FMX Moves To Austin Part Two: Remembering Johnny Walker
Yesterday I wrote about the passing of former FMX d.j. Johnny Walker, I did not have the space at that time to tell about some of the fun times.
Dale Dudley, Loris Lane (Lowe), Johnny Walker, and a few others all made the jump from FMX to Austin radio. Walker and I ended up on a low power f.m. ("we'll be getting an upgrade to full power any day now") called "Classic Rock Z102, Austin's Best Rock".
Being on that small station and up against the behemoth KLBJ and the monster ratings of Dale Dudley was tough. To be honest, though, we were so loving the move that we just went and had fun. We just did our show and let the chips fall where they may. Walker and I hadn't even really jelled as a team, so we threw everything at the wall. We just wanted to party.
I remember our first remote. A local place was launching breakfast burritos and they offered us $300 to do the morning show live. We thought "awesome" and did the most Breakfast Flake thing ever, we bought $300 worth of the $1 burritos and just passed them out.
There were three stunts we pulled that were semi-legendary at the time. One was a joke I wrote about a candidate running for governor. We called the opposing political party and told them they could use the joke in their campaign, and lo and behold, they actually told it on the floor of the Texas Senate, and the senator who told it was censored.
Then there was the big lake incident. Austin woke up one morning and there were two guys living in lake Austin on a makeshift boat made of pallets. The bleeding hearts of Austin thought they should be able to stay there, so we broadcast from the middle of the lake on a boat full of homeless people.
Our biggest stunt though had the whole town listening. There was actually a meeting of all the radio execs in town happening and they stopped what they were doing because we had everyone on the edge of their seat. At the time Rosanne Barr was the biggest thing in the world and we found out she was in Austin. Walker and our sports guy went on a mission to interview her (I had to stay back and work the equipment). A listener had tipped us off on where she was. When they got to the hotel they found that they couldn't get up to that floor without a key, so they went to the stairwell and were immediately locked in. At this point, they started heading up the stairs and every door was locked (remember this is live on the radio so the tension is building). They finally made it to the rooftop where the door was unlocked. We all breathed a sigh of relief, then the two of them were surrounded by police and held a gunpoint, again live on the radio, until they were eventually escorted down the elevator and out of the building.
Yeah, we had fun. R.I.P. Johnny Walker.