This industry frustrates me so much. I want to see it flourish, I want to hear great material being produced by quality radio hosts, but instead it’s amateur hour all throughout the country as the corporations slash budgets and hire people fresh out of school (or who never even went to school) who aren’t ready to be in front of the mic in markets that should only be hiring seasoned veterans… and I think that’s why the incident I’m about to discuss happened the way it happened.
Recently I was once again exposed to the hypocrisy of certain radio hosts, though not first hand this time (it’s nice to watch one from the bleachers sometimes). You may or may not recall that I once wrote an open letter to a local radio host, which included a scathing review of their work. I took a lot of heat for that, but everything in that letter was the truth, and unfortunately a bunch of people blinded by friendship and loyalty felt they needed to defend what was, at best, first year college-grade work being aired in a medium market on a commercial radio station. This announcer hasn’t gotten any better by the way, they referred to Pat Burns as “alive and well” while he was suffering from cancer… he died about 2 weeks later (yes, very “well” indeed), and within the last couple months badly segued into a contest after discussing a kid who was shot (classy), but see, I’m not allowed to say that, because the radio industry believes they’re immune, that they’re above jokes and criticism, and that we’re all supposed to support each other no matter what, all a bunch of nonsense. So it came as NO surprise to me that my good friends at [Name Withheld because they’ll cry if I put it] were all upset because of the antics of one “Drunk Jock”.
Drunk Jock is the alias of someone apparently working in the business here in Canada, who tweets jokes about the industry and about other radio announcers. Some of his tweets that are deemed less harmful include: “The music director just came in late and now is going for lunch. Makes total sense why he makes more than me!”, way to stick it to middle management… “Jonathan (not) Quick (enough). #blackhawks”, which has nothing to do with radio but seems fitting since it’s the type of not-at-all-funny hockey humour that so many radio hosts probably did after the Kings lost to the Blackhawks, and “Every radio station in the world: Blah Blah Blah something about Friday!”, which, that one actually is mildly humorous because of how often radio announcers talk about the weekend. “Weekend’s comin’ up everyone! Just in case you didn’t know that there are 7 days in a week, 2 of those are classified as the weekend, and that this is a never-ending cyclical process, just thought I’d remind you that we’re approaching the weekend, unless it IS the weekend, in which case, yay! It’s the weekend! Not for me though! I’m in a studio working the easiest job on the planet, feel sorry for me!”… fuck me… But recently, he had made a series of “inappropriate tweets” to a local radio announcer who will remain nameless. “Hey [blank] wanna bone?”, that was posted on June 4th. Then, on June 16th… “Am I watching the #MMVAs? Did [Blank] suck so many dicks that she had to get an operation to handle 10 dicks at once? No. Answer is No”, which resulted in a bit of an exchange that also included one of her co-workers joining in, then Drunk Jock tweeted the next day that he’d “totally let [blank] girly cum all over my shit!”, and wondered why this announcer was so upset considering he was actually paying her a compliment in his own way… and then followed it up with what is apparently his trademark, drawing a penis on their social networking picture. Apparently someone at [place that can’t be named even though they already hate me anyway] actually accused ME of this, which, by the way, thanks, but fuck off. This isn’t my style AT ALL. This guy’s not funny, but that’s probably why he works in radio. This is juvenile playground humour that’s not even close to what I do. And although I don’t defend this behavior, I DO defend his right to do it.
