FUCKING IN THE ON-AIR STUDIO and other delights....
Radio, radio. Before I was a playwright, I was a radio guy. That was back in the Greater New York area 10 years ago. I was the weekend Top-Twenty Countdown Guy at WKMB...
I was the Afternoon Guy 5 days a week at 90.5 The Night...
And I was the Morning Drive Sidekick and News Guy at WTBQ...
WTBQ was the most fun. And the most frustrating.
First, the frustrating part. The station was an absolute shithole, with pile upon pile of crap nobody else in the known universe wanted. And the guy I worked for was....well, quirky. And the equipment was not state-of-the-art. Some of it looked ready for a garage sale.
On the other hand, they pretty much let me do what I wanted. Example. Rudy and Hillary were vying for the US Senate and they let me run all over New York chasing them down, even though it had nothing whatsoever to do with what was going on locally in our little community.
Or how about this? One day, I saw an announcement that a holistic living center in New Paltz (80 miles north of us) was putting on a firewalking expo. I zipped on up there, flashed my WTBQ press card and, next thing I knew, I was walking across red hot coals (It doesn't hurt as long as you keep moving).
One boring day, I decided I wanted to have a book show and interview authors. My Boss shrugged and said, "Sure, why not?" I interviewed Paul Simon about his book. I interviewed a guy who was at Jonestown. I interviewed Harry Browne, the founder of the Libertarian Party.
But the weirdest interview had to be this lady named January Jones.
Here's her book....
If you were to ask January Jones who killed JFK, she'd say Jackie-O. Jackie had motive, means and opportunity. JFK was cheating on her. So she got her secret lover, Ari Onassis, to hire an assassin. I said, "But January, Jackie was sitting right next to him in the open limo!" And she responded without batting an eyelash, "But Dale, don't you see? That's the perfect alibi." How can you argue with logic like that?
I worked on the morning drive show which ran from 5:30 to 9. This old guy who was a kind of neighborhood gadfly had the show after us. And he was fun as long as he was by himself. You could stroll into the on-air studio and he'd put you on the air and you'd get to chat about whatever. But then, one day, things changed. He met a woman. A younger woman. Suddenly, abruptly, the door closed. Entry wasverboten.
As Jason Barrett, our Sports Guy put it, "They're fucking in there. They are fucking on the control board. They're gumming it up."
I didn't care. I quit and moved on with my life, leaving the Old 9 to 11 Guy and his Young Lady Sidekick to go on gumming it up like the dickens. But I thought about them some time later. And I wrote a play about this old talk show guy who's reached the end of the line professionally. He and his girlfriend/sidekick lock the door and roll the dice one last time. I call it The Lost Nation Morning Show.
The Lost Nation Morning Show, a gritty, edgy one-act play
Read and enjoy.
One last thing about radio. Believe it or not, people are listening. Not just on the big stations, but on the piddly little Mom-and-Pop operations like WTBQ.
Want proof? When I left, it was so noted in the local radio media.
If people weren't listening, no one would have cared.