Radio is stranger than fiction! Below you will find true stories and comments about the radio business. In some cases the names of the individuals and the call letters of the station have been changed or omitted so they will not feel the wrath of the station's highly paid legal department.
Please share your experiences and comments with us. Just send us an e-mail with the grizzly details of your radio horror story. E-Mail your story or comments to KRUD
Subject: Know What Not To Say On The Air
From: Name withheld by request
The following is a perfect example of how to learn from other people's
I was the one who made the mistake. There I was, sittin' pretty in a top-50 market in a great town. I was Production Director at a Howard stern affiliate and had a short two-hour lunchtime air shift.
Everything's was going great. Then Princess Diana decides to go on her infamous car ride. In an effort to keep with the stations "envelope-pushing" status, and to stay topical... (Keep in mind, her body wasn't even cold yet.) I cracked the mic. and offered lunch to the third person to call up and say: "I'm so hungry, I could eat Princess Dianna's dead, rotting corpse."
They did call, but they didn't merely call me, they also called our sponsors, and our GM. But wait, that's not all... After I knew I was in deep shit, I explained via e-mail to my friend Gary (Bababooey) of the Stern show what was going on. Unbenounced to me, he thought it would be of interest to Howard himself! So, there is Howard Stern reading MY e-mail to 40 million listeners, including my PD and GM.
They felt I not only pushed the "envelope" too far, but I also licked it, stamped it, and mailed it right up the station's ass.
That next day, I'm in the parking lot wondering where I can get resumes printed cheap.
The moral? Leave dead royalty alone, unless you have Howard Stern's lawyers.
From: Name withheld by request
I'm a 25-year radio vet, with lots of medium- and major-market experience. This includes a long stretch with a national network syndicator.
For several weeks, I've been engaged in phone conversations with a certain medium-market PD. I had sent him tape and resume in response to his classified ad, which stated that his successful station was looking for a new morning person/music director.
He called me last week and asked that I come up for an interview. In the course of that phone conversation, he said, "You understand, this won't be a 45- or 50-thousand-dollar-a-year job, right?" I replied that I understood this, based on the size of the market.
I went out Tuesday and spent over $80 on new clothes (even a tie!) ... Made the six-hour, 400-mile drive on Friday night ... the station put me up in a nice hotel, and paid for my meals ... Then came Saturday's interview with the PD and the GM.
Not only would the station *not* pay for my relocation, but ... The job pays $22-thousand dollars a year. (They later allowed as to how they thought they could bring it up to $22-thousand-five, just for me.)
It's been over twenty years since I've worked for that kind of money. My jaw dropped. I stood up, shook hands, and made the six-hour, 400-mile drive back home.
Subject: Tale of terror
Just a quick note to say, "Keep up the great work!" You've got this crazy business pegged.
My horror story involves my ongoing, four-plus year battle with my General Micromanager just to keep my dignity. This is a guy who has 30 years in the business, has managed in major markets, and has managed to run every broadcast property he's ever owned right into the dirt. Yet, my absentee owners hired him to run our little group of two FM's and an AM.
This guy only knows how to operate two pieces of equipment in the entire building: the fax machine and the flush handle on the toilet, yet if you ask him, he's forgotten more about this business than you or I will ever know.
This is the guy who bitches us out at department head meetings 'cause we're only cash flowing 30 percent, then sends the P & L to the owners with a note patting himself on the back because we're cash flowing "an amazing 30 percent." (his own words)
One morning I'm in the restroom doing what most of us hope we can do once a day, and before I know it, he's shouting at me through the door, wanting to know why the hell (morning show host) was playing a particular song. I couldn't even hear the radio to know what song he was playing, and this guy sure as hell couldn't even tell me. Then, I got bitched out because it was obvious to him I didn't know what was going on on my own station.
