WAVA-FM's (105.1) "zoo boys," Don Geronimo and Mike O'Meara, whose telephone tricks have riled people before, managed to kick up a couple more folks' dander last week.
During his Wednesday morning routine, Geronimo told listeners that he believed his wife Freda Wright (who works Sundays at WAVA using the alias Laura Petrie) had renewed an old relationship with WMAL-AM (630) afternoon personality Chris Core. After some on-air simmering, Geronimo called Core's home at 7:40 a.m. Core was awakened from a sound sleep but not before his answering machine took most of Geronimo's message about an "affair." Geronimo redialed, but a sleepy Core opted not to tangle with Geronimo. Core admitted the bit was funny, but said the timing was wrong. "They woke me up," he complained. "It's an invasion of privacy." Later, Core phoned General Manager Alan Goodman to register his unhappiness over the early-morning call, as have singer Phil Collins and scores of others before him.
"He just called to reinforce the fact that he has a proper relationship with Don Geronimo's wife," said an amused Goodman yesterday. "But I'm not interested in getting involved in what is obviously a very close relationship between Don, Freda and Chris. All I do is run a radio station."
The following morning, the Zoo took a call from listener Jim Miller, who said his wife hates James Bond movies. Miller gave the Zoo jocks her work number so they could talk her into seeing the latest Bond thriller, but said later that he didn't realize the number would be broadcast even though he was told he was on the air.
Listeners jammed Michelle Miller's business lines, at first locking out WAVA's call. After several attempts, the Zoo got through and razzed her about Bond. But that wasn't the end of it: During the day, she received nearly a dozen prank calls, including one with sexual overtones. Finally, her office manager began screening the calls and the rest of the office "covered it up from the bosses or I probably would have gotten in trouble, maybe fired," she said. "We were also afraid that a listener would show up."
Miller said there were more calls on Friday, and said she's still unhappy about the Zoo team's phone manners.
"I've never liked them in the first place, and I don't think they should be on the air doing those things to people!"
"The guy gave his wife's phone number over the air," Goodman said. "We don't have a seven-second delay. What am I supposed to do?"
But not everyone is mad at Geronimo. His mother-in-law, occasionally the target of his fire, says it's "all show biz. He's really a very sweet, very shy and very loving person." But she admits, "Sometimes he rides the good horse to death."
WWRC Goes Gabby, Too
Speaking of telephone radio, WWRC-AM (980) debuted its telephone talk format yesterday. The station has signed Joel A. Spivak to a one-year contract with an option for additional years. Spivak was popular on the old WRC news-talk and is expected to be the station's big drawing card in his afternoon drive spot. Terms of his contract were not disclosed. WWRC is expected to add another talker to the 9-to-noon weekday shift this week and has signed Redskins defensive end Charles Mann and coach Richie Petitbon for the season. The station's talk line is 882-WRC1 (9721).
Changing the Frequency
Jazz-format WDCU-FM (90.1) has hired two Washington radio veterans, Felix Grant and Rusty Hassan, for four-hour weekend shifts. Grant moves from WWRC to the University of the District of Columbia station to host a four-hour Saturday afternoon show this week beginning at 3. On Sunday, Hassan, who was cut from WAMU-FM (88.5) after almost 18 years, will take his spot as the jazz station's Sunday afternoon host. Hassan's show also begins at 3. WDCU, now operating at 6,800 watts, is awaiting approval for a power increase to 50,000.
Urban contemporary WPGC-AM/FM (1580/95.5) fired late-night disc jockey Linda Kelly on Thursday afternoon. Kelly was one of only two remaining on-air staff members from when WPGC was called "Classy 95" and aimed at yuppies. The station, which is being sold, switched formats in May.
On the AM band, former WPGCer John Dowling has joined WMAL-AM (630), where he'll host "Saturday Night Gold" beginning at 9. The ABC-owned station hopes to attract "The Big Chill" crowd with rock 'n' roll favorites from the '50s and '60s.
Around the Dial
Former WMAL traffic reporter "Captain Dan" Rosenson is flying for WLTT-FM (94.7) while Walt Starling spends two weeks at the beach ... National Public Radio has begun syndication of Grace Cavalieri's "The Poet and the Poem," a one-hour weekly program featuring poets and their works. The show originates from WPFW-FM (89.3) at 8 p.m. Sundays . . . WMAL-AM's (630) Larry Matthews has begun a weekday program designed to give a reporter's overview of the city's happenings. The show, "Capital Watch," is at 6:30 p.m.