Radio DaZe: WHYN – Keep my name out of it

Radio DaZe: WHYN over

WHYN wasn’t all bad. It was pretty easy work. I was on the air from 5:30am to 9am, did a small amount of production (certainly nothing like the truck loads at WJNC) and shot out the door. Oddly enough WHYN had the poorest production room I ever worked in. Just under-equipped and hard to use. It was stuck in the basement like an afterthought. There was an auxiliary room upstairs just off the lobby but it was even worse.

Coffee had always been a big part of my daily routine. Lots of it. WHYN had a coin operated coffee machine in the break room that dispensed something that tasted like ass. So I invested in an electric percolator and fired that thing up every day when I arrived. The discerning listener must have heard it burbling in the background. In a way it probably added some ambiance to the morning show. God knows it needed it. Most likely they never noticed with all the reverb on the air.

I loved that McCurdy console. It was almost impossible to distort and was clean as a whistle and a breeze to operate. I will always love Rock ‘n Me by Steve Miller because I could peg the VU meters all the way to the right and hear the reverb wash over the guitar drum breaks. It didn’t take much to amuse me.

WHYN did have a tremendous audience, especially Cume-wise. They had a request phone with at least 20 incoming lines and when you did a contest all those lights were something to see.

Don Wilkes and Mike Schwartz kept calling. What balls these guys had! Trying to steal the morning man from the biggest station in town. I finally went in for an interview (Again). Don and Mike laid it out for me. They were going to take the automation off WACKY 102, hire jocks and go live. They made me an offer. Then I had to sit down and chat with the genius who had put together what was WACKY 102.

Bobby (Jim Bouldebrook) Brooks was a flamboyant guy who dressed well and was full of himself. He had strong opinions and wasn’t afraid to tell you that he was right, you were wrong. He scared the crap out of me. During the course of our conversation he made it clear that he had no use for DJ’s or live radio.

“I think it’s insane to have some stupid DJ talking about his wife’s cunt on the air,” he said. Looking at me like that was my deal. I was flabbergasted. The silver lining was that he was leaving to go to Florida to start an ad agency so he wouldn’t be in the picture.

Don and Mike’s offer was tempting. I was bored out of my skull at WHYN and I could see that if WACKY 102 got some traction in the market that my life at WHYN would become miserable. What was I supposed to do? I took the job.

Bob Charest and Phil Drumheller were less than pleased, to say the least. I did notice that as mad as they were there was never any counter offer. I guess they were as bored with me as I was with them.

It’s customary in radio when someone on the air gives notice that you either let them go right off or at the very least take them off the air. I fully expected to walk out that day with my headphones in my hand and make my way to WACKY where tons of work had to be done.

Bob and Phil elected to keep me on the air. I just shrugged and went in and did my job. I had given them two weeks and I would do it, even though it would cramp my plans to get WACKY up and running.

I had done this on a Friday and I went in to do my normal shift on Monday. The overnight guy handed me an envelope with one of the long-winded memo’s they were famous for. The long and short was this. I was not to make any mention of the competition or the fact that I was leaving. OK, I was fine with that. I was to do my job and be professional. Fine.

AND…I was to refrain from saying my name on the air. All jingles featuring my name were removed from the control room. WTF? The newsman was instructed to not refer to me by name.

In all my years of radio, before or since I had never, ever heard of something so stupid. If they were that concerned then just show me the door. I was seething. I did it for one day, then went in to the brain trust and asked them if they really thought this was the best way to handle this. They were beyond rude to me and suggested that if I hadn’t quit they were going to fire my ass anyway. That did it.

The next day I came in and did my show without saying my name. I also avoided saying the call letters and didn’t play any jingles. The station went for the entire morning drive shift without any identification. When I got off the air Phil and Bob came up with a new plan. I would sit out the rest of my notice in the break room. OFF THE AIR!

It must have been great for morale, me sitting there drawing caricatures of Phil and Bob with horns coming out of their heads and showing them to anyone who ventured in the break room.


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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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