But, soon revenge will be mine. It seems our dear little GM went and traded out over $17,000 in new furniture, including a big-screen TV for his son's family, and did it without the owners' knowledge. He's thinking everything's cool, but then finds out that the furniture store owner, who's just a little left of honest, forged his name on a credit application and loan papers, and suddenly he's getting statements from a finance company, wanting to know when he's going to start paying off the $17,000 he has borrowed from them. Now, he's spooked. He can't press charges against the furniture store guy, because the owners will find out what he did. Even worse, he's paying the finance company back out of the station's bank account. All it's gonna take is an anonymous mailing of the cancelled checks to the owner with a short note of explanation, and he'll have gotten a long ride on a slow boat out of here. I think I'll also enclose copies of my jocks' time sheets, along with copies of sternly worded memos denying overtime, and carbon copy those to the local enforcement division of the Labor Department.
I could tell tons more, but I don't want to hog space. Thanks for
letting me blow off steam.
Subject: Don't Screw Around At The Office
Ya know, after 18 years in radio one will learn NOT to date a sales person.(at the same station you work at) Too bad it took 18 years.
BOTH unemployed in the south
Is THAT in the non-compete
Subject: Tale from the Trenches
Thought you might like to hear this one.
We had just put our new FM on the air. Before we had had the only station in town, an AM. It was election night. Reagan was running for re-election. It was a new control room. I came in at 6pm to run the board. (I was being punished for telling the Owner where to go, so I was on the night shift). We only had one cart machine and a reel to reel.
There was a reel of tape on the R-R. The GM told me to put half of the commercials on reel and play half on the cart. I ASKED HIM IF THE TAPE HAD BEEN BULKED. He said "it's alright". Duh. I recorded half of the commercials onto the reel and left a few minutes of dead air at the end of the commercials. (safety margin). We were well into the broadcast. We would take UPI news at the top of the hour, followed by me reading the state results and then we would go to the remote at the courthouse for the local results. Everyone must have had their ears glued to the NEW RADIO STATION.
I had played the last commercial on the tape and then a cart. "And now live from the G....County Courthouse, here's soandso." I turned up the pot to the courthouse and soandso starting talking. I checked off the commercials on the log and then started listening to soandso and realized he wasn't saying ANYTHING about the election. WEIRD? All of a sudden he says "OH F**K". The only thing I could see was the VU meter going into the red on the f-word. He proceeded to cuss and gripe and I turned of the pot to the courthouse but he just kept on talking!
Finally I took the whole board off the air. You probably have guessed what had happened. The reel had reached the end of the blank space and was playing the new newsdirector (soandso) trying to finish a newscast without making a mistake.
There was about 3 minutes of dead air before we figured out what was going on. If soandso had said even a single word from the courthouse I would have know immediately what was going on. BUT NO!!.
The look on the GM's face at the door was a combination of horror and humor. When I got home that night I laughed for a half an hour imagining what the listeners must have thought.
Subject: tales from the trenches
Your cartoon comments about salesmen are right on the money. A couple of years ago, my first job was at a small group of three stations in a west Kentucky town. I was filling in the midday shift on the AM talk station (a.k.a. the one that wasn't entirely automated). The owner was in the process of starting up a low power TV station, and on this particular day, he found out that some representatives from The WB were coming.
Everyone went completely crazy. They rented a limo and everything. Anyway, the head salesman had come up with the idea of doing remotes on the FM station from various regional supermarkets each Friday for the "Great American Picnic." Suddenly, this day, this guy (who had each week pawned the duty off on somebody else) demanded that I do it. I informed him that I had the "Trading Post" call-in show to do at that time (which was a fairly well-listened-to program) on the AM station. Well, he informed me that he didn't give a #$^@ what was on the AM station because the FM station was what got the money and it was therefore the only thing that mattered.
Anyway, after some discussion with the owner, they decided to run the station on network for the show (without having any prior notice on the air). I packed up my "remote equipment" (a cellular phone) and drove 25 miles to the supermarket, where the store management seemed to have no idea who I was or what I was there for. The remote eventually went off alright, but I found it amusing that the salespeople and management would basically leave the entire facility to the care of two people for three hours so that they could shmooze with network brass while ditching one show and putting their remote under the care of an unprepped 18 year-old with a cellular phone.
Now Working In Public Radio
This is like the WKRP In Cincinnati of the Internet.... most people don't realize that most stations really are like that in some ways and most have a Les Nesman, Herb Tarlek, etc.
