Radio Disaster Remembered

When I first started in radio commercial radio back in 1978, there was no automation and really no way to cover up your mistakes. I landed a job doing the 11pm - 6am shift on Sat/Sun on WSUS 102/3 FM in Sussex County, New Jersey. The station had a "Town and Country" format at the time where every other song was country.

Disco was the rage at the time and the station manager decided to add disco to the format on Saturday nights. Since I was a "newbe," I wasn't that familiar with where everything was located in the studio. I was just thrilled to be on commercial radio!

All of the music was played on vinyl and there were two turntables in the studio. It was about 11:15pm and I was playing the 12" version of "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor. I loved that song and was bopping around the studio but not paying attention to what was supposed to come up next. As the song was coming to an end, I realized that I had a commercial break next. The commercial cartridges were located in a revolving rack located next to the turntable where Gloria Gaynor was blasting away. I had to find the commercials that had to air quickly so I spun the rack around really hard. The rack fell over onto the turntable where "I Will Survive" was playing. The impact of the rack broke Gloria to bits and her remains flew all over the studio! Obviously Gloria did not survive!

I was stunned! I began picking up each piece when I realized that there was nothing but the dreaded dead air and the phones were lit up! I quickly disconnected all of the calls and cued up another record.

This stressed me so much that I didn't open my mouth for about a half hour! I thought that was the end of my radio career but actually it was only the beginning. I didn't get fired because fortunately, the owners and Program Director weren't listening.

All of us in this business have experienced embarrassing moments and that was one of the most memorable ones for me.