The best career choice I ever made was getting out of radio and into television writing. Well... actually it was all the radio stations that fired me that helped nudge me in that direction. But in between my long stretches of unemployment and pleading for all-night shifts in Fresno I did have a lot of fun... and compiled a lot of stories.
once was a time when Clear Channel didn’t own every radio station in
America. There used to be such a thing as “competition” (an arcane word
you may have to look up in
the dictionary). In the mid 70’s in San Francisco there was quite a
battle raging between KFRC and KYA. I was a disc jockey at KYA at the
time (as Beaver Cleaver), working the coveted 10 pm – 2 am shift. Across
town, KFRC countered with Beau Weaver (pictured). Despite this “heated”
rivalry, Beau and I were friends and I would usually meet him for a
bite after we got off the air (unless I got a better offer from one of
the hot young listeners. In other words, I met Beau every single night.)
playlist was very rigid. At KYA I could pretty much play anything
except “the Unicorn Song”. One night I had an idea and called Beau on
his hotline. I had him tell me the songs he was going to play
that hour and in what order. I then played the same songs at the exact
same time. The phones at both stations went nuts. People were
breathlessly telling me that KFRC was playing the same songs I was
playing. I told them that was ABSURD! I hated those motherfuckers! Beau
told his flabbergasted callers the same thing. Why would he play the
same songs as those pathetic losers at KYA?
We got a good chortle
out of this and decided to repeat the stunt…every night from midnight –
1:00. The listeners were just going bat shit!! One called the Guinness
Book of Records. Another sent the probability tables. Eventually, the
KFRC program director found out about this, blew a gasket, and that was
the end of that. It was great fun while it lasted.
And then the
ratings came out. From midnight - 1:00 Beau Weaver creamed me. And I
thought to myself, Jesus how bad am I when we played the exact same damn
It’s a lesson I learned in television, and when I was
on MASH and we were up against THREE’S COMPANY, no matter how much they
begged, I wouldn’t give them any of our sucking chest wound jokes. I
like to think it’s the reason MASH lasted 11 seasons instead of six.
Thank you, Beau Weaver.