Letters to Management

This page is dedicated to Fred L. Moore, General Manager for WDGC-FM at the time.  In hindsight, Mr. Moore really let us get away with quite a bit.  In most cases, he turned the other cheek.  However, on a few occasions, we really pushed the limits and subsequently, we heard from Fred.  In most cases, we just got verbal hand slaps. On another occasion, I was actually suspended from my show for parking my car on the grass right outside the radio studio (a neighbor had called Mr. Moore down to the station at 11 at night.  He showed up in his pajamas and let me have it!)

Fred Moore, 1968

However, in between these two extremes, we had the greatest challenge – to overcome having our creativity stifled.  On the night of September 25, 1982, our third Smorgasbord radio show, Fred was listening.  He did not like what he heard, and I received a phone call immediately following our sign-off.  I answered the phone, and Fred was on the other end.  All he said to me was, “Don’t say a word – just get a pencil and paper and write this down!”.    What he had me write down eventually became to be known as “Fred’s 9 Commandments” (He never could come up with a 10th):

  1. DO NOT USE THE DELAY SYSTEM
  2. DO NOT PUT THE TELEPHONE ON THE AIR
  3. TALKING SHOULD NOT EXCEED 10 MINUTES PER HOUR
  4. DO NOT REFER TO EQUIPMENT FUNCTIONS ON THE AIR
  5. DO NOT TRY TO BE FUNNY BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT
  6. DO NOT TALK OVER SONGS OR OTHER RECORDED MATERIAL
  7. DO NOT TIE UP THE TELEPHONE
  8. GIGGLING AND STUDIO NOISES ARE PROHIBITED
  9. NO SPECIAL EFFECTS SHALL BE USED

# 5 especially hurt!  Listening back to the earliest shows now, he was probably right.   Dave and I were still new partners and we had not yet hit our stride.

Fred Moore, 1986 with Commandments

Essentially, if we had followed these new rules verbatim, we would have been forced to broadcast a traditional radio show – no call-in segments, no free-form conversation, no on-air contests.  Just 10-12 songs per hour, along with time and temperature.  We had high hopes for the show, and we were not about to lie down and play dead.  What followed this evening was back-and-forth letter writing essentially getting us to a compromise which allowed us some degree of flexibility to do a creative show.  Over time, we slowly started to push the limits again, but this would be a delicate balance between professional radio as Fred Moore wanted it and free-form conversation radio as Chris and Dave wanted it. We frequently got into battles with management over what was appropriate on-air behavior.

It inspired me to write a song appropriately entitled “Sympathy for the Deejay” (based on the classic Rolling Stones song).  Peet and I performed this at the Barn broadcast in March 17, 1984.

Then of course, there was the infamous “parking on the grass” incident.  I had lots of personal equipment that I brought to the station each week to do our show and it was quite cumbersome to make multiple trips to my car.  So one night toward the end of Season 2, I drove my car right up to the radio station door and unloaded the car.   That was my first mistake.   The second mistake was not moving the car back to the street.  A neighbor phoned Fred at about 11:00pm and told him to get down to the station.   Fred came down in his pajamas, turned off the transmitter before we could do a proper signoff and orally tore me to shreds.    I was suspended from my show for six weeks and Geoff Beran finished the season out.   In June 1984, I teamed up with Dave again to do Season 3 and we had Fred record this little bit for us, which we aired at the start of every show that summer:

FredMooreWarning-2.mp3