Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

RFC Audio Flashback: Trying To Stay Awake

Portarit of a young, underpaid radio star

One of the pitfalls of doing the coolest radio show in the world was that it started at 2 AM, and ran until 6 AM.  And that was once a week. The rest of the week I kept somewhat normal hours.  So when the weekend rolled around, and I got to do the fun stuff, I was usually not at my sharpest.

That was one reason that I had “feature albums” on Radio Free Charleston.  The official reason was that we wanted to recreate the olden days of WVAF FM, when they’d play a full album, uninterrupted, every night, right before bedtime.  The real motive was that by playing a full CD in the final hour of the show, I could doze off without anything catastrophic happening. Sometimes I even left before the show was over, and let the guy who came in at 6 AM play a recording of the outro of the show while I drove home.

When last we left this particular episode of RFC, Tommy Medvick had gotten into a bit of a verbal spat with a young lady named Jeannie.  In this next segment we can hear that the debate was still raging.  We also hear an announcement for a surprise birthday party for Sham (John Estep of Clownhole). This was written by The Stunning Janice, then Sham’s lady friend and a copy writer for V 100.  As you can hear, her talents did not include penmanship.  However, her talents did include distracting Sham so that he would’t hear the party invitation.

By the way, I hope you realize that the phone numbers and addresses I give out in these recordings are seventeen years out of date, so don’t go calling or mailing them, okay?

This segment begins with a less-than-enthusiastic in-studio reaction to Captain Beefheart.

Up next, for those of you trying to follow chronologically, was the phone call from Brian that I posted on Monday.  Brian provided a calming influence, and in our next bit, you can hear the Swivels peacefully bidding farewell to your host, as they go off into the night.  You can also hear me start to obnoxiously flirt with Bridget over the air, since I was no longer distracted by in-studio guests.

Left alone in the studio, I was having trouble staying awake. It had been a hectic week, after all, and it was well after 4 AM.  To keep myself going, I started playing with the stereo separation and I also managed to flirt even more shamelessly with our new jingle singer, Bridget.  Here in quick succession are clips of me struggling to stay awake until we got to the feature album.

At this point in the narrative, let me digress and share with you a commercial that I wrote and produced.  Greg Miller, owner of Comic World on Charleston’s West Side, was a friend of mine, and he wanted to advertise on the show.  It fell to me to produce a commercial on spec just to give him a rough idea what it would sound like.  So I wrote this fun little exchange between a husband and wife, and started to record it.  I was going to do my “wiseguy” voice, and get one of the female announcers at the station to play his wife.  My boss, Garrett Majors was supposed to do the bit at the end with all the “money info.”

Sadly, Garrett was having sobriety issues that made him unavailable.  Also, the female announcers at the station were either too busy to record the spot, or they were refusing to speak to me.  So I had to do all three voices myself.  I figured it wasn’t too bad, since this was only a spec spot, and would never be aired.

I forgot about Greg’s sense of humor.  When he found out that I did all the voices, including the woman who sounds a bit like a drag queen, he insisted that they use the rough spot on the air.  I became known as “The man of a dozen voices.”  You can hear for yourself.

If anybody knows Greg’s current whereabouts, leave them in the comments. I haven’t heard from him in years.

Back to the show, in the last hour I was really having trouble staying awake.  I wasn’t even hitting the right songs on the CDs that I was playing.  That feature album couldn’t get here fast enough.

I read the songs from the feature album in advance because I knew that I wouldn’t be sticking around for the end of the show.  I think I took off right after the first or second cut from “Key Lime Pie.”

But before the feature album, I had to play the special station ID/feature album intro.  This was created for the show by…

Yes, that’s me singing, over a sped-up Benny Goodman Orchestra.

I hope you enjoyed this look back at a classic installment of the radio version of Radio Free Charleston, and I hope to see many of you at our big retrospective tomorrow night at the La Belle Theater in South Charleston.


  1. Longtime Listener

    Christ I miss your radio show. The Pixies, The Sex Pistols, The Replacements, Morrisey, XTC, Martini Ranch, The Bears, Kate Bush…..

    …on a commercial radio station in Charleston. Plus local stuff.

    I’m glad you posted this. People never believed me when I told them about the old show.

  2. Van Martin

    That is some pretty trippy stuff

  3. Elvis Capone

    I had a radio then! It was a GE 7 transistor. If it could have picked up FM, I would have enjoyed your show.

  4. Brooke A. Brown

    Rudy! I hardly recognized you w/o the fedora.

    Thanks for cracking open the archive.

  5. Marc

    I sent you a Facebook message. Just curious if you ever located Greg. I visited that shop for years.

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