Mount Airy mayor gains blip of fame on D.C. airwaves

December 17, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

Was it a slow news week or what?

A seemingly trivial directive from Mount Airy Mayor Gerald Johnson to his employees -- to hang up on obnoxious callers -- propelled him to 90 seconds of fame on Washington's radio airwaves this week.

The Greaseman, D.C.'s shock-jock, picked up on the mayor's publicly aired memo and urged station WWDC's morning listeners not to call Mount Airy because town employees will hang up on them.

Mr. Johnson, after learning about the Greaseman's comments, called the radio station to clarify the issue.

Imagine the mayor's surprise when the Greaseman asked whether Mr. Johnson would mind going on the air to discuss the matter.

"He wanted to know how all this came about," said Mr. Johnson, who didn't hesitate to join the broadcast. "I told him we had been getting some calls at town hall from very obnoxious people who were not identifying themselves."

The Greaseman suggested the town should invest in Caller ID, "and then we could call these people back and tell them 'Ruff, ruff, ruff,' or something like that," the mayor said.

The exchange has made Mr. Johnson a celebrity of sorts. "People have had a lot of fun with it," he said. "Thank goodness it was something positive and not negative."

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