The stupid listener questions are so accurate it's scary....
By the way...I'm wondering if I'm the only one that works at a station where the owners kids are basically losers and so they act as "consultants" on everything from sales to programming although none of them has the qualifications or skills to run the pre-recorded Sunday Morning church programming if they had to...
Its the old, "we can't get real jobs, but Dad owns the place so we're experts".
Baby Sitting in the South
Thanks for NOT posting e-mail addresses of people that write you..... I
like my job....
Subject: KRUD site as educational tool
Excellent work gentlemen!!
KRUD is dead-on accurate...I'm sorry to say that I've been a morning guy and/or PD for nearly 15 years, and the only way to deal with this business is to laugh at it all, and work out some golf trade for yourself!!!
This site should be required reading for the fifty-thousand or so pre-pubescent punks(not including most PDs) who have approached me at remotes with that oh-so-popular question: "Uh, he-he, like, uh, what do I gotta do to get on the radio , uh, like you, uh, man? Your job is so cool!"
I tell 'em to hang in there at the BK...someday they may get the drive-through window assignment, which is where most of us radio guys either started, or will end up!
Peace to all of you artists who got into the biz when personality was still allowed, and music wasn't just product.
What the Hell, Peace to you guys who got into the biz to get laid too!
Until BK is hiring, I'm still....
Cookster on the X
Subject: My Real Radio Nightmare
Your cartoons are the best! Keep up the good work! Truth IS stranger than fiction, especially in this biz!
The following is a true story; only the names have been changed to protect the....
I was working afternoons at an album rock station in the early 70's (back in the days of "Underground FM Radio") when my worst nightmare came true. It was the day after I'd gone out for some greasy Mexican food and I was paying for it big-time with a bad case of the runs during my airshift. In order to buy myself some time to take care of business, I loaded up "Hey Jude" on the turntable and dove across the hall into the john for the 99th time.
Now we all know how that song goes -- on and on, repeating the same "Na, na, na, na-na-na-naaaa" chorus.... NO way to get a handle on where it is or how much of it remains to play just by listening to it. And there was no timing listed on the label, either. I knew the song was a good long cut, but I cut it too close for comfort and the unthinkable happened: the song -- the LAST cut on the LP-- ended. I got caught with my pants down, literally!
So, I hobbled across the hall into the studio and grabbed the first record I could find. It was a Harry Nilsson album, one with which I was not all that familiar: "Nilsson, Schmilsson". Can you guess which song I dropped the needle on? The title seemed harmless enough, and besides, I was a man in a hurry. Guessed it yet? It was called, "You're Breaking My Heart". I got it rolling, breathed a sigh of relief and started searching for a Moody Blues album I could relieve myself to without further interruption.
Meanwhile, Harry was singing along and finally got to the chorus: "You're breakin' my heart, tearin' it apart, so F--- you!!!" I couldn't believe my ears! I whipped the needle off the air, got into a long spot cluster and waited for the phone to ring. (Remember, this was at 2:20 in the afternoon in the middle of the week.) Incredibly, just ONE call came in, and it was from some college kids in town having a keg party; they said, "Hey, that was COOL, man! Play it AGAIN!!"
Why wasn't I fired on the spot? Luck was with me that day because the rest of our staff was out of town for the NAB convention, and I swore the receptionist to secrecy!
Subject: Dumb and Dumber
I work in a public radio station and I have a story to go along with the great "Did you know you're off the air?" cartoon. Upon telling the caller " yes we are off the air because of the storm".....the elderly lady on the other end of the line asked, "Well, shouldn't you announce it"?.
Also, I'm the afternoon drive newscaster here, and at least a few times a week, I get calls from people who want to know what the classical host played earlier today, last night or even last week. Wish some of these people would realize that they should call the person who played it! Not the news person who is running around trying to get stories together! Goes to show you that Classical music listeners aren't any smarter than rock or country fans.
Subject: Your site 'n'stuff
Hi. Not sure if my last mail went to you before my computer crashed, so I apologise if you've already go one!