Any radio host offended by all of this is a major hypocrite, unless they’ve absolutely NEVER made a joke, ANY joke, about a celebrity, sports star, politician, or other public figure in their careers. As a radio host, you’re a public figure. You’ve signed up for all the perks and all the pitfalls, you don’t get to pick and choose. During my exchange with the person I wrote the open letter to, they claimed they shouldn’t be criticized, because they aren’t a public figure. Yes you are! You’re on the god damn radio! Strangers can press a button in their car and hear your voice. You may only be a local celebrity, but you ARE a public figure, subject to the same criticism and scrutiny that ALL public figures are. Do you know how long Howard Stern would have lasted if he got all upset the first time someone made fun of him, the first time someone told him he sucked or criticized his work? Not very long. He’d be nobody. That’s a person who can handle the pressures of being a public figure, and I don’t think that’s something that can be taught. You’re not taught in school how to be a star, how to handle everything that goes along with that. You’re only taught how to dish it out. You can learn how to craft a bit, how to write a joke with a beginning, middle and punchline, but how do you train someone to take criticism? I don’t think you can. They have to have a specific attitude, they have to be a little bit arrogant, they have to believe that they’re good at what they do and they can’t let the criticism get to them. Once again, during my exchange with the person who I wrote the open letter to, they confessed to me that they were afraid for the next few weeks to even turn the mic on. Every time they had to press that button they felt a little bit of anxiety. They had no confidence in themselves. That was not my goal, but that just proves that they’re not a person who can be a star. Do you know how much shit I take from people who view my YouTube channel? I get a lot of positive feedback, way more than the negative, but I get A LOT of negative feedback. Because of the nature of my work (as well as the nature of the Internet where you can hide behind an alias), I get called every name you can think of. I get people telling me they want to kill me, people saying they’d punch me in the face if they ever met me, people questioning my sexual orientation and telling me to suck their dicks… hell sometimes I get people who LIKE my work telling me that if I were gay they’d let me fuck them. Then I get the “haters” who just tell me that I’m “annoying”, that they don’t like the sound of my voice, and that my opinions are shitty because they don’t match their opinions. I take all that abuse and I do it for free, just because I like entertaining people with my brand of angry humour, I’m not even getting paid (although if you ask a lot of radio hosts they’ll tell you they feel like they’re not getting paid either). And if I hadn’t been able to handle it, I would never have seen my channel grow to 260,000+ subscribers, over a quarter-million people waiting every week to hear my opinions about whatever the hell I feel like talking about that week. I don’t get upset about it, I’d be a complete hypocrite if I did since most of my material is about being critical of celebrities and social behavior. And that’s what is happening here.
I’m sure someone will say “Umm, I never made a joke on air about some girl sucking a bunch of dicks and asking to fuck her”, and I’m sure you haven’t or you wouldn’t have a job, but have you ever made a joke about Taylor Swift being boy-crazy, or the loose… umm… morals (yeah, lets go with “morals”, that’s radio friendly) of Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, the Teen Mom with the sex tape, even Pam Anderson back in the day? Have you been talking shit about Rob Ford despite the fact that the alleged “crack smoking” video has yet to be made public? Have you ever made a joke about a celebrity at all? If not, I commend you. Your shows are probably really boring, but I commend you for being the king or queen of morality that we should all look up to and try to be like, and I hope your Christian Radio station gets that 50 watt upgrade approved by the CRTC soon. But that’s what I hear on commercial radio in this city and every city I’ve ever visited: Jokes about celebrities and public figures. Many announcers have entire segments devoted to it, I forget which station was doing a segment in the mornings called “Celebrity Sleaze”, an afternoon drive host had a segment called the “Daily Need to Know” which was usually celebrity jokes. Then you’ve got local politicians getting as close to slandered as you can without a lawsuit. Our mayor at the time, her husband was arrested for drinking and driving and local radio went to fucking town on that guy well before he was convicted… of course, he WAS guilty, but he wasn’t proven guilty when the jokes were being made about him being a drunk. Our current mayor is accused of stealing money from the city, guess who’s taking a verbal shit-kicking now? OH, but you can’t talk shit about a radio announcer, it’s only a one way street right? Yes, you can, and no, it’s not. You’re a public figure, you should expect it. Time to grow up. You’re getting upset about someone making some crude sexual jokes about you on Twitter? You can’t handle it if someone is critical of your work, whether that person happens to be in the industry or is just someone who listens to the radio? If so, you’re not fit for the business of being a celebrity. Pack it in. The colleges are spitting out hundreds of grads a year to fight over a handful of jobs, I’m sure any one of them would be happy to have yours.
Epilogue: “Drunk Jock” deleted his Facebook and Twitter, I assume because of the backlash regarding this incident. Guess he wasn’t fit to be a celebrity either. And again, whoever accused me of being him… A) grow a pair and don’t talk behind my back (there are so many ways you can contact me, and half a dozen people in that building who know me personally if for some reason you can’t figure out how Google works) and B) know that I will ALWAYS put my name on everything I have to say. I won’t hide behind an alias. I don’t need to.