Tuesday, February 21, 2006


When I was a baby deejay, my radio station hired a new overnight guy. He was a chubby stupid kid with a lousy voice - about the only guy willing to stay up all night in Ocean City making 8 bucks an hour.

He came on the air after my show, and I tried to loosen him up, because I could tell he was a bundle of nerves. We had MAYBE 100 listeners at overnight, maybe 150, so, he had no need to be nervous, but nervous he was. I was a little peeved he showed up five minutes before his shift, but, hey, I don't pay the checks.

ME: Alright, my time is just about done this evening, but please continue to listen to the X because we have a very talented young man hitting the airwaves tonight. So, Dude (not knowing what his radio name is, I improvised), talk to me. What's your name?

DUDE: Uh.... uh...

ME: Damn, I've stumped him already. How'd those SATs work out for you, negative -200 on the English. What's your name?

HIM: Uh... (he does this for 30 seconds)

ME: Wow...you are a man truly with a gift of speech. You guys working all night at Togo's Pizza are in for a treat tonight (look at me giving a shout-out to the advertisers!!!), so, everybody, enjoy this night with Mystery Man deejay. This is (some crappy alt-rock song from 1995) on X 106 point 9

ME: (turns off mic) : Dude, you are aware that one of the vital things of being a deejay is the ability to speak into a microphone, right?

DUDE: (eyes roll back into head) Um...uh...

DUDE is passed out. On falling, he hits the CD cart machine, knocking it four or five songs in advance. His milkshake pours all over a stack of discs. ME has to get back on the air, quick.

ME: (flipping on mic) That sound is brought to you by Dude, who is simply passed out (ME starts cracking up) I mean, striaght up, this guy was standing next to me 20 seconds ago...and ...he he he... he wiped out ON the desk, and the floor. I wish I had a camera, this is brilliant...(ME really cracks up) Hehehehehehahahahahah!!! This station hired a mute deejay....good Lord...(getting serious) is he even alive? Dude is OUT, and his damned milkshake spilled everywhere. He just nailed the new Supergrass disc...covered in McDonald's milkshake...this is great...this guy...Dude! DUDE!! Wake up! (ME pauses) Oh well, I guess I'm doing overnight shift tonight, call me on the request line at..."

DUDE: ungggh

ME : Dude's coming to!

DUDE: uh...

ME : You alright? You just passed out.

DUDE: ungggh.. my...ouch...

ME: (cues a CD) here's (some other crappy 1995 alt-rock song) and I'll see if Dude's ok.

Me: Damn, man. That looked painful.
DUDE: I'm Johnny.
Me: Hey Johnny. First night as a deejay?
DUDE: Yeah.
Me: you need some water, chips? something?
DUDE: Nah, I'm cool.
Me: you ok to go on?
DUDE: I don't know. Little dizzy.
Me: (realizing I'm going to be pulling an all-nighter) How about I hang out with you for a bit `til I know you're OK?
DUDE: Yeah
Me: So, you know how to follow a playlist?
Me: HUH?!?!?!?
DUDE: What's that?
Me: A list of songs that you need to play. Computer over there shoots it out for us.
DUDE: I don't get to play what I want?
Me: No!
DUDE: Damn
Me: You know how to use a board?
Dude: this thing you're using?
Me: Yeah
Dude: No
Dude: Sorry...
Me: It's ok, I'll teach you. Now, first off, what's your radio name?
Dude : Huh?
Me: GAH!!! You need a radio name.
Dude: Well, what should I be?
Me: Well, what's your name?
Dude: Johnny (somethin or another)
Me : (looks at the milkshake debris and the fact he needs protection...) Condom.
Dude: What?
Me: Johnny Condom. That's your name.
Johnny Condom: Cool.

For the next hour or two, I show him how the control board works, how to read a play list, how to front sell, how to back sell, how to read our weather and news machine. By 2am, I figure he's good to run solo. We start off with just him talking, and I'll run the board.

Johnny Condom : (says nothing)
ME: (whispering) speak...
Johnny Condom : Uh, hi. I'm Johnny Condom. (pauses...then comes a complete halt)
ME: talk more...
Johnny Condom: OK... (stops again)
ME: who played that song?
Johnny Condom: That was Nirvana?
ME: Good! What song was it?
Johnny Condom: I don't know
ME: Read the sheet
Johnny Condom: Oh.
ME: Well, what song was it? Tell the nice audience
Johnny Condom: Uh, it was the one Bowie did
ME: Good enough.

The rest of the evening went a lot like that.

Needless to say, when the morning show guys showed up at 5:30, they weren't shocked to see me still there. Both had listened to this audio trainwreck on the way in to work, and the ironic thing was that one of the morning show guys was also the INCREDIBLY cheap station owner...the guy who hired Johnny Condom.

JJ (aka cheap statio owner) : He's not ready for prime-time, is he?
ME: Nope. He's pretty awful.
JJ: I'm not paying you for the past six hours.
ME: Whatever.

Johnny Condom's radio career lasted three weeks. Other highlights included him breaking the stool in the studio - which I sat on the next night and damned near killed myself in the process - and saying "Oh F*ck!" on the air.

God Bless Johnny Condom

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