We will know more Monday morning but, for now, the fate of the 89X Morning Show (“The Morning X”) remains uncertain after, evidently, pushing on-air banter to the limits of what station management deemed appropriate this past week.
Although I did not actually hear their on-going “bit”, it apparently was themed around an unnamed (“shadowy”) station employee lurking around a darkened bathroom. Speculation ensued followed by, it was reported, a memo from management to “cease and desist” further commentary over the airwaves. This memo was subsequently read live; in turn, the AM Show trio of Dave Hunter, Chuck the Freak and Lisa Way was taken taken off-the-air.
It has been suggested that all of this could be part of an elaborate “hoax” designed to generate media coverage and spike listenership. If that’s the case, I love it. If not, I don’t get it. At a time when terrestrial radio is screaming out for personality and controversy, the Morning X has the town talking! It’s what the best radio talents over the years have always done. Watch Howard Stern’s “Private Parts” again. Howard is infamous for both publicly calling out and/or ignoring management. Similarly, another former Detroit jock who went on to fame and fortune elsewhere, Steve Dahl, used to put his Program Director on-the-air live when his boss would call in during his show to try to keep him in check. It all makes for great, “theater of the mind” radio. It gets you noticed.
Many of today’s radio personalities are at a distinct disadvantage over their predecessors from the 70s and 80s as stations either don’t have or are unwilling to spend the dollars to promote them in the marketplace. In radio’s heyday, top jocks were hailed everywhere—from billboards to TV commercials to newspaper ads. They were household names and voices. Today, if you want to stand out, you’re largely on your own.
I’ll be listening tomorrow morning, as I am sure many thousands will be, for new news on the fate of ‘The Morning X.” And, really, isn’t that the point of it all?