The “F-Bomb” Heard ‘Round the Green Mountain State
by POPSIE 1956
It’s a given in broadcasting, there are just some words you can’t say..on purpose.
Years ago, we were given the list by George Carlin.
Times (and standards) have still loosen up since then, but even today, there’s one word you can NEVER say;
It does accidentally get uttered, especially on live TV News Shows:
In the 40 years I have been a broadcaster, I would LIKE to say I never said that word on the air…but I would be lying.
When I was doing college radio in the mid 70’s, I played this Who classic….but I played the long..uncensored version..
It was only a ten watt radio station, so no one really noticed.
Around the same time, I remember listening to a Cleveland radio station playing this album track from the Rolling Stones, NOT meant for air;
Instead of staying quiet, the idiot disc jockey announced the name of the song, the call letters of the radio station, AND his name! Dumb ass.
But NOTHING matched the events of November, 2002 in the Barre-Montpelier Vermont area, where for the first, and so far ONLY time in my broadcast career, I said THAT WORD on air.
I’m doing Mornings on Country station FROGGY 100.9; the Co Hosts of sister Top 40 station WORK FM presented me with an idea, something called STUFF A TRUCK.
Simple concept, the three of us would LIVE at the local mall, getting enough donated food for the Salvation Army to fill at least one tractor trailer, Traci Taylor and Tj Michaels actually slept IN the back of the truck, while I choose to reside in a trailer (I was cut some slack, I think, because of the wackier stunts I got involved with earlier in my career, and I WAS starting to close up on 50).
Keep in mind, this was going into the weekend before Thanksgiving…in Central Vermont…where it snows a lot…in November.
Starting on a Thursday morning, the three of us went live on our respective stations, live Morning Show till 10 AM, then live reports 2-3 times an hour till about 10 that night if I remember.
Friday morning, same routine.
However, come Saturday morning, we were collectively shot, very cold, very tired, very hungry, and VERY irritable.
I forgot to mention an ice storm greeted us that morning as well.
Personally, my nerves were frayed to the point of being destroyed, but we had a job to do, so we pushed on.
It was early afternoon; I’m ready for yet another live break, back at the station, a young, somewhat new talent by the air name of Kickin’ Kelli was in charge.
(Before I continue, I want to public apologize to Kelli for what happened next, I was wrong, things happen, and she’s in fact a very nice woman who I am friends with on Facebook).
But let’s concentrate on that day, and that scheduled break, shall we?
It’s time for me to talk, and I start doing so at the end of the song being played, however, I’m not on the air, all I hear is the end of the song followed by a cluster of commercials…I’m supposed to do a live break BEFORE the commercials.
I keep talking back to Kelli through the “Cue” channel (not the one heard on the air), but she’s not in the studio.
AND NOW I’M PISSED!
Had I not been through three very hard days, I probably wouldn’t have done this…but I did.
I SLAM my microphone to the ground, run over to Traci and Tj, who I see are holding their microphones, my goal is to talk with THEIR board op, in an attempt to locate Kelli.
How was I to know they were going to do a live break at that very instant?
Enraged, I GRAB the microphone from Traci’s hand, and in my loudest voice, I scream (and again, I think I’m just screaming to the board op…off the air) these immortal words…..
“WHERE’S MY F*CKING BOARD OP?”
I look at Traci and Tj, and the look on their faces just told me there were others…..MANY MANY MANY others…besides their board op…who heard what I just said.
To the great professional credit of Traci and Tj, they picked right up and went into the break as if nothing went wrong.
I felt absolutely HORRIBLE, I’m too much of a pro to let that happened, but it did, and there was nothing I could do to take it back.
Here’s the strange thing…..
Not ONE complaint!
I’m thinking most listeners just couldn’t believe what they heard, the conversations must have gone like this..
“Maw, did they just say f*ck on the radio?”
“Of course not Paw, they can’t say f*ck on the radio, maybe they said firetruck.”
Today, when I can’t say f*ck, I substitute the word firetruck, but it just doesn’t have the same impact;
See what I mean?
As awkward a time as that was, I consider it one of the highlights of my broadcast career!
Today, Tj is still at it up there, and STUFF A TRUCK has become widely successful, the 2014 version starts in just a few days.
Good luck you old firetruck!