By Grant McGee: Local columnist
The Lady of the House and I were passing through Canyon, Texas, the other day on our way to Amarillo. While we were looking for a good Amarillo radio station we stumbled on the West Texas A&M student-run station.
“Oh I remember, that’s the station where a couple of DJs got in trouble over an obscene song last fall,” I said. Then I remembered the first few times I got in hot water for playing songs I wasn’t supposed to play.
My first real DJ job was at a country station in a small Virginia town. I had gotten familiar with the station’s music library after being on the air for a couple of weeks. Strange, I thought to myself, I couldn’t find Johnny Paycheck’s big hit “Take This Job and Shove It,” so I brought it from home. The next morning I gave it a spin.
The song was halfway through when the door to the radio studio exploded open.
It was Dave the station owner, bursting in, shoving the door open with both hands.
“Where’d you get that song?” he yelled, red-faced.
“I … I brought it from home.”
“Turn it off,” he yelled. He stood with one hand on his hip, pointing at me with the other. “Two things. You don’t bring your own music here and ‘Take This Job and Shove It’ is banned on this station.”
“But it’s a big hit, Dave.” Wrong thing to say. I could tell, because his face got redder and his eyes were about ready to burst out of their sockets.
“If someone doesn’t like their job they can quit and get another,” he yelled. He left, the door slammed behind him.
At least I didn’t get fired, I thought to myself.
A couple of weeks later the folks at the local supermarket called up and requested Charlie Rich’s “Big Boss Man.” I pulled it out of the collection and gave it a spin, not giving it a second thought.
The next day I was working in the studio when …
Dave burst through the door.
“I just got off the phone with Fred, the guy who runs the supermarket downtown,” he said, pointing at me, one hand on his hip.
“Did you play ‘Take This Job and Shove It’ yesterday?”
“No sir,” I said. “I played ‘Big Boss Man.’”
“Let me see it,” he said.
I dug out the record and handed it to him. Dave took out a pocket knife and carved little spokes in the vinyl. “There, nobody will be playing THAT again.”
Christmas came that year and it was time to play some songs of the season. Among everyone’s favorites I played “Please Daddy, Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas” by John Denver.
The song hadn’t even finished playing when …
The door exploded open.
It was Dave.
“What is that?” he yelled, red-faced, pointing at the record.
“It’s a John Denver Christmas song,” I stuttered. “I think it has a pretty good message.”
“I don’t,” he said. He went around, took the needle off the record, picked up the record, pulled out his pocketknife and carved his trademark spokes in the plastic. “That’s my message for you.”
Yes, I learned a lot from Dave. There was a lot of trial and error involved, but the lesson was: If you want to keep your job, better do what the boss wants, eh?
After all, I do like to eat.
Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: