“Have you listened to the radio lately? Have you heard the canned, frozen and processed product being dished up to the world as American popular music today?” -Billy Joel
The University of Florida’s School of Journalism and Communication offers many opportunities to their students. One that I took advantage of from 2006 to 2007 was the opportunity to be an on air personality for the campus-affiliated FM radio station, Rock104. Going in, you would think “on air personality” and “Radio DJ” would be interchangeable terms, no? I was sorely mistaken. Turns out, almost every song you hear on the radio is picked days in advance and you’re just there to pimp the programming. But I tried to make the most of it. I attempted to give myself a catchy radio name people would be sure to remember: Rich Cami From Miami. I was told the next day to not call myself that again.
It got pushed to the internet and changed to a country station. ‘Mercia!
After my departure from Rock104 (that pretty much went something like this), I pretty much stopped listening to new music across the board. I don’t listen to traditional terrestrial radio nor do I have a subscription to satellite radio. I don’t own a car, so I rarely get a chance to listen to either. Every now and then at a party, I’ll get a chance to hear what the kids are listening to today and shake my head. I’m still trying to get someone to tell me what the fuck a Skrillex is. It sounds like a skillet for a grill, but I don’t know what that has to do with music.
Wait, seriously? THAT’S a Skrillex?
So, what do I listen to nowadays? Podcasts. But what do I do to fill that need for rhythmic tones and beats? I find myself turning to listen to some of the best entrance themes that the world of professional wrestling has to offer. So in these dying days of radio where it is no longer a barometer of what’s cool and hip in America and every third station is a Pop Country one, I say “fuck it” and play Program Director of the fake WWE Radio Station. (That’s WWE, which means any music they actually own. No TNA themes.)
6:00 AM to 10:00 AM – Teach and the Cole Mine
Every radio station seems to start their day with two white, bloated, obnoxious shock jocks and WWE Radio is no different. Bring in Matt Striker and Michael Cole to bitch about pop culture and piss off celebrities calling in. Imagine your WWE clock radio waking you up with this every morning. And, just as Howard Stern has Artie Lang and Beetlejuice for the freakish sideshow, Teach and the Cole Mine will welcome in Brian Knobbs and Jerry Saggs to this song and shove studio guests into their armpits.
They’d have to be better than Lex and Terry, right?
10:00 AM to Noon – WWE Legend Records Hosted by Dusty Rhodes
Yes, he always brings jelly into the studio.
After all the adults drop their kids off at school and get themselves to work, it’s time to program some music for all of the retired folk that long for yesterday. For two hours, DJ Dusty Rhodes throws it back to a day when most themes were sung by the wrestler themselves with tracks such as The Junkyard Dog’s “Grab Them Cakes”, Honky Tonk Man’s “Cool, Cocky, Bad” , The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers, and “The Birdman” Koko B. Ware’s “Do The Bird”. Other golden oldies would be the themes like The Big Boss Man’s “Servin’ Hard Time”, Slick’s “Jive Soul Bro”, and The Dream himself with “Common Man Boogie” . I would also make an exception for Deuce and Domino’s theme to be played during this hour because, hey, I’m all about cool.
Noon to 1:00 PM – Sweet Chin Music with Shawn Michaels
Lunch with a kick in the mouth.
Every weekday for your lunch hour, when you hear this, HBK is about to fire off an hour's worth of Classic Wrestling Rock. If it’s dated and it rocked, you’ll hear it on Sweet Chin Music! Themes from the '80s such as Demolition, The Fabulous Freebirds’ “Badstreet USA”, and Hulk Hogan’s “Real American” complete with the super creepy intro! Bridging from the '80s into the '90s with Sting's “Man Called Sting” and The Steiner Brothers' “Steinerized" . Finally, we end up two decades removed from now with these classics from the '90s like D-Generation X’s “Break It Down” and Chris Jericho’s “Basketball Highlight #12”. Also, regardless of how many listeners turn the dial, Strike Force’s “Girls in Cars” is getting played at least twice a day. Oh yeah, and Nailz’s theme was just “Bad to the Bone” by George Thorogood. I think by having a Classic Rock block, we’re required to throw this one in there anyway.
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM – Live from BSR with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
The FCC’s gonna have our a**.
OK, I totally crapped on Country Music before, and I’ll be honest… I don’t hate it. More importantly, most of the country that still listens to radio likes it. Also, SCSA just got a new gig on Country Music Television so he has that built in audience already. What exactly will the Bionic Redneck be playing? Oh, how about a little bit of the West Texas Rednecks? Maybe a classic in Hillbilly Jim’s “Don’t Go Messin’ With A Country Boy”. Perhaps we’ll learn a little bit about how “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes is the son of a son. In these two hours, you’ll get more steel guitar than you can handle. As your reward, Biscuits and Gravyyyy!
3:00 PM to 5:00 PM – Booker T’s Fav Hip-Hop 5
Booker T on a live mic five days a week? I’m crazy.
