"The DJ's from Hell" was a familiar part of the weekly schedule at KTEQ for many listeners. Anyone tuning in could anticipate listening to the DJ's themselves as well as knowing what type of music they would play. This was the result of the DJ's working hard to create the type of show that they had always wanted to hear themselves and to provide their audience with a pleasureable listening experience. And based on some of the feedback, it would seem that the DJ's were generally successful.
However, the program itself was only the tip of the iceberg. For the DJ's, the "DJ's from Hell" program provided them with a wealth of on-air as well as off-air experiences. Besides making decisions with regard to the more creative aspects of the show, the DJ's had to deal with technical problems while simultaneously keeping the airwaves filled without any interruptions. They learned a lot while doing the show and gained many fond memories, some of which will be presented here.
One night, when Shawn and Brian were doing the show, a listener requested an unusual song. Normally, the DJ's went out of their way to accommodate any requests; but, this one fell well outside of what the DJ's considered to be within their show's format (the format in this case being "good music," which this particular song clearly wasn't). At any rate, this listener threatened to call the station over and over until his request was played.
Meanwhile, the DJ's were a bit short on ideas of good songs to play. They might have been desperate enough to play the earlier listener's request; but, they didn't like being manipulated. So, in an effort to encourage phone-in requests from idle listeners, they decided to threaten to play something that was universally disliked (such as the music of Sonny and Cher, or Barry Manilow). Brian went through the stacks to find an "offensive" album (to have on stand-by) and actually found one that was still inside the jacket after someone had broken it into a number of pieces (this was vinyl, not a CD). Suddenly, inspiration struck! Brian came up with an idea and discussed it with Shawn. Shawn quickly agreed!
After a song ended, Shawn opened the mike. As he spoke on the air, Shawn was holding a larger chunk of the broken LP Brian had found. Referring to the harrassing caller, Shawn said, "To the listener who requested that song, there is something wrong with the album." With that, Shawn shattered the LP chunk into the microphone, thus giving the annoying caller the impression that he had just destroyed the song the caller had been wanting to hear. It seemed to work; since, the guy never called back again.
One night, Shawn and Brian were doing the radio show. Everything was going normally and smoothly when Shawn took a threatening phone call. Shawn was quite riled to the point of opening the mike in mid-song and yelling, "Yeah, I'd like you to try it!"
Repeatedly, throughout the night, Shawn got more threatening phone calls from this listener. Brian considered calling campus security. But, Shawn was angry and wanted to take care of the problem personally. At one point, the caller told Shawn that he would be waiting outside the station after the show. Shawn was ready!
The two DJ's shut down the station at 3 AM, as they did every Sunday morning. As the two descended the stairs, Shawn handed Brian his box of records, saying, "I want my hands free!" After exiting the building, the two found nobody waiting for them. After a couple more nerve-wracking minutes, Shawn and Brian decided that the coast was clear and returned to the dorms.
About three days later, a mutual friend of theirs confided in Brian that he had been the one making the calls. He said that he got a big kick out of hearing Shawn explode on the radio after each call. Eventually, Shawn was also informed of the prank; and, he took it good naturedly, as he always did.
One night, Shawn and Brian were doing the show when a friendly man and his little five or six year old girl came by the studio. The man was a KTEQ fan and wanted to show his daughter what a radio station looked like. As Shawn manned the microphone, Brian talked to the man and answered his questions. The man once addressed Brian as "Jeff," obviously confusing "The DJ's from Hell Show" with "The Shawn and Jeff Show." But, he was a nice man; and, Brian let it go.
At one point, the man mentioned that his little girl was a member of some sort of singing group and asked if she could go on the air to say something about the group. Brian wasn't opposed; but, Shawn was manning the controls and would have to be told. However, at that very moment, a song with a single swear word was played over the air by accident. And during this particular semester, KTEQ had a rather "trigger happy" programming director who spent a lot of her time monitoring shows and chewing out the respective DJ's before they even had a chance to make on air apologies. She immediately called up Shawn and pounced on him for the unintended "transgression." In all of the commotion, the father's request was forgotten. And, the man and daughter eventually left without having an opportunity to put his little girl on the air.
In all fairness, the programming director was actually a rather nice girl. Her only problem was that she was on a bit of a power trip with regard to her position and frequently over-extended her authority. As mentioned, she policed the air waves for vulgar language, always citing that her young child was listening (even at around 2 AM). And, quite frequently, she would force DJ's to play out-of-format songs, pulling rank on them if they refused. She was usually reasonably friendly when she did this; but, she never gave up.
