Thursday, January 11, 2007

Radio Channel Surfing

Since my current commute to work involves a lengthy car ride some mornings, I've spent a lot of time rolling through the radio dial looking for something interesting time-wasting music of talk to listen to. Over the past few months, I've formed some opinions about the radio personalities in the New York area. Now I'm going to share them.

What I usually end up listening to is 95.5 PLJ's Scott and Todd in the Morning (a/k/a The Big Show). Why? Well, there are two reasons -- they do a fairly good job (the music is ok, the jokes and parodies are usually funny, the phone scams are normally hysterical, the conversations somewhat interesting) and the rest of the morning shows on NY-area radio are just downright painful to listen to. Let me explain.

First the good. Scott Shannon is somewhat of a radio legend, being in the business for decades. The guy knows a lot about radio (he's in some halls of fame and I think was named something like the biggest and bestest radio guy ever by Billboard Magazine), a hell of a lot about music and, with his current complement of co-hosts and side players, does a pretty good job of keeping listeners tuned in. I'll admit, I didn't listen to Scott when he was heading up the "Z Morning Zoo" on Z-100 back in the 1980s -- it was a little painful. But when he came back from California to MOJO Radio (some stunt PLJ used back in the early 1990s when Shannon took over the morning show), I gave him a chance and have been a somewhat loyal listener since.

Now Todd Pettengill, Scott Shannon's co-host, is an absolutely integral part of this show. The guy is f**king hysterical -- something I never knew listening to him on Albany, New York's Fly 92.3 when I was in college up there in the early 1990s (hey Todd, remember the "Smart Deal Network" TV commercials you did? They always seemed to be on when we'd come home drunk from Daps). His phone scams are great. The parody songs he creates are, most the time, brilliant. His general banter during the show usually gives me a laugh. With that said, I have to admit that I could not listen to his Saturday Night at the 80's show. Todd, I think you're great . . . but the lame jokes, the canned phone calls and the different voice you used when taping that show just didn't do it for me.

As for the rest of the "cast," I'm liking them all. Patty Steele, I'm glad you left Z-100. I didn't think I'd ever get over Naomi Diclemente's departure, but you filled her shoes well. Joe Nolan adds some great humor -- most the time at his own expense. He does a great sounding traffic report (even if he leaves out most the roads anyone cares about). Bill Evans was also a great addition to the show. The weather guy can be funny and he always wishes me a "great day." Now Brad Blanks can be a little hit or miss with me. Some of the antics the show pulls with him I don't find much humor in (i.e., Elmo) but I guess someone likes it. His celebrity interviews and spelling bees are usually pretty funny though and he does add some humor to the show. "Jersey Girl" Diana I've grown to like over the year and love her soft and sexy commercial voice when she's hawking Dove or Home Goods crap. And last, but not least, Monkey Boy -- probably the cutest guy on radio in all of New York. The guy is funny, quick with a comeback, knows his sh*t when it comes to movies and TV and has a funny laugh. Anytime you want to come hang in Asbury Park at Paradise, Monk, let us know!

Although I've been pretty positive in this review, that doesn't mean that I don't turn the dial, particularly on a commercial break, when a lame song from yesteryear is playing or when one of their games or bits has just gone on a little to long. And by no means do I like everything that PLJ has to offer (ahem, WHY WHY WHY did you bring back lame Rocky Allen?). But the Big Show does entertain me.

Ready for what's bad about New York radio? Well . . . its coming in the next post.

Monkey Boy is CUTE!
Where can I get a copy of Todd's parody of The Village People's "Y. M. C. A." which was appropriately titled "Y. O. D. A."?
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