Basically, I said your site was really cool and everytrhing in the hope that if I grovelled sufficiently, you might look at My Site which has some real audio files from stuff I do on the radio over here in the UK.
They wanted an american radio reporter/talk host. I said "get an American" they said "we want someone who sounds more american than an american".
Kinda wierd huh?
just wanted to drop you guys a note to let you know that all of us at XXXX FM in West Virginia LOVE your page! As production director, I particularly loved the DEATH OF A SALESMAN cartoon. And I think that "explanation" of the cartoons for listeners is right on target. Let's hope that every stupid listener in the universe reads those.
Here's an idea for a cartoon that actually happened to us...we gave away a $250 gift certificate for an oak curio at a local furniture store to a listener. She takes the certificate, complains at the store that she didn't need the curio cabinet...the store owner was nice enough to let her choose something else of the same value. She wanted a baby crib, and then bitched because the selection of cribs wasn't nearly large enough for her to choose something she liked. Some people. Thanks again for KRUD! It's great!
Subject: The Nightmare story
I had the Friday and Saturday Mid-7am shift (Uni radio station, but still the only late-night one there). One night this guy from one of the colleges decides I'm the woman of his dreams. He decides to come up to the station and see me. Now, I'm not against meeting new people and all that, but he turns up - six foot tall, about 250+lbs, imagine a cross between an overweight truckie and a mentally deficient Great Dane. And about as attractive as the back ends of each.
So he starts trying to slobber over me, I'm trying to run a shift and the station is deserted, he's smoking in the studio (which normally I didn't mind but the cheap tobacco stinks), and finally (he'd had a few to drink and god knows how he managed to get past the Breath Test Unit up the road) he had to go to the bathroom. (Which is, as you so accurately described) halfway to the next building. As soon as he's safely out of the Station (five rooms at the end of a corridor - hey, Uni stations ain't got a lot of budget) I dump his coat and fags in the corridor, bolt the door and call security - who are off at some break-in at the other end of the campus and can't come for 30 minutes of this ape sitting outside the station door, banging on it, threatening all sorts of mayhem, trying to go outside and climb in windows, throwing up in the corridor and STILL can't understand why I don't find him eternally attractive and want to go off with him.
Subject: your page
This is GREAT!!! At least someone knows what this business is really like. Having been in it for 23 years, I can honestly say it ain't fun any more. At least this gives me a break from it all and a chance to laugh at it some, otherwise, I'd probably scream.
One you forgot to put in your Stupid Listener Questions- As soon as the slightest hint of snow begins to fall, doesn't matter what day, the age old question comes up "Are they (Is they) gonna be any school tomorrow? Now this usually comes from the ones who obviously need to be in school the most. But the best ones come on Fridays, when they are wondering about Monday, even though Monday happens to be a national holiday.
From the engineering department, keep up the great work!.
Subject: Real Radio and KRUD
This is like the WKRP In Cincinnati of the Internet.... most people don't
realize that most stations really are like that in some ways and most have
a Les Nesman, Herb Tarlek, etc.
The stupid listener questions are so accurate it's scary....
By the way...I'm wondering if I'm the only one that works at a station
where the owners kids are basically losers and so they act as "consultants"
on everything from sales to programming although none of them has the
qualifications or skills to run the pre-recorded Sunday Morning church
programming if they had to...
Its the old, "we can't get real jobs, but Dad owns the place so we're
Baby Sitting in the South
Thanks for NOT posting e-mail addresses of people that write you.....
I like my job....
Subject: Your web page!!!!
I have to admit....you guys are right on when it comes to radio! I've been
in this biz for 17 years now and go from loving to hating and everything in
One sad/silly story for you. I had just gotten a gig as the music
director/midday jock for a classic rock station after 2 years of busting
butt part-time. One of my male co-workers, a guy that makes Al Gore look
like a wild and crazy guy says to me...."dude, that is like so totally lame
that I didn't get full time, the only reason you got it is 'cause you got
tits." I told him that tits can be bought, but brains can't.
Love all the 'toons. Keep up the great work.
Subject: Radio Station Mascot / Contests
I was just sifting through the KRUD Cartoon archive, and was
reminded by your "Mascot" one...
