There is more to the story than snow in South Florida.
In 1977 I was in my 7th year as a talk show host on Atlanta’s WRNG “Ring Radio.” Talk radio in 1977 was nothing like it is right now. For one, Sean Hannity was barely 16 years old and was a fan of polka music. In 1977 talk show hosts would – and trust me on this – do anything to get phone calls. WRNG was a 1000 watt daytime only radio station battling against giants such as my current mothership, News-Talk WSB.
I didn’t quite have the line of porridge to use on the air that I do now. Forty years of talk radio creates quite an extensive library of material to bring to the show on any given day. It was tougher then -- fewer listeners, no Internet, no researchers, and less material.
Now we’re going to turn the clock back a bit further than 1977. We’re going to 1976 and the talk surrounding a presidential campaign. It was Jimmy Carter running against Gerald Ford. Ford, you will recall, had risen to the presidency on the resignation of Richard Nixon.
In 1976 I had other things on my mind … like finishing law school and trying to pass the Bar Exam … so I was often looking for the easy way out on the show. Since phone calls were often tough to come by, and not having the line of BS I carry to the game now, I went for guests who would generate calls and give me an easy day. Number one on that list would be … psychics. Psychics and astrologers made easy guests. It was excruciatingly boring – but what the heck, we weren’t getting any ratings anyway. I was making about $9000 a year and that wage level didn’t exactly motivate me to extensive show prep; so psychics it was. The listeners, if there were any, were treated to a succession of callers saying “Tell me something about myself.” Ugh.
And so it was on one day in 1976 I had a psychic on the air for an hour. The phone calls were coming on strong and dozens of listeners were finding out something about themselves. How incredibly exciting! Finally, feeling the need to spice things up a bit, I decided to ask a question of the psychic myself. This must have been rather early in the presidential campaign because, from the nature of my question, Jimmy Carter was a long shot for the Democrat nomination, let alone the presidency. So my question for the psychic was:
“Will Jimmy Carter ever be sworn in as President of the United States?”