my radio stories so here's another one.
Back in the days when one company didn’t own ten stations in the same market there was such a thing as “competition”. Especially in the ‘60s and ‘70s there were usually two rock stations going head-to-head in every town. This could lead to radio wars. Stations would try to sabotage each others contests and promotions. It was all in good fun.
Best of all was if you could somehow get on the air on the competing station and embarrass them live.
You didn’t have to be employees of the competing station to participate. You could be a diabolical listener just out for a few laughs.
I have been known to be one such diabolical listener (little wonder I became co-writer of all the CHEERS practical joke Bar Wars episodes).
But in 1973 I had some issues. Not with him. Charlie's a great guy. He's the voice-of-God on at least one TV station in every market. "NOW! It's time for Eyewitness News at 11!" He's that guy. Him I love, but I had problems with the station at the time.
Charlie was the morning man on KHJ, Los Angeles. Once a great radio station, the guiding forces had recently been replaced by a martinet program director, Paul Drew, who sapped all the imagination and creativity out of the station.
They were running an on-air contest called Columbo, based on the popular TV character of the time. Charlie announced it was time to play the game and he would take the tenth call. I phoned in and what do you know, I was caller number ten. Using a pseudonym, I played the game. Here’s the result, recorded right off the air.
What I said, for those who couldn't hear clearly was: "Paul Drew for killing KHJ."
And now... Charlie's side of the story.
I asked him if he wouldn't mind sharing his remembrance of the incident. Here's what he more-than-graciously had to say:
Ken, I remember it well! The format script said I was supposed to say, "Would you repeat that, please!" The small pause you heard before I spoke again was me looking down the contest script for the next line! Think about it, the odds of being the correct caller in a market the size of LA are incredible! You pulled off a one of a kind prank! Classic!
Thanks, Charlie. Oh, I miss those days.