Sam Hunt at the mic
By Eric Sparling
They have a shower.
We donât have a shower at the newspaper. But Tantramar FM Community Radio has a shower in their bathroom, not to mention free bottled water in a bar fridge. I clearly went into the wrong sector of the news business.
I was the guest of Sam Hunt. Heâs the on-air guy from 2 p.m. to 6. Itâs a bit of Rush Limbaugh, a bit of Howard Stern, absolutely no Shelagh Rogers. He spins the tracks, tells the weather and delivers reviews of single malt whiskies. When heâs not hosting in-studio bikini contests, heâs paying someone to eat 12 pounds of cheese.
Tawdry Tickles, his usual sidekick â that dude was kicked out of the clown union a decade ago â had the day off, so I subbed in.
How Much is That Doggy in the Window was playing as I donned headphones and parked myself in a chair behind a mic.
He read the introduction Iâd written for him. It mentioned the Pulitzar sitting on my desk, my humanitarian work (is there an orphan in Central America I havenât rescued?) and the years I may or may not have spent as an elite sniper for a shadow organization I canât legally identify.
âWelcome, Eric. Itâs great to have you on the show!â he said.
âYes, it is great for you,â I said. âWhatâs with the music? This song sucks.â
The first segment didnât go so great. I blame Hunt. But we regrouped. When the next song ended, I hit him with incisive interview questions worthy of the White House press corps.
âWho has the worst breath youâve ever smelled?â I asked.
OK, so the second segment didnât go so well, either. We had a chance to chat about the job while songs played.
âItâs a lot of funâŠ,â said Hunt, ââŠusually.â
The DJ completed an 18-month radio program at the now-defunct Atlantic Media Institute in Halifax.
âYeah, they went out of business cuz you cranked the volume to 11 one too many times, am I right?!
He shook his head: âThere were money problems.â
Another song was wrapping up: Happy Birthday. How does Happy Birthday get on a play list?
Hunt had a public service announcement for me to read. Some silly claptrap about colorectal cancer. Yeah, like thatâs a disease.
âIâve got the bum sickness,â I joked, while we waited.
âYour micâs on,â Hunt whispered.
Finally finished. He told me he got into radio because it sounded like the on-air personalities were having fun. But they arenât. You canât say anything youâd say in your real life. The phone was already ringing at reception with complaints about me mocking people with colon tumours. And every conversation I tried to have with Hunt fell flat. Honestly, being on the radio is as much fun as having the back of your arm pinched.
I needed to use the washroom before I headed out. Thatâs when I found the shower.
I was on company time. I could enjoy a relaxing shower for 20 minutes or I could head back to the office and start writing. I chose door number one.
Iâve been paid to have a shower on two occasions. The second time, at Tantramar Radio, was lovely, even with the communal soap. But I donât talk about the first time. It was a dark period in my life.
Eric Sparling is At Work with area employers every week. Some of what is written here is true. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org