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HERE’S THE STUNT THAT MADE THE COMPETITION VISIT ME

Here’s what inspired the competition to want to meet me (“An Early Embarrassing Radio Moment”), back when I still was a small market jock/PD.

One day I was on the air when a listener called to tell me that at that moment, a jock on another station was soliciting calls on a particular topic and suggested that I call in.

That sounded like fun to me — especially when I thought to have my own station jingle ready & waiting in the cart machine, to play as the pay-off to our live phone call…over his radio station.

Even then, however, I was conscious of FCC rules regarding the airing of phone calls: The other party had to give permission.

So I called, and as soon as the jock put me on the air I said, “Now, we are being broadcast over the radio, right?”

“We sure are.”

Okay, he’d just confirmed that he knew I was putting the call on the air at my station. Uh, well, that’s how I chose to interpret it.

So we bantered about whatever the topic was, and when I reached my carefully constructed set-up that led to my playing my station jingle….

I couldn’t pull the trigger. He was a nice guy, it was a fun conversation, he’d never done anything to provoke me (I’d never even heard of him before) — I just couldn’t do it.

If I’d played the jingle, it would have humiliated and infuriated him, and I wouldn’t have gained anything. My audience already was in on the gag from the beginning. Playing the jingle definitely would have provided a dramatic conclusion, which would have made the entire bit stronger.

But it also would have changed the tone from “O’Day (and his audience) having fun” to “O’Day embarrassing some nice guy who really didn’t deserve it.”

So instead I revealed my identity verbally. There was a long pause while he processed what actually was going on — which, in itself, was delicious drama for the listeners.

There are plenty of occasions when “I wish I’d said THIS.” But this was one time when I had a pretty brilliant pay-off all planned & ready but didn’t use it, and I’ve never regretted it.

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  • Johnny Milford August 26, 2008, 5:29 pm

    Kudos on taking the high road, Dan.

    Besides being the nice thing to do, you never know if that guy could’ve ended up being your P.D. down the road, or in a position to determine your future job prospects.

    Thanks for showing you can still be competitive without being mean-spirited.

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