Saturday, February 22, 2014
In the mid 70s I was an all-night disc jockey in San Bernardino. Trying to be funny every three minutes for the eight 7-11 night managers and half of them were probably tied up in the back. My dream was to someday be on the radio in LA, my hometown. Considering my voice I always figured it was a longshot. Meanwhile, one of my college campus radio buddies rocketed up the radio ladder of success and was a jock on KKDJ, the first top 40 FM station in Los Angeles. Their studios were in a skyscraper in Hollywood and their studio looked out over the entire city. This WAS the big time! I heard through the grapevine that there was an opening for weekend all-nights (clearly the worst shift in broadcast history). Still, for me it was the brass ring, primetime, and the pimp spot all rolled into one. Just think, I’d be talking to 7-11 night managers in Downey and City of Industry!
I called my friend (we’ll call him “Bobby”) and asked if he’d arrange a meeting with the program director, Rick Carroll. He did and I got a appointment the following day. When I got off the air that morning I took a bunch a tapes of recent shows and cobbled together an audition tape, featuring some of my best lines of the week.
I caught an hour’s sleep, put on my only decent clothes, and barreled up to Los Angeles. Rick Carroll ushered me into his office, we had some charming chit chat, and then he said, “So let’s see what you sound like.” He put on my tape and after two sets turned off the recorder. He turned to me and said, “Are you fucking crazy?” “Wha?” I was stunned. He continued: “How can you come into my office and give me a tape and steal all of Bobby’s material?” Now I was flabbergasted. “But it’s not… this is my stuff” I pleaded. Cutting to the chase he threw me out of his office.
I ran to a phone to call Bobby. Oh, he was apologetic. He was such a fan he used to listen to me in the middle of the night and subconsciously he guessed, he “borrowed” my material without realizing it.
Yeah. Right. It was an “homage”.
Then tell Rick Carroll the truth, I said. Well, that he didn’t want to do because he thought it might jeopardize his job.
He and I are not close today.
So I didn’t get the job and at the time thought I had missed my only opportunity to ever be on the radio in Los Angeles.
Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. Tell you tomorrow.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM