Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Most Frightening Radio Trivia Contest Ever

I have friends who do not understand why working in radio has made me a paranoid freak and overly protective of my private life and on-line privacy.  It's okay.  There are times I think I'm a bit over the top about it myself.

But then I remember stories like this one, and I understand that even when I might be at fault for revealing more about myself than I realize, listeners behave like scary creepers way more often than they realize.

***

It was the late 1990's, and I was sent to Morning Show Boot Camp with my co-host.
We met lots of other radio morning show hosts and their producers.  One fellow we met was interesting, but I remember only two things about him:
1)  He liked to introduce himself to young women using the name of another, more famous, radio DJ.  And way too many women believed him (and slept with him).
2)  He told us the story of the most frightening radio trivia contest ever.

He started the story by describing the woman who identified herself as his biggest fan.  This woman had a habit of stopping by every remote broadcast his guy hosted. She smelled of alcohol from across the room, he told us, the kind of smell that seeps out of a person's pores after days of imbibing.
His biggest fan, she was.
One night, she showed up at the radio station.  He didn't want to let her in, but he also didn't want to be rude.  She had never acted inappropriately; she was just a drunk lady who probably had no real friends aside from the people she listened to on the radio.  She said she had something to give to him.  "That should have been a bad sign," he told us, "But I let her in anyway."
He led her to the studio, because he was on the air at the time and had to start the next song.  The whole time he was thinking that now he was trapped, and he was alone, and she would probably never take a hint that she'd need to leave as soon as he'd like her to.
The gift she gave him was a stack of paper.  She had written for him questions for a trivia contest.

The entire list of questions were about him.
One of the questions was "What color is the wastebasket in (this radio dj)'s bathroom?"

He was horrified!  This woman had never been in his house.
Or, had she?

She explained.
It had taken her most of a year of listening to his show, but she felt she'd done a good job.  If anyone else had been paying attention as closely as she had, they'd all know the answers because the questions were all based on things he had mentioned on the air at one point or another.
And he realized that, yes, he had talked about buying a bathroom wastebasket on the air months earlier because he had made a big fuss over how many places he had to look to find a basket in a color that matched his bathroom... green.

So, it had not been the creepy encounter that it had at first appeared to be, but he never ever invited anyone into the radio station after hours after that, no matter how big of a fan it might have been.

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