Here’s a new excerpt from my book “Raised on the Radio” which will be released later this year.
Most of you have heard stories about your own co-workers having intimate relationships with each other. Some of you may have even had inter-office dalliances. Radio was no different and there were plenty of shenanigans going on with some of the stories being a little unusual.
BUSINESS AND PLEASURE
At one of my radio stops there was an inter-office sex scandal happening. The wife of a sales manager kept calling one of the station’s female account executives screaming “Stay away from my husband!” We thought this wife was a paranoid nut because the saleswoman in question was also married and the last person we thought would screw around on her husband. Later on we learned it was all true and the sales manager she was banging assigned her some clients that were part of another staffer’s sales list. When all this came out in the open, the salesperson who got hosed out of some of their clients worked out a good deal to leave the station. That A.E. got a year’s pay and benefits in exchange for not going public with this mess. Like in any other business, it is best to follow this directive: Don’t fish off the company pier. Or, if I may be so blunt, don’t fuck where you eat!
Of course that “keep it in your pants” axiom would be good advice for on air staff as well. Many personalities I knew were divorced with infidelity being the leading cause of break-ups. One D.J. got fired when the General Manager learned he was picking up female listeners on the request lines and having sex with them at the station during his shows. From what I was told, he had some serious screw-a-thons happening nightly on the station’s conference room table. The minute the GM learned of this, the guy was immediately sent packing. I wished we’d gotten a new conference room table too, but that didn’t happen.
One jock I knew was single but sneaky. He’d go to his girlfriend’s house at night to have sex. After the loving, he’d slink off to the bathroom with his cell-phone and quietly call a local pizza place to put in an order for delivery. This guy gave the house’s address and instructions for the delivery man to not ring the doorbell. Instead he was to leave the boxed pizza on the front seat of the guy’s unlocked car parked in the driveway. Upon arriving at his girlfriend’s place earlier in the night, this fellow would leave the pizza money and tip on the driver’s seat, anticipating this clandestine food drop-off. He did not want to share even one slice of pizza with his girlfriend. Once the pizza was delivered, he would give his woman a quick kiss and be on his way; driving home and eating a fresh pie. What a guy!
Pizza after sex, who doesn’t love that?
Speaking of the opposite sex, after my girlfriend Holly and I broke up for good, I dated here and there but nothing as close and vital as what we had. Still, like any red blooded American male I would go out with the occasional woman who was, in the words of the Eagles, “Someone to be kind to in between the dark and the light.” Going out Sunday through Thursday nights when I had to get up so early for work put a cramp on my ability to sustain relationships. I sometimes went out on what I called a “school night” but it was rare. My biggest romantic issue was the minute I dated one woman I’d find ways to get interested in seeing someone else. I kind of had attention deficit disorder of the heart. Hey, that sounds like it could be a title for a county music song.
Working and Playing Well With Others
I didn’t clash with air personalities often despite some of them having overstated egos. I tried to avoid making a big deal out of that in the interest of harmony and getting the best product on the air. It’s a business. Like Jay Mohr, playing agent Bob Sugar said in “Jerry Maguire”, “It’s not show friends, its show business.” Radio people, like musicians, are a different breed of species. If you ever get show hosts, producers and sales folks together at a bar or restaurant, that gathering is guaranteed to be a marathon of laughs and tight camaraderie. It’s usually a combination of the opening scene in “Reservoir Dogs” where the meaning of the song “Like a Virgin” is discussed and the opening scene of “Broadway Danny Rose” with veteran comedians commiserating about their careers. Call it “Reservoir Broadway Dogs.”
John Howell and I used to sum up having a career in radio by saying, “There’s no heavy lifting.” True enough. To put it in perspective, (prepare to use the seven second delay button), WORKING IN BIG CITY RADIO WAS A FUCKING BLAST! The best comparison I can give you is it was exactly like “The Larry Sanders Show” except we weren’t on TV. THAT is it in a nutshell. You get heat from bosses to boost ratings. Consultants tell you what things you do well and what sucks. You deal with sales people and their sometimes hair brained promotions. There’s also the battle with other station’s shows for guests. Plus we have the creation of bits that are hopefully entertaining and the fragile egos and insecurities of the talent. So if you never work in radio but want to know what it’s really like, just think of the on camera and backstage happenings of “The Larry Sanders Show.” Hey now!
Working in radio was like living in “The Larry Sanders Show”