At K104 (WSPK, Poughkeepsie NY), our PD (Sean Phillips) referred to every
class of subsentient as a form of "pig": Sales Pigs, Record Pigs, and Prize
Pigs (contest addicts), amongst others.
Well, somebody decided we needed a mascot. I assume it was sales, it was
their sort of thing. Someone said, okay, Prize Pig. The dj's laughed. A
week later, yep, we had Emil, the K104 Prize Pig.
Ever since, every contest involved the K104 Prize Pig.
I wonder if the listeners ever got it.
Hell, I wonder if upper management or sales ever got it ;)
Seems a couple of weeks ago, somebody was surfing the net and printed
some porno pic's on the color laser printer. GM see's the pics and tells
the office manager to put screen savers with passwords on ALL the
computers, locking out this one (me) part time engineer and fill in air
talent. I was told as a part time engineer/tech and announcer I didn't
Okay, so me bing the responsible person I am, go into the AfterDark
program and read the .INI files, effectively bypassing their little
bullshit security. So then they figure out I can gain access, so they
activate a screensaver in the Interpoint PC tools virus scan. I simply
write a AUTOEXEC.BAT file called BACKDOOR.BAT and take the paths out.
Moral of the story.....General Managers may talk with God and walk on
water but the fxxxing engineers ARE GOD and we can freeze water with a
screwdriver, some duct tape and some 18ga zip cord.
Keep it up!
Well, it seems to me you guys have a pretty accurate view on life and
death at a radio station. As a bRoAdCaSt EnGine-ear I see a lot of this
stuff, and I keep coming back to your page to put it all in perspective.
Once upon a time there was this big radio buyin' conglomerate and they
came to town and bought up four stations. They then decided to put all
four stations together under one roof. Well, they bought a building and
then figured out they didn't really have enough money to do it right so
here we are duct-taping and using tin cans and strings to stay on the
I wish you guys would do a series on "Corporate Radio"
Subject: comment on cartoon
My most memorable request was from a listener who, uncertain of the
artist or any specifics, knew the song had "love" in the title.
(This occurred during the "kinder-gentler" '60s when the list of
then-current candidates was perhaps more overwhelming than today.)
(then aka Scotty Quick, WCOS)
Subject: Well done.. you're fired!
Sxxxxxxx Radio bought XXXX radio in edmonton, Canada. Shortly after the
ratings came in the new manager posted a memo that stated -
Congratulations to XXXX staff. Number 3 in Edmonton and number 1 AM radio
station. Then - They fired every body except 3 people. (They no longer
appear in the top ten of the ratings.
I have a suggestion/listener tip for you... Have you ever been to a
station party, Christmas or otherwise, where the mobile DJ has decided
that the evening will be his "big chance" to audition for the PD? I
have. I was at a going away party for a PD who was going elsewhere in
the chain, the DJ found out our group was in radio, and suddenly started
to try to hit vocal posts in the club! He then had the gall to call me
over and ask "How am I doing, man?"
I told him if he didn't stop, that we'd have to kill him...
Wouldn't that make a great cartoon??
Subject: Stupid Listener Questions Additions
QUESTION: I sent you a public service announcement about the yard sale
I'm having this weekend. Why haven't you announced it yet?
ANSWER: Because it's not a public service announcement, that's why!
Public Service Announcements (or PSAs as we call them) are for
non-profit organizations like Little League or Big Brothers/Big
Sisters. Your little yard sale to raise money for your dinner that
night is not a PSA. You won't hear us announce it for free. Buy an ad.
Just thought that might be a viable addition to your stupid listener
Jim & Brian,
I really enjoyed visiting your site! My boyfriend is a bit pissed that I've
been ignoring him & spending all of this time surfing your hot site...He
still just doesn't get why I stay in radio...or why I find your cartoons so
funny. Will it last? The answer to that depends on what "IT" is! Thanks
again for a terrific time laughing at myself & the poor career choice I've
Air Personality (for now)
Subject: KRUD's Market, etc...
Hello, Brian and Jim!
