IT AIN’T JUST A MOVIE!

by POPSIE 1956

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I’m sure many people are familiar with this scene, as well as this movie.

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There are even some in my field of broadcasting who only think of it as a pretty cool Clint Eastwood movie.

However, there are some of us, myself included, who have had at minimum SOME contact with individuals as the female lead in this movie..we lovingly call them PSYCHO BITCHES FROM HELL!

To be fair, the label NUT JOB cannot be applied just to a female listener, those with a penis are just as wacky…I was gonna say nutty but that would be a given joke.

FOR THE RECORD-These type of folks make up a relatively small portion of listenership, probably the same number as in society in general.

Later on, I will share with you my story involving a listener who carried sharp objects. I am safe today, but it was a hard lesson learned.

To non broadcasting people, I must pause, lest you think no one but crazy people listen to the radio.

In fact, no one but crazy people WORK in radio, but it IS a requirement to get behind the microphone.

Truthfully, most radio listeners are harmless, and with the advancement in medical science nowadays, it’s hoped that number will continue to increase.

Someone once asked me why there are….quirky…people who become one with the lonely voice in the speaker.

Easy answer, there are a quite large number of very lonely people.

Many of these lonely people have no one in their life, so they find someone on the air and “attach” themselves to that personality, they have really nothing else going for them.

To those in the business, I have always said it’s a compliment to how good of an effective communicator you are.

Still, we “on the air,” no matter what we do (and I really like to think things have changed in the 40 plus years I’ve been at it), don’t have a “real” life.

If we are popular enough, it’s difficult to leave the job and completely be you; you are ALWAYS on the clock, and, unfortunately, your actions might reflect upon not only the station, but the character you create.

Case in point; during my Top 40/CHR years in Albany NY at FLY 92, I went through the “NKOTB Years.” (New Kids On The Block if you don’t know.)

During this time, they were…..OK…to me (I have since grown to appreciate them).

But when you’re doing a listener generated nightly Top Ten Request Countdown, and 8-9 of the Top Ten are…THEM…well I must paraphrase Groucho Marx on his old game show, when told by a contestant she had something like 10-15 kids, and she loves her husband very much, Marx was heard to say he loves his cigar too, but he takes it out of his mouth every once in a while.

So, during this time, I was given a “New Kids Suck,” shirt to wear….but THERE WAS NO WAY I COULD!

If Shadow Michaels, who played THEM every night and said he loved THEM and dedicated his life to THEM was seen around town with a shirt dissing THEM, the career was over, the radio station was over, and Boston quite frankly would have become the new Nation’s Capital.

I DID wear the shirt…the day I got fired from the job…and FOR THREE WEEKS STRAIGHT AFTERWARD….screw you Donnie, hang tough onto THIS!

But, I digress.

Some time back, I asked current and former co workers to tell me their experiences with…odd…unusual…listeners. Got a fantastic response, and I was going to include them here, but chose to hold theirs back for the “comments” section of the post. I have a feeling EVERYONE in the field has SOMEONE they can discuss.

And if you want to play TRUTH OR DARE, if YOU may have been…a little TOO close to a radio personality..all is forgiven, feel free to share with the group…and for now we will not ask for your doctors’ permission to do so.

Let me mention a BRIEF handful from my time.

The Tree Stand Man-I’m in Barre-Montpelier, VT, where deer hunting is STRONGLY encouraged. T.S.M. was a fan of our Country Music Radio station, and overall was tame BUT he loved killing them deer, the more points the better. What set T.S.M. apart was after KILLING said deer, he tied it up on his vehicle, blood dripping and all, and DROVE UP THE HILL TO THE RADIO STATION TO SHOW IT OFF! This is a man with a gun…was I gonna be the one to tell him not to do it anymore? HELL NO!

Chester-Yes, rhymes with..well you know. This was in Columbus, Indiana, and Chester was a janitor at the local mall. Chester likes to talk and get REAL close to my wife and (then) teenage daughter, the closer he got, the more funny sounds came out of his mouth…I think one of the sounds was….”giggity”…no need for further discussion

The Radio Whore With The Bicycle-Albany NY, this piece of work would show up at EVERY SINGLE REMOTE BROADCAST AND PUBLIC APPEARANCE WE DID…no matter WHERE we were, and no matter WHAT the weather was, the dipshit would show up on his stupid little bike, and with ten pound balls on him, not even say hi just “What’s the free stuff?” We were amused for a bit then we all tired of his game. Eventually we started giving him schedules of remotes and public appearances of the other radio stations, didn’t matter to him, he just wanted free shit…and THAT leads to..

