“Welcome to the show–oh-oh, my fellow Monkeys!”
This is how I greet our listeners every episode of our podcast “Monkey Radio with Marc”, which has been downloaded more than half-million times, and now heard on the RELM Network for the last two months.
What you may not know is this is a private tip of the hat to my “radio inspiration”, the mighty radio DJ great, Mr. Michael Sorce a.k.a. Don Geronimo. Listening to the once syndicated decades-lasting brilliant show The Don and Mike Show from its early days on Washington, DC’s WAVA through its last moments on WJFK in Manassas, VA many years later, I was always fascinated by and entranced by how this true pro managed to lead four hours of material and keep me mesmerized every minute. We heard fights, tantrums, tragedy, the rarely successful “Honk for Cash”, revelations and fun-poking behind the curtain, impressions of and infatuations with Larry King, marriages, children, suspensions, legal issues, and on and on. We lived their lives with them, in some way. We were always invited into the DJs’ very real lives. Many episodes of the D & M Show kicked off with “Welcome to the show-wo-wo-wo-wo!”.
I always wanted to be a part of that show. It really wasn’t part of my world. It was impossible. The closest I ever got was winning a car key which had a chance to start a Mazda Miata to win the car! Ironically, I couldn’t even be at the event, so I asked a roommate to go in my place— and didn’t even get to see or meet the DJs I spent 20 hours a week listening to. He never got a chance to try the key—some lucky chap in the front of the line won. I also called in one time and tried an impression of Geronimo’s then sidekick Mike O’Meara’s alter ego Charlie. Didn’t go over too well.
Other than that, I was limited to spending about 1,000 hours a year listening to Geronimo and his team, but that was as close as I got. Ask yourself—how many other people in your life do you spend 1,000 focused hours with each year? Wouldn’t you feel like you knew them—-they weren’t playing characters, they were sharing their lives. Right down to Geronimo’s most transparent, personal, vulnerable moments as he reflected on the sudden loss of his dear belated wife. Anyone listening that day was spellbound, and we were there, in some way, to offer comfort. If even only in our own hearts and minds.
But mostly, he was hilarious. And entertaining. And brilliant. And the best record-talker-upper in the biz.
When I decided to develop my own show, “Monkey Radio with Marc”, I decided I would have to have my heart in it. This meant I had to model the show after the one I had always enjoyed the most—“The Don and Mike Show.” Aside from the difference of a lengthy, in-depth interview virtually every episode of my show, the structure and syntax of the show were similar. At a minimum it is highly derivative. Ultimately, it feels natural.
It made sense to tip my hat to Geronimo every episode, in my intro. Which I do. Privately , until now.
The man didn’t cure cancer. Or invent a history-altering technology. Or inspire a law that expands human rights. But, despite the fact that he often described being a DJ as one step above circus clowns, he has literally entertained generations for decades. He has given a smile to those who needed it more than anything. He has helped countless thousands find their way in the aftermath of September 11th. He has created so many memories and become a giant in an industry so competitive that there’s almost no reason to try. He’s earned his spot. He’s earned respect. And he inspired at least one “offspring” show (mine), and possibly many others.
And he’s back. Really, really back.
Earlier this week, the RELM Network, run by Geronimo’s former long-time newsman Michael J. Elston a.k.a Buzz Burbank (who had continued to work for several years with O’Meara and now hosts his own news podcast) and his former intern Marc Ronick (also now co-host of his own show The Marc and Lowell Show), announced Geronimo will be joining the network to do a regular, live show—-unfettered for the first time ever by the limitations of the FCC.
All I can, gleefully, say is: “OH BOY!!!!” and “Look out, America!”
Geronimo will now be on the fledgling network on which “Monkey Radio” also appears. So — the entertainer whose show inspired my show (not to mention my interest in even doing a show) will now be joining the very network I was recently invited to join, by the guys who used to work with him. It’s almost too much to take in. It’s a bit like becoming a comedian because you loved and were inspired by Johnny Carson and then one day through a series of circumstances suddenly getting to be on his writing staff. (Yes, Don, I just compared you to Carson).
I simply cannot wait to hear Geronimo’s first show, germinating from a brilliant move by RELM. Maybe someday, the full circle will come around again, and I’ll be trying to manage through my dream-like state sharing microphones, just for one day, with Don Geronimo. If that happens, I might not be able to speak—I’ll be too busy listening. For now, I’m grinning ear to ear knowing that I am sharing a tiny tattered corner of a big marquee with Geronimo’s name on it, in lights which are getting brighter by the minute. It’s great for the listeners, it’s great for RELM and it’s great for all of us other shows who get some speed from your vehicle’s draft. Thank you for that, in advance.
So Don Geronimo — maybe it should be the other way around, but nonetheless please allow me to say: “Welcome to the show-oh-oh!”
UPDATE: Don Geronimo parted ways with The RELM Network. It wasn’t friendly. Read more.