Jason was working on some stuff late in the production studio of WGMA-FM 105.1FM when Terry and Pete came in for their late night shift at the station. “What’s up fellas?” Jason said as the night shift disc jockeys poked their heads into the tiny room where Jason was working on some new sweepers for his drive-time radio show.
“Oh nothing much!” they both replied with a chuckle. Jason noticed the tone in their voice sounded rather mischievous, and by the looks on their faces, they had already been toking to get themselves in the mood for the night’s shift at their rock station.
“What are you guys up to?” Jason asked curiously.
“Hey, what’s with the static?” Pete replied as he brushed some of his stringy blond hair away from his face. He looked like a modern day version of Shaggy, and pretty much lived up to it sans Scooby. Terry was a guitarist in a local band during the weekends, and he was just as towering and skinny as Pete was, but his hair was curly and brown.
“You do know that Gary wasn’t happy with the last stunt you guys pulled a couple of months ago!” Jason said. Gary was the programming director of the station, and Jason considered him a good guy, mainly because he gave the disc jockeys a lot of leeway when it came to playing pretty much whatever they wanted. But Terry and Pete had a habit of going a little too far over the line, and the station had already had to fend off one FCC complaint because of their antics, which almost cost them their jobs.
“Relax, Jason, we’re not going to do anything stupid! We’re just going to play some songs, relax, and enjoy ourselves until Clarence comes in at 2am!” Terry replied with a smile.
“Well, okay. I’m gonna be late tonight with these new pieces for my show.” Jason replied as he looked at the two jocks, trying to figure out what they were up to. He had lied about having to stay that late, but something told Jason to stick around.
“Cool, bro! Come on in and hang if you want!” Pete said and, with a wave, they headed off to the office where the disc jockeys got ready for their shows. Jason shook his head as he watched them walk away, wondering what they were up to.
Jay David’s shift ended at 10pm and soon the Terry and Pete Show hit the airwaves with the usual mix of alternative and modern rock, which was the station’s specialty after hours. Jason and the rest played classic rock mixed with some modern rock to give the station’s format as broad an appeal as they could, given they competed against stations in Asheville, Spartanburg, Greenville, and Charlotte. With the advent of online streaming, their shows had gained a small but loyal following on the internet, and Jason was a solid second in the ratings in the western part of the state.
Jason listened to the show for as long as he could, but apparently they were not going to try anything tonight. Before he left, he decided to use the bathroom. As he did his business, all of a sudden a particular song from the Red Hot Chili Peppers came on that Jason vaguely remembered from an ex-girlfriend, who once played it for him to set the mood.
“Oh hell!” Jason said as he cleaned up and sprinted out of the bathroom to the on-air studio. He was stunned when he saw the studio door wide open and no one inside. He saw that the song was indeed the one that Gary had specifically said should never be played on his station. As quickly as he could, Jason cut off the record, turned on the microphone and said, “We apologize for that song being played. It was an error in track numbering that caused that song to be played, and we regret that you had to hear the offensive lyrics. Please standby as we cue another song for your enjoyment. This is WGMA-FM 101.5, the Thunder in the Mountains!” Jason then launched a track from Smashing Pumpkins that was more to Gary’s liking.
“What the hell, dude?” Terry said as he and Pete came into the room.
“What the hell…WHAT THE HELL???” Jason looked at the two incredulously. “You damn well know that you aren’t supposed to play that on the air!”
“Dude, chill!” Pete said with almost a laugh. “We made a mistake! We’re sorry!” “Like hell it’s a mistake!” Jason said as he yelled in the cramped studio.
“What do you think will happen if Gary hears that? He’ll can both your asses!” Terry said with a shrug.
“So what?” Jason shook his head at the way those two just blithely dismissed Jason’s concerns.
“Yeah, so what?” Pete added, “We make more on our day jobs than working here, and while it’s been fun, it gets old having to resist playing everything we want!”
“Then go get yourselves an online station and do whatever you want there!” Jason said. “Some of us want to make it in this business, and crap like this hurts us all!”
“Dude, why are you taking this so seriously?” Pete asked with a chuckle. Jason could smell the stench of pot on his breath, which was really stupid in Jason’s mind.
Just then, someone undid the lock on the front door of the station’s office and all three turned to see Gary walking in and heading towards them in a huff. “What the hell just went over on my station?” Gary said in an angry voice.
Jason turned to the program manager and said, “What do you think? These two played a song that might have just cost us our license! You know how some of the blue noses are around here!” Jason referred to the local group Christians for Clean Airwaves, which was part of the Real Deal Free Will Baptist Church ministry that dominated their town and filed complaints with the FCC against any station that played anything the least offensive, especially late at night.
“I wasn’t talking about them, I was talking about you, Jason!” Gary said in a growling voice.
“Huh?” Jason said, shocked at this turn of events.
“How can you barge into a studio during someone’s shift and do something like that? It’s not good for a morning disc jockey to do!” Gary said in a huff.
“But sir, I was just…” then it hit Jason what Gary had said, almost matter of fact like. “Did you say MORNING disc jockey?”
Gary smiled and told Terry to get the disc, “We were playing a joke on you, Jason. The track was a radio edit, so we’re cool.” Terry brought the disc out as Paul went in to play a classic by The Breeders. “Deke and Gerry are heading out to greener pastures in Atlanta next week, so we’re promoting you to the mornings starting Monday! It’s yours if you want it, unless you want these potheads to have it!”
“Hell yeah I’ll take it!” Jason replied with a laugh. “I’d be a fool not to!”
Gary said as he extended his hand for Jason to shake. “These bastards will be taking over the drive-time shift from you Monday as well. They can get stoned out of their butts once they get off their shift for all I care!”
“Hell yeah!” said the two brothers in pot. Jason shook his head but let it be. Gary said, “Let’s go to the IHOP to celebrate!”
“Boss, they’re closed now. They started closing at ten after that big brawl a couple of weeks ago!” Pete said.
“Crap! Guess it’s Denny’s for us then!” Gary said, and Jason nodded. “Want us to bring us back something for you guys?”
“Couple of Grand Slams would be nice!” Terry said.
“Done deal! C’mon, Jason, let’s go get stuffed!” Gary said, and Jason laughed as they left the station.