My younger brother Doug has, at times, demonstrated somewhat of a penchant for calling in to talk radio shows. One afternoon, when we were in high school, I found him on the phone in a lengthy, leisurely, on-air exchange with Donnie Walsh, then head coach of the Denver Nuggets, and since then a long-time executive for the Indiana Pacers of the NBA. On another occasion, a Thanksgiving afternoon, with some insidious prompting from me, using a disguised voice, Doug called Alan Berg’s show for a rules-breaking, second-call-in-one-day conversation. As the second, feeble-voiced caller, Doug offered support for an earlier, youthful caller (i.e., Doug) that had criticized the Denver Broncos’ defense for contributing to a loss to the Detroit Lions. When the abrasive Berg had surprisingly reached the point of agreeing without being disagreeable, Doug revealed his true identity, Berg became furious, and then directed his staff to ban Doug from the show. (Some years later Berg died tragically – – white supremacists gunned him down in the driveway of his Denver home. Berg had conducted numerous talk shows denouncing the views of racist groups, and at one point even had an on-air confrontation with David Duke, then Grand Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, later a representative in the Louisiana legislature. My father, sister, and I had actually met Berg on one occasion after my sister spotted him exiting his car at the Cinderella City shopping mall in Englewood.)
A few years ago, Doug was up late at night listening to a nationally broadcast talk radio show called “Fishin’ and Wishin.'” My brother knows next to nothing about fishing (i.e., he knows about what I know), but the host of this show was begging for callers (Doug made a tape of this, I’ve heard the tape, and the man was a tad bit desperate). Doug called in, and proceeded to concoct some fantastic yarn about Utah County being in an uproar over the “Great Carp Bait Controversy,” with members of the community outraged that individuals were cutting up carp from Utah Lake and using the cut-up carp as bait. The host was astonished, he remarked that carp are trash fish, that it is common to cut them up and use them as bait, how could this be? Doug readily agreed with the host, but Doug was just reporting the facts, and Doug ran with that story for 15 minutes or more, and somehow the host missed a telling moment when Doug was unable to contain his own laughter. But the host was just dying for an audience, and he was not going to let go of the only caller he might have during the course of that long, long night . . .