A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose-Please don’t be offended (SPOILER ALERT), but everyone in my business knows the words PRIZE PIG. This is someone who can scope out EVERY RADIO STATION WITHIN LISTENING RANGE, know WHAT they are giving away, how valuable it is, and what are the station contest rules. That way, for example, she listens and wins big on Station A, and can’t win for at least 30 days; she stops listening to Station A and starts listening st Station B, pulling the same routine, etc etc etc down the line of EVERY STATION that has contesting, until she has won ON ALL OF THEM, by that time she is OK to win on Station A again, and the cycle continues.I use the name Rose as an example, in my area, I have awarded a prize to that woman at quite a number of stations within a say 120 mile radius! A number of broadcast associates know her, I could easily put her last name down but I don’t want to get sued…but people know of whom I speak

Now we get to two of my all time favorite, and I start with someone I call The Coupon Lady from Mansfield, Ohio. WAY back in the day, it was VERY acceptable for listeners to get free food, home made stuff or store bought, from loyal listeners, and man was it tasty! In the case of T.C.L., she had an odd story. She was an Extreme Coupon Collector decades before it became vogue, and could buy HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS OF FOOD FOR PENNIES! She then passed the savings onto us. All was well until one night I (and some co workers), after we signed off the station at midnight stopped at Kroger around the corner for a snack before we hit the bar. We noticed T.C.L.’s station wagon behind the Kroger, and then, we saw she put on hip waders AND GO DUMPSTER DIVING!!!!!! She HID in the dumpster till the Kroger stock boys threw out ALL the (still good) food that JUST hit the “SELL BY” mark and had to be tossed. As the stock boys went back in, T.C.L. threw all the just thrown out food into the wagon, making a bee line for home to freeze up the goods….NO ONE EVER ATE ANOTHER MOUTHFUL AGAIN!

PIE R SQUARED=…..MURDER! My all time favorite, and AS GOD IS MY WITNESS IT’S ALL TRUE. This is my first experience with a …disturbed…listener, we called her The Fudge Lady, who for years made us all the MOST WONDERFUL cakes, cookies, and especially fudge. She seemed very harmless, until one night…..doing my first FT radio gig, a live graveyard shift music show.. One night T.F.L. calls me up in tears, saying her step son had JUST KILLED A GUY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!The next day she brings us another pie, but instead of a great looking/smelling/tasting delight, this one is burnt to a crisp, kinda smelly and lumpier than normal…we all look at it and say…”the guy is in the pie!” It sits in the kitchen for NEARLY a month till we threw it out. BTW, to my knowledge…that murder is still unsolved.

FINALLY, the KNIFE thing. VERY long story short, I’m sure it really doesn’t happen as much but back in the day radio personalities would…..uh…..date…..radio listeners…..sight unseen…..most times initiated by the listener calling the radio personality to tell them how sexy they sound on the air.

Male or female, if a listener calls a radio station to sweet talk with the personality….odds are they can’t get a date on their own, and they don’t have money for porn.

So one night this woman called me, I was…between engagements…and wanted to meet…I was working a graveyard shift, and arraigned to meet her at the bar AT SIX IN THE MORNING!

We meet, my mistake, she has a hairlip.

Well this isn’t gonna happen so I have one drink and make my excuse to leave.

She asks if I can drive her home, it’s right around the corner.

In a hairlip voice.

I say sure, anything to get out of there.

Drop her off, blah blah blah, then she says “You’re coming in with me,”

In a hairlip voice.

I decline and she states it again.

Still in a hairlip voice.

I decline a second time.

She asks a third time (yes, hairlip voice) and this time pulls a blade from her purse, insisting we go NOW.

I agree and as she’s opening the front door (I’m younger and thinner than now) I reach a leg up, kick her in the hairlip, knocking her out of the car, then haul ass.

Never hear from her or see her again.

I consider myself lucky.

So did I learn my lesson?

In time….but nothing THAT dangerous ever happened again.

A different time..

a different place…

a different statute of limitations…

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