Hot Fun In The Summertime
Memorable Summer Jobs

Song Racing & Tipsy Ted

By Steve Kremer
Copyright 1995-1998

I found another "inside" job working for a local radio station as a "gofer" and occasional Disc-Jockey. The station was WPHM which stood for Wonderful Port Huron Michigan. They had used that as their tag line up until they decided to "jazz" up their image. They then became "WPHM, part of America on the move!" Around the station the DJ's would say "WPHM, part of America having a movement!"

My first impression of broadcasting was that everyone seemed to have a cigarette in one had and a cup of coffee in the other. Although after hours the coffee cup was replaced by a scotch on the rocks.

The people I worked with were great. The DJ's were crazy in real life as they were on the air.

One DJ who worked the midnight to six a.m. shift had developed a little contest with himself to keep things interesting. As his shift came to an end each morning he would choose a song to be his last song of his on-air shift. He would pick a song that would be just about as long as his drive home. He would go outside and pull his Porsche 911 up to the back door of the station, leave the car door open, the engine running and the radio on. He would then block open all doors leading to the back door. He would go back on the air, say good night, then rush out to his car and take off for home. The goal was to race through the deserted streets of the city and make it home before the song was over.

He did this most nights picking shorter songs to make it more challenging. It didn't take long for word of his "song racing" to get around to the other DJ's. They decided to teach him a lesson.

I was hiding in the parking lot the night of the caper along with the entire on-air staff. The guy pulled up his car to the back door as usual leaving the engine running. As soon as he went back inside one of the other DJ's drove off in the car. We all listened to the radio as he said good night then came rushing out to an empty parking lot. The look on his face was priceless. His beloved Porsche was gone. To add insult to injury, the DJ who had driven off in the car decided to visit the station owner's house. He drove up into the owner's front yard and laid on the horn until the lights came on and he was sure the bright yellow Porsche had been noticed.

The only other incident of note that summer was my first brush with greatness.

Port Huron is host to the Port Huron to Mackinaw race, a large and famous sailboat race. This was a big event in town and WPHM was going to cover the night before the race with an all evening live broadcast. I was in charge of running around the boats getting the skippers to come to our booth to talk about the race.

The big celebrity skipper that year was Ted Turner. This is back when he was sailing boats that won the America's Cup. That night I was dispatched to find Ted's boat and get him to agree to an interview. After searching around for a while I finally found his boat. In the fading sunlight I recognized the famous skipper holding court with about a dozen people in the cockpit of his boat. I said "permission to come aboard skipper?" Ted said "Sure kid, come on aboard." He continued "Hey why don't you loosen up your tie a little and have a drink." I had foolishly decided to wear a coat and tie for my very important job. At 17 years old I thought that was important. I turned down his drink offer then asked if he'd be willing to be interviewed on the radio. He replied "Ahhhhh....hell kid, I've had a little too much to drink to go on the radio." To which everyone, but me, laughed. I thanked him and turned to walk off the boat. As I got on the dock he said "Kid, really, loosen up. Get rid of the tie." So I yanked off the tie and peeled off my coat . I made as if I was going to throw them both into the water which got a cheer from all. I couldn't actually throw the coat and tie in the water. They both belonged to my father.

NEXT: The Hut's Employee 'O Dough Month

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