There I was, a teenage DJ working part time at a religious radio station. I did a weekend shift and in the summer I worked evenings. The pay would be low if you were raising a family, but for a teenager it wasn’t too bad.
I did other chores too, the first year they were in business, I painted the interior of the building. I was also their janitor service, which entailed cleaning the bathrooms and vacuming the building once a week. It was a small time station with 2 offices, 2 studios and a reception area. There was never more than three people working at any given time.
My favorite employee was the receptionist Marge. She was an elderly lady that had been at KOWH AM since it was a top 40 station in the 60s. She still fashioned that WWII hair-doo, puffy on top and shaped in a square. Most noticable was her bright red lipstick that would stick to her cigarette butts in the ashtray, which was always full because she chained smoked.
She had a deep rough cigarette voice that was twice as deep as mine. She talked like a dunk sailor too, which was extra funny because KOWH was a christian radio station. Political correctness didn’t exist yet, so she would say anything that came to mind.
I recall one time she was complaining that John (the morning DJ) would have the air conditioner set at 65 degrees, “I told him, you don’t need to keep it so god-damn cold in here…are you getting hot flashes or what? I thought I was the old lady in the building.”
She continued, “I had to run the whole radio station yesterday because Bill (the manager) took off at noon with one of his bufu buddies…God knows what he does with his friends when they leave the building. They’re all gay, I can tell. He needs to stop pretending he’s not gay, he’s not fooliing anybody. Not me anyways.”
“And you, just standing there laughing…what are you high again? It’s only a matter of time before you end up in jail with your Mexican Ganster Buddies…then we’ll see who’s laughing!”
“Ok, okay Marge. How’s Vernon doing these days?” I replied.
She flicked a cigarette ash on the carpet and stomped on it, then ground it into the carpet. “Vernon! Vernon had a run-in with Bill last week. You should have seen the two go at it! I though Vernon was gonna punch him in the mouth…God know where that mouth has been! Vernon said he was a pole barrer for his grandpa’s funeral…I told Bill, Vernon took time off for his grandpa’s funeral two years ago.”
She lite another cigarette and continued, “Then Bill went into the studio and started yelling at him. Vernon jumped out of his seat and told Bill to back off. If Vernon wasn’t black, I’m sure his face would have been red as a beet. He yelled right back, ‘Oh, no you didn’t! You don’t yell at me…you don’t yell at me! You wanna yell at someone, go have kids and yell at them!”
She flicked more ashes on the carpet, despite there was an ashtray right next to her phone. “You should have seen Bill, he was ready to shit his pants. You know those types aren’t built for confrontation like that. He just high-tailed out of there. I know Vernon’s gonna quit, I could see it in his face…”
“Well, we’ll see, I gotta start my shift.” I replied.
“Try not to screw up too badly, you need to rehearse your news updates so you don’t sound like a 12 yr old retard…” Marge commented as I left.
Marge was the best.
And Now You Know!
Song in my head:
COMING NEXT: The All Night DJ!
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