12 August 2008

I Should Be In Jail By Now, Part 2: Choking The Chicken

Careful. That shit can get you fired.


K. So. Like I was saying about stuff I did that prolly shoulda landed me in jail. Remember back last time when I told you that bit about getting fired for 'malicious compliance'? Here's how that went down:

Chilly the Weather Chicken

Way back before there was a radio format called 'Alternative' (which is now anything but), there were teeny tiny little AM radio stations that held the torch for such gittar-pickin' surrealist enclaves as The Church, Alien Sex Fiend, Robyn Hitchcock, and Midnight Oil (as well as Johnnycomelatelys Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and fuckin' Nearvanna). And since these wee little alt.alt.alternative stations were usually the poor relation of some FM AOR juggernaut (because no one can have enough Skynyrd), they got the snotty end of the stick day in and out until they were sold for chump change to televangelists.

In the case of the late KJET-AM, (which thanks to the immortalizing power of the InterWebs you can still listen to on Live365 and MySpace) it was sold to a bunch of chumps with a wad of change who thought that b-side oldies was the format of the future.
This was way back in nineteen-ought-eighty-nine. Never mind that these tracks sucked too hard to be on the a-side forty years ago, and that the intervening decades had not redeemed them. The folks who bought the station thought they had some sort of statement to make and that they were all going to be able to purchase at least one solid gold rocket car apiece.

Here's a spoiler: If you're not listening to b-side oldies right now, it means the experiment failed.

Now 'tis a little-known fact that if you work in radio, you can expect to get fired about every twenty minutes or every time a station changes format, whichever comes first. But the upside of this was that since this was happening everywhere in the industry, you could always migrate elsewhere. Plus you always got a big fat severance check.

So we're sitting there in this meeting, THE meeting, the one where they tell you that the station is changing format and boo hoo hoo and here's your big fat severance check, when I'll be go to hell if they didn't say, "...and we'd like to keep you all on." You could've knocked us all over with a mangy feather plucked from the soiled pillow of Kurt Cobain. It meant we would get no big fat severance check. And that would not do. We had all promised ourselves that we were going to binge drink, and there's no way we could do that on regular salary. There was only one way to get the big fat severance check and that was to get fired.

So we hatched a plan - a plan that would fix us good. We were all going to change our air names and do the worst puking boss-jock horseshit radio we could possibly do. (See also: The Real Don Steele. -Ed.) They would have to fire us. And then we'd get our big fat severance checks. And then we could get all get fried to the hat and stay that way, at least for the afternoon. I changed my air name to Big Rick Hardy.

Since the new station's call letters were KQUL (Cool Oldies!), I figured we needed a mascot with an arctic theme, so I created Chilly the Weather Chicken. Then I put together some outrageously bullshit contest centered around him. To wit, if you out-guessed Chilly on what the next day's high temperature would be, you got to 'choke the chicken' on the air. This meant that I mentioned your name and played a
cart of a chicken buh-gawking along with some wild sound of me gagging, perhaps captured during one of my drunken afternoons at the Five Point.

So along comes my new boss Danny Holiday one day and throws the cart down in front of me. "Can't do this anymore," he says. "Whyforhowcome not?" I says. "Because 'choking the chicken' is a euphemism for masturbation," he says. "Nooooooo waaaaaayy!" I says. "Yep. S'a'fact," he says. "Can't bleeve you dinnint know that."

So I came back the next Monday with a new on-air quiz called "Beating the Bishop". I got crap-canned hyper-quick, and I got a little triplicate form showing that I was terminated for 'malicious compliance'. HOW SWEET IS THAT?!!

Oh yeah, I got a big fat severance check.

Next time: On a whim, I create "Karnation Kem-Kreme" on the job and get a large piece of my ass chewed off for my trouble.




Andrew said...

I just know Paul Harvey (google tells me he's still alive) is going to steal this heartwarming anecdote if you're not careful.

Dan Lurie said...

Quite an interesting read. I noticed you referenced The Church. Fun Fact: My brother is about to publish a book on Steve Kilbey. How's that for being a diehard fan?
Anyway, glad you stumbled upon my Erasable Pen blog. As a fledgling copywriter, I'd love to pick your brain sometime. Here's my website... http://www.dlurie.com. And email... danlurie(at)yahoo(dot)com. Drop me a line if you get a chance.

Keeno said...

i like that story

it makes me chuckle to think Thaddeus was a deejhay!

did you ever use the phrases

"Pop Pickers"

"you crazy funsters"

"Lets Rock"

"ok people, you're gonna love this one, so turn it up to 11 and rip of the dial!"


"Whatch your bassbins, I'm fucking telling ya!"

them's me favrourites


Thaddeus Gunn said...

Haven't used them yet, but I'm gonna start...probably during my shower this morning. The resonance of the bath always brings out the best in my Puke-Jock voice.