The World's Worst Talk Radio Host Has His Own Fan Club.
By Tom Danehy
IT IS MY first official act as Recording Secretary of the Tom Hassey Radio Show Fan Club to announce our first-ever membership drive. We aim to have our numbers up into double figures by the next ratings period.
You might wonder how, with my family responsibilities and all the time I spend (ahem) sculpting this column each week, I can devote a significant portion of my life to The Hassey Show. Well, it's a matter of priorities. We all struggle to find truth and beauty in this world. And Hassey-ness is next to God-awfulness. It's rare when one finds something so perfectly dreadful, and we must do whatever we can to preserve it.
As for the Club, we held our first meeting last night. In attendance were me and Jim Nintzel. I ended up having to drink both six-packs of Diet Pepsi. The show's only been on for six months, so apparently the word hasn't gotten out yet. Don't get discouraged, Tom, you've got two true believers out here. And as Chairman Mao said, "The million-man march began with one step." Or something.
We held our elections at the meeting. Jim and I ran for president. I thought my speech was better because I know more stuff about The Show. But the vote ended in a tie, so we had to have a tie-breaker. Since we both used to like baseball, I suggested that we throw the bat. I guess Jim didn't understand. There goes our budget for the year-end HasseyFest.
When I finally explained that you gently toss it into the other guy's palm, then go hand-over-hand to the top to decide the winner, we got in an argument about whether topsies counted.
Finally, we lagged pennies against the curb and he won. Personally, I thought it was kinda tacky that he then wouldn't let me run for vice-president unopposed.
He won treasurer and immediately asked for a year's dues in advance. He promised to give me a full accounting next meeting. I get to be recording secretary and sergeant-at-arms. To make things even, he named himself ambassador to The Republic of Texas.
Things haven't gone incredibly smoothly thus far for Jim and me, but we have a bond, a common raison d'etre. We've both been Hassey-fied, and we can never go back to real radio again.
Jim was kinda bummed at the low turnout at the first meeting, but I got him back on track by having him think what it must have been like for the two geeks who showed up at the first Star Trek Fan Club meeting back in '67. One of 'em went on to become Bill Gates. (Of course, the other guy was Ted Kasczinsky, but we won't go into that.)
I have to take the time right here to state for the record that I like Tom Hassey. He's a sports fan and a nice uncle to Brad Byrge, who is one of the top prep basketball players in town. He also has my undying respect and jealousy for having been fortunate enough to have been born and raised in Tucson.
But mostly I like him because he's even worse on the radio than I was. As long as he's alive, I don't suck the most.
For those of you who've missed his show on KTUC, 1400 AM (and apparently that includes just about everyone who was alive the past six months), you're missing out on a big treat. Some of the highlights include:
He starts his show every day by calling it "the least-listened-to, least-talked-about talk show in Tucson," without a hint of irony. That might be true, but why announce it? Here comes the first Catch-22. If no one is listening when he announces that no one is listening, did he really say it?
His guest list is a scream. The best I can figure, 93 percent of his guests in the past three months were people whose cars broke down near Glenn and Country Club and wandered into the studio to get out of the heat while waiting for AAA to show up.
The day before the elections, he spent the first hour with a woman hawking her book which attacks the IRS. Hot news.
He whined on the air for three weeks before one of his sponsors relented and gave him a free mobile phone.
He asks the greatest trivia questions of all time, like, "What was on the corner of Stone and Third Street back when I was a junior in high school?" (Even more amazing is that people know the right answers, although he does like to argue with them. "No, the furniture store was on the other corner! Old Man Schultz ran it, remember? He had that bad leg.")
My absolute favorite bit was the week he spent telling people about his new organization. He called it "I Don't Care About Kids Anymore." This would have the acronym IDCAKA, but he called it "Eye-dock-uh; the 'K' is silent."
I wanted so badly to call in and tell him that if the "K" were silent, then the pronunciation would be "Id-ka-a-a-a." It would sound like Nicolas Cage in Honeymoon In Vegas when he was trying to pronounce those Hawaiian street signs. ("Is that Kalakahaa or Kakalakahala?") But he was on a roll and I was enjoying it so much.
Jim and I are hooked. I plan my chores so that I'll be in the car between 10 and noon every weekday. I'm trying to find out if there's a radio VCR. Jim is also a devout Hasseyphile. He even had a friend make some shirts which read, "I'm So Classy 'Cause I Like Hassey." Unfortunately, the dude was one of those home-schooled dorks, so the shirts came back, "I Pass Gassy Just Like Hassey."
We tried to get our editor to listen, but after that bad experience he had with the Mahara Ji back in the '70s, he politely declined. However, we do want y'all to give it a listen. It'll change your life (in one way or another).
Be careful, though. We want him to stay on the air, but we don't want his ratings to go so high he'll be gobbled up by some syndicate. Listen to him as much as you can, but if you see an Arbitron truck parked out front, switch to John C. Scott or better yet, Rush Limbaugh (yeah, like there's somebody out there who still listens to him!).
Our next meeting will be New Year's Eve at Jim's house. Down the hall, in the broom closet. Bring your noisemakers (and Jim says to bring your first year's dues, in cash, in advance). We're going to christen 1998 The Year of Hassey. Oh yeah.
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