I Hate Morning Radio

I Hate Morning Radio July 27, 2013

In Grand Rapids there is a morning radio team that calls themselves Free Beer and Hot Wings. I’ve never actually listened to the show because the promo clips for it are painfully unfunny and I assume that if these are the best and funniest clips they can find to entice me to listen, the rest must be even worse.

But it goes even deeper than that. I just hate morning radio, or most of it. I’m not alone. Pretty much anyone who has ever done stand up comedy hates morning radio. When you’re on the road, the clubs often have deals to send the comics into the studio with the local “morning zoo,” where the DJs are crazy and whacky and think poop jokes are the apex of wittiness. And it’s pretty much the worst part of the job. It’s worse than not seeing home for weeks at a time, staying in shitty hotel rooms and making almost no money for it. It’s the one thing that makes you feel like finding a clock tower.

The DJs are almost always insufferable idiots whose repertoire of jokes is the kind of thing that makes 8th grade boys laugh in the gym locker room. The kind of people who think that the only thing that makes their hilarious jokes any funnier are funny sound effects. Like when they talk about boners — and they do, a lot — they think it is simply comedic genius to play that “booiiiinnnnngggg” sound like a spring. Oh stop, you’re killing me. Or at least I wish you would.

And alongside the two male DJs you invariably have a woman, often called the “news girl” or something like that. But you know what the men who run the stations actually call them? Giggleboxes. That’s the standard term. Because that’s their job, to laugh hysterically at everything the two overgrown teenager DJs say and to react with exaggerated feigned offense when they make sexist comments about her.

Here, this is pretty much what I have to say about most morning radio:


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  • cswella

    People still listen to radio? I moved to Pandora / Podcasts long ago. You can get exactly what you’re looking for without having to deal with shitheads.

  • A Hermit

    Didn’t Glen Beck get his start as a morning drive guy?

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    How can you say this, bro???

  • Michael Heath

    And let’s not forget, the ‘morning zoo’ format is where Glen Beck worked when he was young, as opposed to say, getting an education.

  • tuxedocartman

    I love that movie.

  • I watched “God Bless America” on Netflix a while back. There’s nothing about it that a SAW M249 or M60 and some headbands couldn’t improve.

    The rant is pretty good. It’s like Howard Beale’s from “Network News” with the cultural artifacts of “The Dating Game”, “Jerry Springer” and “The Gong Show” updated to include the crap-a-thon that is commercial television and dumbed down–if such a thing is possible–for the Kardashian klown posse.

  • CaitieCat

    I can’t stand morning radio either. Didn’t realize I shared that with others who’ve done standup, as I’ve only ever done it at coffeehouses and poetry slams (I do poetry as a routine, improv and scripted), so I don’t meet many others who’ve done it. But yes, juvenilia is the acme of humour to these types of people, and at the same time a height they rarely attain. Probably more accurate to call it puerilia.

  • Nemo

    Apart from the misplaced nostalgia and the ahistorical (but commonly believed) stuff about the Romans, pretty good rant.

  • I’ve had some radio/alarm clocks that had the option to start the radio in the morning instead of the harsh buzzing klaxons of the alarm setting. Given my limited experience with these shows, I think I made the right choice sticking with klaxons.

    In some very marginal defense, I’m not sure if non-morning people like me are in the proper state of mind to appreciate competent humor so early. On the other hand, maybe they’re targeted towards people who go for the “radio” option, so they’re out to be annoying enough to get listeners to jump out of bed and shut the thing off.

  • zentrout

    I too did not even realize these kinds of shows still existed until my son had some exciting bear encounter which managed to make the intertubes and some Iowa morning radio station interviewed him. I was able to tune in via internet radio. I was like…. wow, they still have these morning zoo routines? With podcasts, portable music players, customized internet music right to your smartphone, audio books and all the rest how do these stupid radio shows even survive?

    Watching SNL reruns lately and encountered a hilarious skit parodying the exact format Ed describes!


  • blf

    Rex Bob Lowenstein (Mark Germino).

  • yoav

    I had a short enough morning commute when I was living in the Raleigh NC area to make it not worth it to look for another station then the one I got stuck on when I first moved there (anything longer I would just plug in my ipod) so I would get some of the local morning show which was great for inducing my rage. The asshole that was doing it was a jeebus thumping bully with a Donald Trump level of self aggrandiziation and the sense of humor of a concussed squirrel.

  • exdrone

    Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is, Frank. You have to see it for yourself.

  • Yoav:

    Why do you hate concussed squirrels?

  • Matt G

    I can’t turn on the radio until 10 AM. Such crap.

  • dobby

    The worst part is they laugh at each others lame “jokes”. Most of it is double entendres and other stuff that stopped being funny in the sixty grade. Thank god for NPR.

  • ajb47

    I grew tired of all but local sports talk radio a decade ago, and gave up on the sports talk just a few years later. Once I was able to burn music to a CD, there was no reason to listen to some doofus who thought he was funny do more talking than playing the music. Now it’s all iPod all the time. Alright, maybe some Pandora and Rhapsody infrequently just to get the “similar artists” and “recommendations”.

  • ludicrous

    “8th grade boys” “overgrown teenagers”

    I am a fan Ed but this rant is unfair to to the young among us. And I wish there were more young among us but there won’t be unless we decide to show a little respect

    I think it is unethical to use the young this way, to negative stereotype them. I was one 60 some odd years ago and I don’t forget.

  • carolw

    Well, “Kidd” Kraddick just kicked the bucket, so there’s one less morning DJ. Sad for his family, but whatever. I hate morning shows, too, but I hate most radio formats as well, so I listen to NPR or CD’s, so I’m spared.

  • Karen Locke

    Husband, until recently, woke up to a morning radio show with “Bill and Marla”. Marla was the newsgirl and the gigglebox. Alas, Bill died suddenly. Seriously, my heart goes out to his family; I doubt he was beyond middle age. I, who get up a bit later, wake up to a cell phone alarm.

  • Ysidro

    It was actually the stand up they had one morning that made me stop listening to an entire station. The morning show was just as Ed described it, but the guy they had one was horribly racist. I grumbled a bit and when they brought him BACK, I gave up on the entire station. Fortunately it was Clear Channel, so it’s not like I was missing anything.

  • Artor

    Yay for the noble mp3! I haven’t listened to the radio for a few years now, and I don’t miss it a bit. Occasionally, I’ll encounter it playing in a business or somewhere, and I have to marvel that anybody would actually pay a morning zoo DJ for what they do.

    Seriously, what is the point? They interrupt the music with invariably inane blather, and they make the entire station sound bad. Who ever decided that the morning zoo format was a good idea? Is there any real data to support this crap?

  • lofgren

    I think we should at least acknowledge the inherent challenge of filling four hours or more five days a week with humor (or something that passes for it) that is at best tolerable and at worst won’t embarrass their boss. Those guys work hard, walking a razor thin line of so mundane that it doesn’t become a scandal but so offensive that people can feel self righteous while listening to it. I say this not to excuse any of their sins but only in the spirit of Eddie Izzard’s bit on mass murderers. “Well, you must get up very early in the morning!”

  • JustaTech

    The part of the morning radio shows I always loathed the most were the “Birthday calls” when they call up some unsuspecting person and play some kind of prank. In Baltimore the station we listened to had stupid but occasionally funny pranks (asking the mark if it would be OK to give up paying bills for Lent), but the station I found in Boston was horrendiously mean-spirited. I was so glad to start train commuting.

    Now it’s just NPR, the local high-school Top 40 Dance station (no talking!), or CDs.

  • kenfair