Back in the day when radio was live and mattered, the most popular DJ in the region was a middle-aged, overweight woman-crazy guy who called himself Big Ange. Big Ange had a deep, Barry White type voice that he used to advantage, moving in close to the mic for a warm, intimate, often borderline lascivious feel.
Despite his chauvinism (or maybe because of it) women loved him. I didn’t pay much attention to Ange, whose controversial babble actually helped set the stage for shock jocks. I was assistant PR director at Elmira College in upstate New York. My boss’s name was Martha. One morning in January I woke up to a foot of snow. I was trapped in my rural home. I turned the radio on to get the local news.
What I got was Big Ange ranting, “I don’t know if Elmira College is closed! The PR people won’t call me. I’ve pleaded with them to call me. “Martha Horton, Dennis Miller, they’re the worst PR people in the world! The worst!”
His screaming went on until my boss got through to our college president who confirmed classes were cancelled. She called the station and the ranting stopped.
But the damage was done.
The next day, the president called us into and wanted to sue the station. “At the very least, you guys should sue for slander,” he said. “Or get a public apology.”
I said no and asked to check into a couple of things. I called a friend in the station news department.
“Umm, Ange is really sorry about what he did,” he said. “He was under a lot of pressure and it just broke.”
“Is he willing to do something to help us on campus feel better?” I asked.
“I can’t speak for him, but I think so,” my friend said.
So I came up with an idea. It was unorthodox. In fact it was so crazy that it had to work.
It involved a master chef and a six foot surprise.
Part 2 tomorrow.