We'd like to add KRUD to our affiliates list as a little inside joke (we're
laughing on the inside!) and a show of gratitude for your hard work -- if
that's ok with you guys!
What market and freq. (92.3FM?) would you like KRUD to be listed under?
Subject: Hello KRUD Radio
I just discovered your site. It's dead on. Some of your bits made me want
to laugh and cry at the same time. Great job.
I used to be in radio, barely, having worked part-time at two stations in
Terre Haute, Indiana (of all places). Two years at XXXX-AM and then three at co-owned XXXX-FM were enough for me to identify with every last bit on your site.
Even though I was a lowly part-timer, I survived a nearly total turnover of
the airstaff, four PDs, three GMs, and the arrest and (later) conviction of
the owner on eight counts of XXXXXXXXXX teenage XXXXX. What a place to work.
I've worked for evil PDs. I've been told to shut up and read the liners.
I've suffered through disastrous format shifts (and the accompanying
embarrasing new slogans and positioners). I've given away crappy prizes
(the nadir was the "Thank God It's Summer Pak" which consisted of a plastic
sun visor and one (1) can of Coke) to listeners who were less than thrilled.
I've been propositioned on the request line. (In Terre Haute, there's not
even that 1% of listeners who might be do-able.)
But boy, do I miss being on the air!
Now that I'm out of radio, I work in Indianapolis writing online Help systems for a software company that serves... the advertising industry, of all things. I knew my knowledge of radio-y terms such as TSL, cume, AQH, etc., would come in handy someday.
Dear Jim & Brian:
I am speechless, which proves that there IS a first time for everything!
I personally found KRUD hysterically funny, with slight earthy undertones,
and a spicy finish. Uhh...scratch that last part -- that was for my review of
the Cohiba Robusto for Cigar Afficianado.
Seriously, though it is a wonderful inside look into this foul. wretched,
tragic waste of the human spirit known as radio. Even more wonderful is that
a couple of radio guys with too much free time could channel idle hands into
a national treasure. Well, maybe not a national treasure, but at least an
amusing speed bump on the information superhighway.
My favorite part was the "station policies" segment. I personally spent 25
years in radio -- 17 of those here in Houston: at KNUZ, KFMK, Oldies 94.5
KLDE, and finally, as Creative Director at 93Q Country. One grim day in 1995,
the "Q" management posted a memo prohibiting "on duty possession of firearms,
illegal drugs, and alcohol". I shouted; "...What the hell kind of facist crap
THAT VERY MEMO took all the fun out of it for me. Why should THEY be
concerned that I had a half pound of Hash, a liter of Crown Royal, and a Colt
Python with 3 speed-loaders in my briefcase? This invasion of my privacy
prompted me to quit my real job and open Digital Doghouse Productions.
Former Radio Type, current entremanure, exceedingly successful voice talent,
and owner of Digital Doghouse Productions.
PS: I LIED about the contents of my briefcase...there was NO hashish, and I
ACTUALLY had 4 speed-loaders for the Python, which was (and is) itself loaded
with 125 grain hollowpoints.
Subject: i wuz here
This is the best!!!!
From one DJ to another, you guys have captured the heart of what this biz is......COMPLETELY F---ED UP!!!!!
THE ROUND MOUND OF SOUND....KZNN-FM, ROLLA MO.
Subject: Thank you, thank you, thank you....
Thank you for reminding me why I got into this stupid business in the first
place...it's supposed to be fun!!! That is, after all, why I opted for broadcasting as opposed to, say, neuro-surgery. (Although I understand the pay may be just a bit higher...)
Anyway, when a co-worker showed me your site, I laughed so hard I had tears rolling down my face. They were the good kind of tears...not the ones that fall when the only thing the stations' latest "In-sultant" suggests is to "make the weather teases more compelling."
Just keep KRUD going for all of us who still love the medium of radio but hate all the B.S. that goes with it.....
By the way, I adore Murray.....but is there any way to get a whiff of his
cologne? It's been my experience that "In-sultants" douse themselves with
enough of the stuff you can smell them as they enter the building. Think
Murray is a Drakkar Noir kind of guy?
Thanks again for making me laugh,
KRUD Radio Home Page