OF A MEDIAWHORE
Magazine - March 2007)
extremely expensive executive counselor once told me that my constant
letters to various Denver/Boulder, Colorado newspapers represented, "a
sad cry for attention." He suggested I stop, and I took most of his
advice; I started calling radio stations instead.
to the editor of any newspaper are what I read first. In the 80s, George
Putnam’s Los Angeles “Talk Back” show got me hooked on phone-in
formats. As a talk show caller, I treated my bursts of blinding insight
or hilarious phrase turns as 2-way spoken letters to the editor. I never
dreamed one day I’d be putting them to music.
If greater Denver
was a human body and Interstate 25 its spine, I used to work right around
the asshole — just about two miles from the Clear Channel “Mothership”
on South Monaco. Boulder is 45 miles to the northwest. My morning commute
was usually around 90 minutes. I started this long haul in January, 1997
a week after JonBenet Ramsey’s body was found.
630 KHOW’s Peter
Boyles was then, and remains a dominant Denver AM morning voice. I was
soon drawn in as I drove, mainly by his relentless focus on the Ramsey
case and the bumbling Boulder officials. One morning Peter started singing
along with the bumper music, “Werewolves of London,” by Warren Zevon.
Instead of the usual hook, he sang “Werewolf of Boulder.” Laughing,
Boyles said, “That works, somebody ought to do it.” I figured, why
not me? I had a studio in my basement, been a musician all my life,
even got on MTV. Why not indeed.
Out of the blue,
Peter received my parody song in the mail. When “Werewolf of Boulder”
played for the first time, the phone lines exploded with delighted listeners
wanting to hear it again and again. Singing along with myself as
I drove to work was a distinct pleasure — listener reaction my motivator.
I immediately came up with a version of Roy Orbison’s “Only the Lonely,”
about the Ramsey case, “Only in Boulder.”
Over the next two-and-a-half
years Peter and I produced twelve tunes about the Ramsey murder — a virtual
“album” that we called “Two Years, No Justice, Twelve Annoying Songs.”
In March of 2000 Boyles let me co-host a show featuring the
callers’ own Ramsey songs that he made them sing. Their songs were much
meaner than many of ours, and some far funnier. It made for a hilarious
When public frenzy
over the Ramseys subsided I assumed my parody “career” was over.
Far from it. Boulder was to provide much
more fodder for mockery. In 2001 El Dildo Bandido (sic) gained national
notoriety for stealing 21 life-sized, multi-colored, erect ceramic penises
on display in the Boulder Public Library. We were on it with two tunes.
The Ward Churchill controversy generated a couple, and last May, Peter
took “Jose’ Can’t You See?” my angry answer to the “Spanish language
version” of our National Anthem, nation wide.
Working with Boyles
evolved from simply sending him unsolicited songs to what Peter refers
to as, “calling rattler from the barn.” He usually begins, “Donnie, I’ve
had a brain fart,” then he’ll spit out a song title that matches a hot
topic with a golden oldie and the rest is up to me.
When gay prostitute
Mike Jones chose Peter’s show to reveal the lurid details of his trysts
with New Life Church pastor Ted Haggard, Boyles knew this story was hot
as hell. Religion, adultery, lies, hypocrisy, sex and drugs — all it needed
was rock and roll. Peter told me his concept: “Billie Paul’s hit, but
it’s ‘Me & Mr. Jones’.”
Peter played the
song with Mike Jones in the studio and I held my breath. “Did you
like it?” Peter asked. Mike replied, “I lost my mother this year.
She was a Mrs. Jones of course, and that song was one of her favorites.
I think she’s looking down on me from heaven laughing along. I love
it. I want a copy.”
Take it from a confessed
mediawhore. If you’re a host or producer and a listener is throwing it
at you, and it holds up and the audience wants more, take it. Grow it.
All I ever asked for was attention and Peter graciously reciprocated.
All Peter wants is to entertain his audience and I’m happy to help. Identify
the callers who may have something to offer. Find them, qualify them,
then challenge them. You might just transform
a chronic like me into a valuable contributor.
is a multimedia producer living in Boulder, Colorado. His songs featured
on Denver Clear Channel stations can be found at www.mediawhore.com.