A Signal From Above

Stone, a veteran of secular radio, started his Christian gig four years ago.
Stone, a veteran of secular radio, started his Christian gig four years ago. "We look at it as a way of reaching people," he says. (Helayne Seidman For The Washington Post)

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By David Segal
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 15, 2007

ZAREPHATH, N.J.

At first it sounds like classic morning-zoo radio: A host plays ringleader, telling stories and jokes, while a couple of sidekicks chime in and laugh a lot. The banter is peppered with sound effects, like the noise of a guy vomiting. There are snappy jingles and lots of running gags.

The format of "Johnny Stone in the Morning," heard weekdays here on WAWZ, "Star" 99.1 FM, is familiar. The content -- to anyone accustomed to radio shows like "Don and Mike" or "Opie and Anthony" -- is not.

"I've got five phrases here, and you've got to tell us whether they're Bible or not," says Stone one recent morning, talking to a caller named Stephanie. She knows the rules and she's ready to play.

"The tree is known by its fruit," Stone reads aloud.

There's a pause.

"Bible," answers Stephanie.

A you-are-correct ding is heard, then a surprising amount of joy in the studio.

"B-I-B-L-E," sings Stacey Stone, Johnny's wife and the show's news reader, "yes, that's the book for me!"

"I stand alone on the word of God!" shouts David Dein, the show's self-described wisenheimer, who for the moment sounds like a very earnest cheerleader. "B-I-B-L-E, Bible!"

Once calm is restored, Stone reads another sentence.


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