The Price of Fame…

I was a DJ for a few years at a small college station in upstate New York. My show was The Mack Maloney Show and we would do all kinds of crazy things. This was the 1980s, before anyone up in the Albany area really knew about Howard Stern. We used to give away free pizzas if two girls would come to the studio and French kiss for ten seconds. We once had a beer drinking contest on the air. We used to have a contest called ” Name That Food” where I’d read out the ingredients to the worst junk food imaginable and people would call in trying to guess what it was. We were very close to the Wilton Correctional Facility, so we pretended my radio sidekick was a murderer on work-release from the prison. The show after mine was a Grateful Dead show and the DJ was very serious about the music. So we spontaneously started a “Jerry Garcia Is Dead” hoax during one show, just to goof on her. She believed us and proceeded to do a three hour tear-filled tribute to Jerry until someone finally called her and told her it wasn’t true. But so many people had heard her on the air that it wound up as a big story in one of the Albany newspapers. (We told her Jerry died while jogging — and she believed us!”) The college eventually made us apologize to her.

Anyway, I used to give away Wingman books as prizes too, so after a while, people started connecting me with the books. My show was on 6-10 Tuesday nights and we would get a fair number of women calling in, requesting songs. One night, before a show, I stopped in a local drugstore to buy some batteries. The woman behind the counter waited on me. When I asked her for the batteries, she looked up at me and then put her hands over her eyes and started saying: “No – I can’t look at you . . .” I’m thinking, what the frigis this? She said: “Are you the guy on the radio?” I said: “Yes.” She said: “Oh no – I can’t look at you. I recognize your voice. I listen to you all the time. But you don’t look anything like I thought you did!” She was almost crying. She got me the batteries and took my money, etc, all while keeping one hand over her eyes. When she was done, she kind of waved me away. She never looked at me again. I remember walking back to my car stunned. Proof positive: I had a face made for radio.

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