Some of the best stories I tell are courtesy of my buddies that function as on-the-air radio personalities. The ones contained here are one hundred percent true.
I was visiting one buddy that was stuck on the overnight shift. I would always call the stations hotline and ask if he needed me to pick up anything. Now all radio stations have a hotline. It is reserved for employees and stations managers and program directors that needed to speak to whoever was working immediately and not have to wait until the personality answered the phones.
Due to the number of commercials I cut at the various local stations and my friendship with a number of the on-the-air personalities, I was fortunate enough to be trusted with the hotline numbers to these stations.
So I called one of my best buddies stuck working the overnight shift and asked if he needed anything. He requested that I pick up a large pizza and some Coke. Now back before cell phones, there were pay phones on almost every street corner. Upon my arrival, I simply called him from the pay phone from across the street. He would glance out the window and I had ten seconds to run across the street and grab the door handle.
He then buzzed me in and after ensuring that the door was once again locked I headed to the studio. We ate pizza in between playing music and listening to the callers. He activated the speaker connected to the phone so I could hear the callers. Some of them were unreal.
"Hey man," a stoned-sounding male said."Play that song about the reefer."
"Excuse me?" my friend responded.
"You played it a few hours ago and I wanna hear it again," the voice drawled.
We looked at each other and shrugged as we had no idea what he was talking about.
"Can you hum a few bars?' the air personality asked.
"They say don't fear the reefer a lot," the caller insisted.
Suddenly my buddy doubled over with laughter. He laughed so long and hard he had tears in his eyes. I couldn't understand what elicited such a response.
"The song is called The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult. It's from their Agents of Fortune album. What they are saying is 'don't fear the reaper'," my buddy went on while trying to stop laughing.
"Bummer. I thought they were talking about reefer," the caller said and hung up.
Play that song about the reefer became a constant tagline between us for years.
Now as funny as that was, it pales in comparison to the next story.
One of the top rock stations was going to be off the air for about a half an hour so they could perform some maintenance at their transmitter. They talked about it all morning and around 1:00 pm the station went silent. If you turned the radio on and punched in the dial setting to the station all you heard was static.
As the end of the half-hour approached my telephone rang. It was my buddy Vince that worked at that station.
"Turn on your radio, this caller you won't believe," he told me before hanging up.
About a minute or so later the static stopped and the radio station jingle came on to announce that they were back on the air. My buddy, Vince came on and struggled not to laugh as he began to talk.
"I got this call shortly before we started broadcasting again. I recorded it because none of your would have ever believed me," he continued.
There was a pause before the recording began.
"Good afternoon, WLIR radio," we heard Vince's voice say.
"Hey, what's that album you been playing for the last half hour?" a male's voice asked.
Now the voice didn't sound stoned or drunk.
"Oh that's the new Pink Floyd album," Vince stated.
"Cool. When is it due out?" the voice asked.
"At Christmas," Vince responded trying not to laugh.
"Sweet," was all the caller responded before he hung up.