Because what else would YOU program after two hours of Country Music? In this fat block of Hip-Hop Wrestling themes, Booker T gives his Fave Five wrestling Hip Hop songs in the form of 20 of them. If there’s one thing I know about Booker T, it’s that he’s a historian and he’ll bust out the old-school classics from back in the day like Men on a Mission, 2 Cold Scorpio, and, of course, the nWo Wolfpac. Now, even though he may not even know who they are, Book shows love to the new songs as well by playing the likes of Percy Watson’s “Headin’ Right Back”, Titus O’Neil and Darren Young’s “Move” (Get It In), and David Otunga’s “All About The Power”. And what would this show be without John Cena being thuggish ruggish with “Basic Thuganomics”?
5:00 PM to 9:00 PM – Break the Roads Down Hosted by Chris Jericho
It’s the end of the radio as we know it.
Drive time is the second most important time of day in the radio business and, as such, that’s when WWE Radio needs to pull out their biggest and best guns from the past 10 years. Looking at the list, these are songs I’d jam out to every afternoon. Also, Jericho already has a satellite radio gig anyway, so the dude’s already trained up and ready to go. The following is just scratching the surface of this four-hour block:
Randy Orton – “Burn In My Light” Nothing against “Voices” but I fucking love this song.
Benoit – “Whatever” Lead singer, Raine Maida, said in an interview that they stopped performing this song after the murders in 2007. Well, this clip is from a concert in 2003 and Maida’s words before it are sad, awkward and everything in between.
9:00 PM to 10:00 PM – The Billy Gunn Request Hour
All those gimmicks and he never had to resort to using Monty Sopp. I’ll call that a win.
If Billy Gunn himself chooses to be too big of a prima donna to take requests for his theme songs for an hour, then fuck it. I’ll gladly be the host of an hour of the best music on WWE Radio. That’s right, I said it. Billy Gunn was the beneficiary of three lyrical masterpieces. During The Billy Gunn Request Hour, those are the only three songs you have to choose from. The Rockabilly theme, “Ass Man” and, of course, “I’ve Got It All” for “The One” Billy Gunn. That’s one of the perks of being the program director.
Come the weekend, however, things do change. People who listen to the radio during the week are usually out and about doing things with their Saturdays and Sundays. That’s why, at week’s end, you have to plan for some alternative programming.
Saturday Morning – Zack Ryder’s Sat Pack
This is his chance to tell the radio everything he knows.
Every Saturday morning, sit in with Zack Ryder’s Sat Pack for a few hours of the best of wrestling’s Adult Contemporary themes. Usually starting with “Radio”, moving onto a little “You Look So Good To Me” for Billy and Chuck, and several 3 Count songs would be scattered all throughout the program. Somewhere in the middle of all that choreography, Ryder would have to find the time to play the tender theme of Bertha Faye and the all-too-catchy ivory ticklings of Rob Conway’s “Just Look At Me”. It’s stuck in your head now, isn’t it?
Saturday Afternoon – Been Around the World With The Great Khali
Tell me you wouldn’t want to listen to Khali just talk.
OK, I know what you’re thinking, but I don’t care cause, yeah, I did it! And I don’t regret it. At least… not yet. But hell, it’s World Music on a Saturday. Who gives a shit? Listeners will eventually realize what he mumbled once they hear Kofi Kingston’s “S.O.S.”, or whatever Los Boricuas’ theme was called. I would also make sure a camera would stream the studio online just so I could watch Khali’s face while listening to the theme of one Outback Jack, “Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport”.
Sunday - Classy Wrestling Themes Conducted by The Maestro
I’m sure he’d be happy just to have something to do.
It’s Sunday and who is listening to the radio on a Sunday anyway? But, just in case some people are, I have to have someone in the studio, and I know for a fact that The Maestro won’t be doing anything on a Sunday. In fact, given his taste, I’m sure he’d appreciate some of the newer classical themes being used today, such as Daniel Bryan coming out to “Flight of the Valkyries” or Damien Sandow washing the masses with “Aleluya Del Mesias”. The true classy wrestling theme erudites will take the most pleasure, however, on the chance they hear the calling of a true champion: THE Jimmy King and “Fanfare for the Common Man”.
Bow to the King, y’all.
Now, to round out all of the big gaps left in programming for the wee hours of the night, WWE Radio will only use the finest in original wrestling music. Gems like “I’ll Be Your Hero” (which I’m sure was played every day aboard the Lex Express) and hits off of both Wrestling Albums like “Land Of 1,000 Dances” (yes that IS Meatloaf) and “If You Only Knew”. Don’t forget rap staples like Kurt Angle’s “I Don’t Suck (Really)” from WWE Originals and “Big Red Machine” from Tha Eastsidaz for Kane off of WWF Aggression. Also included in that mix is WrestleMania: The Album and a personal favorite produced by an obviously young and dumb Simon Cowell, “Never Been A Right Time To Say Goodbye” by Bret Hart.
He obviously had an ear for talent back then, too.
I’ll address this now before anybody makes any wise-ass comments about it. The “Hulk Rules” album by Hulk Hogan and The Wrestling Boot Band will never eeeeeeeeeever get play on WWE Radio. That album should have been buried the same way the E.T. game for Atari was buried. “Hulk Rules” was a waste of plastic, it set digital music back 20 years, and featured Hulk Hogan looking constipated on the cover. Yet, somehow, I owned two copies as a kid.