One night, Brian was listening to the programming director's own show, which was aired on a Thursday night or early Friday morning. Quite often, she would fill air time telling stories, etc. On the night in question, she became very excited about what she was talking about and very casually inserted the "F"-word. Instantly, she caught herself and began to apologize over and over, obviously quite embarrassed. Brian then informed Shawn of her transgression; and, Shawn was overjoyed, especially considering all of the flack both Shawn and Brian had put up with from "Miss Perfect." After all, it was one thing to accidentally play a recording containing an unknown swear word. But, it was quite another thing entirely to go on the air and to utter a swear word with one's own lips (which neither Shawn nor Brian had ever done)!
KTEQ gets a good part of its financial support through the on-air auctions. The merchandise is donated to the station from Rapid City area businesses. In exchange, the businesses making the contributions get an on-air mention during the auction (in essence, a cheap advertisement). And, KTEQ's DJ's go around and personally solicit these items in exchange for the priviledge of having shows at the station.
One spring, Shawn and Brian set off on their hunt for stuff to sell. Various businesses politely said "no." Naturally, this was expected; since, most people aren't in the habit of handing out freebies. Finally, the two visited one business; and, they said, "Hold on, we might have something." The people came out front and presented the DJ's with this rather beat up old vacuum cleaner. The DJ's thanked them and loaded the machine up in the car.
The two finally arrived back at the campus and lugged the vacuum cleaner up to the KTEQ office. Nobody was there. So, they hauled the thing back down to the building's front door. They noticed that the vacuum cleaner was kind of full, with dirt falling out of the bottom of it; so, they decided to clean it out. This proved to be a rather interesting exercise. Once the contents started coming out, the air filled with a dust which smelled like rather potent dog feces. The two could barely breathe around the thing. For a time, no matter how much they dumped it out, there was always more. It was a mess; and, it was obvious why the business had unloaded the old machine.
Eventually, the DJ's had the vacuum cleaner up in the studios. Mike, the station manager, showed up. Upon presenting this beat up piece of junk to him, the manager became very diplomatic (as he almost always was), saying, "You know, we could use a vacuum cleaner around here...you know...to clean up around the studio." Neither of the DJ's bought it; because, this was Mike's way of telling them that there was no way he was going to allow this beat up nasal-offending eye-sore to be put on the station's auction. However, they didn't care; since, the vacuum cleaner (even if rejected) fulfilled their obligation of obtaining an item for the auction.
One winter night, Brian was in his dorm room after having spent his entire Saturday fighting the flu. He felt awful; and, there was nothing he wanted more than to sleep. Suddenly, his phone rang. It was Shawn, calling to say that he was sicker than a dog and was wondering whether Brian would be able to do the show without him. Brian didn't really feel up to it; but, he was the only one of the two living on campus at the time.
There was nothing really forcing either DJ to do the show. There was the option of letting another fill in; and, a few probably would have been willing. Also, it was the last show listed on KTEQ's Saturday schedule, meaning that the host of the previous one could easily have signed off at the end of his shift and shut the station down. Although the station manager would have preferred to keep the airwaves filled until 3AM, he would have most likely understood under the circumstances. But, both Shawn and Brian preferred to do their own show. And, Brian wanted to do a solo show that he could tape for an overseas penpal; so, he agreed.
So, Brian ventured out into the cold and made his way up to the station. Needless to say, he REALLY wanted to be in bed; but, he was committed at this point. He went on the air. Most of the time, his voice sounded rough; but shortly before opening the mike each time, he would swallow and force out his best "broadcaster's voice." And for fourty-five minutes, he taped a part of the show for his penpal.
The result was a mixed bag. Brian's voice sounded okay on the air, since he kept his announcements brief. But, the fourty-five minute segment he taped was terrible. Brian was overly conscious of the fact that his penpal would be listening; so, he went on the air far more often than necessary, repeatedly doing the station ID every few minutes when one time per half hour would have been sufficient. Even worse, the songs he chose were far from representative of the type of music normally played; since, Brian chose music that would supposedly not offend a penpal whom he had never actually met. And to be honest, the music wasn't the best by any standards. In short, Shawn and Brian both felt lousy; and, Brian felt lousy while doing a lousy show.
To top it off, Brian received an across-the-state call from his mother, who was phoning him at the studio to say that she was waiting for a lift to the emergency room. Minutes earlier, she had just slipped and fallen on the ice, breaking her leg! Although she was in good spirits, it was obvious to Brian from the sound of her voice that she was in a lot of pain.