Saturday, August 05, 2006

early hibernation

While blogging about a recent News Sentinel profile of a man in a frog costume, I got the impression that Howie Weeks really loves his job at a competing radio station. That's why I was all the more surprised to learn yesterday that after six years, he is "no longer with the company." I met Howie once but I don't know him well enough to contact him and ask why he and the station parted ways.

The best part of the article was the honest description of what it's like to deal with listeners demanding t-shirts. The newspaper reporter accompanied Howie to a remote from a car dealership. There were no t-shirts that day. Although listeners think radio people have an infinite supply of t-shirts, the reality is that we don't. I've come to think that the cost of giveaway items should be added to the price the client pays for a remote broadcast. The client could choose from a menu of different priced options like t-shirts, concert tickets, keytags, etc.

Why would the station mascot leave his job so soon after the article was published? The news comes at a time when the station should be celebrating the ridiculously large margin by which they topped the Arbitron ratings and the ridiculously large margin by which their program director was re-elected to the Knox County Commission.

The job posting for a new mascot contains a possible clue (italics are mine):
Mascot etiquette: WIVICK the Frog does not talk. When in the Frog suit it is the duty of WIVICK to entertain -- be animated and get into character based on the event/remote/appearance booked. There should never be any skin showing while in the Frog Suit. It is a secret to the public as to whether WIVICK is a male or female. WIVICK is not allowed to do interviews with the local or national media unless approved by the station's General Manager. The Mascot should be creative with apparel. While Citadel provides a furry green suit, one should be creative with the look of the Frog. The Mascot does not have to wear the furry suit at all times. If WIVICK is booked for Splash Country for example, the apparel could be the Frog head/hands/feet with a Hawaiian or surfer shirt and shorts, green leggings and arms.
The former frog had redesigned his own costume over the years. About a year and a half ago he was featured in the Seymour Herald for getting married in the Wal-Mart parking lot where he first met his listener bride. She showed up at many of the frog's remote broadcasts to win tickets to the Tennessee Valley Fair. I wonder what the general manager thought of the Seymour Herald article.
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Anonymous Pam Mc said...

That's just sad that he has quit in this manner. I am curious like you are as to why.

Blogger Heather said...

Poor Frog. ITs a hot job maybe he had enough with the weather being so brutal.


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