Tuesday, August 07, 2012

On the Radio

Ever since I was a little kid, I've spent my mornings here in DC  listening to the Jack Diamond Morning Show on MIX 107.3. They used to air a "best of the Jack Diamond" show on Saturday mornings, and we would listen to it in the car when my Dad would pick us up from my Mom's for the weekend. So let's just say that me and Jack go way back. Though he is completely unaware of our lifelong connection.

There have been a lot of changes to DC radio in the decades since then. See ya, 99.1, WHFS! It was nice knowing you, Billy Bush! But Jack Diamond always remains the same...and I have listened to him for around 20 years or so.

Every Friday, the Jack Diamond show brings in a live audience (of about 10 people) for Free 4 All Friday. It's always been one of the things I wanted to do, but never seemed to get around to actually calling in to get the tickets, taking the day off, and getting off my ass and doing it. But this past week, I knew I was going to have Friday off (since I was headed out of town for a bridge club reunion...more about that later) and I wasn't going to have to leave until noon. I decided the time was right, and I was ready to be on the radio!

It was way easier to get tickets than I expected; I called Monday morning and told the nice lady who answered how I really wanted to come in for Free 4 All Friday and had been a long time listener. She took my name, age, and email and put me on the list. And that, as they say, was that. And since I am not ever one to go it alone, my friend Chris was along for the ride.

The first instruction we were given was the hardest: we had to be at the studio by 5:15 am. This is, after all, a morning show, which meant that my alarm went off at 3:30 in the morning. I went to bed early the night before to try to get about 6 hours of sleep, but I have to confess I was so excited that I don't think I got more than 3. Still, I was up and out of the house to get Chris by 4:30 and we made it to the studio up near Tenleytown with time to spare. Then we sat in the building lobby until 5:30 when Brooke, who does the traffic on the show, came down and brought us up!

The offices for the station are smaller than I thought (at least as far as we could see).We went right into the recording studio where the gang (Brooke, Ali, and Jimmy Alexander) were all ready and waiting. Unfortunately Jack Diamond himself was not in attendance; he was sick and getting ready to go on vacation. There was some disappointment, but everyone was so nice and funny, that we all had a great time.

In the recording studio!

There were 10 people in the "audience" that morning and everyone was very nice. Maybe it was the early hour, but some people seemed to have really low energy, but you guys know me. I basically took it upon myself to get everyone chatting and excited, and before too long we were getting the "quiet down" signal from Jimmy when we were coming back from commercial. break. We can't have the audience taking over the show!

And the best part was, Chris and I actually made it on the show! Chris got to play the Agree/Disagree game on the air and won a $50 giftcard to the new casino in Anne Arundel, and I got a chance to tell a story about "the craziest thing I ever saw." I self-censored and told a story about a deer trying to leap over a car*, since I figured stories about drug use in Amsterdam were not going to go over well on a family-friendly morning show. Just to clarify: it would have been a story about someone else's drug use, not mine. But still. Methinks shrooms and morning radio are not the best combination.

Chris waiting to play Agree/Disagree

I think because Jack wasn't around there was less on air chit chat between the other hosts and the audience, and more music. But that meant more chances for us to talk with the hosts during songs and at commercial breaks. Everyone was just really fun, wanted to know about the people in the audience, and happy talking. We stuck around until 9:00 and then were set free for the rest of the day. Oh, and did I mention they had most excellent catering from a local restaurant? Definitely worth getting up at 3:30 in the morning! And you're not going to hear me say that about a lot of things.

Oh, and I almost forgot the best part. Everyone in the audience gets a "goody bag" that included concert tickets and other fun stuff. But one person wins a Grand Prize...and it was me! I got a free overnight stay at the Anne Arundel casino (on the executive level, ooh la la), two free tickets to the buffet, and $50 in free slots play. SCORE.

All in all, it was a really fun morning and I hope I get the chance to go back and see the show again...and this time meet Jack Diamond!

 Me and Chris with the morning show gang: Brooke, Ali, and Jimmy. And yes, those are Maryland flag shorts. No accounting for taste.

* Here's the entire crazy story about the deer: I was driving to my Mom's house which is a pretty wooded area of Alexandria. While on one of the main streets, a fawn suddenly darted into the road but managed to avoid the long line of cars. The fawn was followed immediately by Mama Deer, who made the decision to jump over a station wagon that was driving in front of me; she almost cleared it, but ended up getting clipped on the hip by the station wagon's luggage rack (stupid luggage rack) and flipped over the entire car landing on the other side of the road. It was like Olympic gymnast level of flipping. The deer just got up and ran off, and all the drivers were left looking at each other with a "the hell?" expression before continuing our drive.

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