he learned anything about me. On the other hand, I didn’t pick up much about him. I did get that he hated television. Radio was a beautiful angel and TV was the spawn of Satan. It was all quite odd, but I put my best foot forward.
Well I got the job. I’m sure it helped when I told him I was related to Edward R Murrow. That really perked him up. Hey, it’s possible I am, I’ve never looked it up. My shift was overnights, eleven to six am. I showed up for my first day and was trained by a guy named Ben. He showed me where the studio was, where the bathroom was, only about two miles away, and gave me these instructions, “The playlist is on the computer, there’s no schedule. Just make sure you play the commercials on time and keep up with the requests. Otherwise, play what you want.” Then he was gone saying, he had a date. It was just me, a playlist, a million dollars worth of equipment, and five minutes of training. What could go wrong?
Before I go on, let me clarify something about radio. Every station has a slogan which identifies them. The thing is they are often reused because folks have too little imagination. One that I hear a lot is; The Best Mix of Music This is impossible because everybody has separate tastes. Bob’s mix is going to be different than Mary’s and so on. A more truthful slogan might be; The Most Generic Music Mix Created in An Attempt to Please the Greatest Number of People. But let’s be honest no one’s going to remember that. Consequently, this little fib is accepted. Therefore, as I regurgitated the slogan, We Play Anything, twice every hour, I knew it wasn’t completely accurate, and I assumed my audience knew the same. This went this way for almost a week.
Then Burt called. Burt was drunk and really wanted to hear Mozart’s third symphony. I told him No, He’d yell at me, that my slogan lied and hung up. This happened four times a night for a week. I was going nuts. Then I hatched a plan, on Monday when he called, I played the first movement, Molto Allegro. It shut him up.
Next day, another challenger called. He wanted ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic. Now I like Al, so I played some. Then it hit the fan. In the next few days, I got all sorts of odd requests. I was faced with a choice; Either go back to the playlist and endure the calls, or go rogue. Well if I went back to the playlist this blog would have been pointless and not worth mentioning. You guessed it I went rogue. The playlist went out the window and I played anything, just like the slogan said. My only rule was; No bad language, because the FCC would come down hard on the station if I did. It was liberating I was playing all the requests and somehow folks found out about me and started requesting the most obscure stuff. I was backing up Doris Day with I Like Big Buts, which actually works on an obscure level that probably shouldn’t be mentioned due to the children who read this post.
The best part was that management didn’t know, since no one of a certain age stays up till eleven, so I got away with it for a while. However, I had accumulated such an audience that I showed up in the ratings list. This caused management to listen in, and hear the show. Oops!
So, I was called into the office. My old friend was there, along with the old man and someone from corporate. I prepared my defense and hunkered down for a fight. They told me about what they heard and started smiling. I was not only a hit, someone was going to sponsor my show. Next, they handed me a two-hundred-dollar bonus. “This is great!” I said.
“No,” they replied. As great as my show was, it showed flaws in the presentation for the rest of the day. Corporate decided to change formats and fired everybody. I got thanked and was asked to leave. Oh Well!
I have listened to the new station a few times since, and it does have a cool slogan: Songs Our Computer Picked and Our Sponsors Love.
Well, at least it’s the truth.
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