WHEN IT comes to antidisco action, at least one Washington rock station would rather pass up the ridiculous in favor of the sublimation.
That is, they would rather take those strong Negative Feelings about disco -- feelings which in Washington have kept a fairly low profile -- and turn them into Positive Feelings about rock 'n' roll.
"The residual effects of doing something anti-disco is that it goes against the '60s you-do-your-thing-and-I'll-do-mine sort of very free rock 'n' roll lifestyle," says Jim Herron, morning deejay and program director at Arlington's WAVA-FM(105.1).
Herron and Cerphe -- the WAVA nighttime deejay who cut his teeth (and established an impressive following of rock listeners) in his seven years at progressive WHFS-FM -- abandoned plans they'd made for what they thought of as a "First Annual Caravan for Rock 'n' Roll." The caravan, led of course by the Official FM-105 Mobile Rock T-Shirt Giveaway Van, would have comprised a string of cars dressed in pro-rock signs and slogans and filled with non-Donna Summer fans on their way once around the Capital Beltway.
But the station's attorneys nixed the idea, Herron syas, apparently worried by a recent California court suit that held a radio station liable for the death of a man whose car -- involved in the station's promotional contest conducted on area highways -- crashed into another vehicle.
WAVA -- like a few other Washington stations -- does occasionally play Chicago deejay Steve Dahl's "Do You Think I'm Disco" parody, and Herron himself did crunch up a couple of disco records with newsman Mike Del Colliano on the air not long ago. And one staffer even says the idea of having people bring boxes of disco records to the National Zoo -- to be chomped and crushed by elephants and gorillas -- was tossed around briefly.
"I've been fortunate enough to have been in this business 10 years," says Cerphe, "and I've worked with some excellent people -- Willis Alan Ramsey, Springsteen, Lowell George. And I remember a few years ago when some of them didn't know what to do: Not being able to get a hit record when at the same time 'Disco Duck' was at the top of the charts.
"Over the years, I've been offended by disco, yes. But not anymore. I don't get involved in it anymore.
"Disco's winding down in Washington," says Cerphe. "It'll take care of itself. We ought to leave it alone and just celebrate rock 'n' roll."
"To jump on Steve Dahl's bandwagon is just not in sync with what we've been doing," says Herron, speaking of the station's attempts to play as much of the "good new rock" as possible and still stay within The Almighty Format, which in this case is album-oriented rock.
"There's an incredible shift in what's happening in rock music these days," he says. "The new wave is turning into a sort of new rock 'n' roll -- groups like the Knack, the Cars, the B-52s, Blondie -- and it's exciting because it's refreshing, it's fun, there's more energy, more basic instrumental work."