Some folks admit loving Monica Radio: Writers of song parodies could hardly live without her now.

On the Air

March 08, 1998|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

Say what you will about Monicagate, it's been a song parodist's dream.

"The White House keeps writing our show for us," says Kenny Campbell, one-half of the JoJo & Kenny morning show on WWMX-FM (106.5). "You know, the Lord loves a scandal."

As do Campbell and other radio-station types, all of whom have written "tributes" to the Clinton-Lewinsky affair. The songs, heard primarily during the morning shows on WWMX, WQSR-FM (105.7), WIYY-FM (97.9) and WHFS-FM (99.1), share several traits: They're all sung to the tune of popular songs, they all feature bad Clinton imitations and they're all merciless.

"When you do a show like we do, full of comedic material, there's just too much material there," says WQSR's Steve Rouse, host of Baltimore's top-rated morning program. "It's funny stuff. Regardless of how you feel about it, it's funny stuff."

Sung to the tune of "My Favorite Things" (from "The Sound of Music"), WQSR's ditty takes the opportunity to poke fun at the entire Clinton presidency:

Susan McDougal and Gennifer Flowers,

Horny young interns who while 'way the hours,

Profits from futures that Hillary brings,

These are a few of my favorite things.

"This particular Clinton thing, somebody e-mailed me the lyrics," says Rouse, whose vocals bring to mind both the president and Elmer Fudd.

"Bill Clinton's Favorite Things" is one in a long line of musical parodies put together by Stevie and the Satellites, which includes Rouse and other members of his morning-show crew (Maynard G. and Scott Parker), plus Frank Myers, Fred Zang, Steve Drepperd, John Sigmund and Annie Newell.

During the past 10 years, they've recorded more than 100 songs and released nine albums, with the profits going to charity.

At WWMX, which shares a parent company (American Radio Systems) with WQSR, JoJo and Kenny have joined with producer Scott Davies to produce a trio of parodies, sung to the tune of Motley Crue's "Girls Girls Girls," ZZ Top's "Sharp-Dressed Man" (re-titled "Teflon Man") and Elvis Costello's "Veronica."

The last contains this jab at White House intern Monica Lewinsky:

Well, we've all seen that pretty toothy grin of yours,

Now that you're a big news-making star.

And we still ain't sure if you're lyin' or not,

But we know your name is Monica

"I wrote a new song yesterday -- it took about an hour to write, maybe 90 minutes to put together," says Campbell, who writes the lion's share of the lyrics and provides the musical backgrounds, using either a guitar or digital keyboard (which can duplicate the sounds of drums, bass, piano and other instruments).

At WIYY, the parodists have reached back to the '60s for material, borrowing from Cream's "White Room" to come up with "White House":

Oval Office has no corner,

So we chase 'round.

They're so eager,

Star-struck youngsters,

I'm a sex-hound.

"We stand around and brainstorm," says Kerry Dietrich, producer of the station's Kirk, Mark & Lopez morning show. "One guy sits at the computer, and we brainstorm until we think it's funny enough."

Known collectively as Twisted Tunes, WIYY's parodies are done either in-house (Kirk, for instance, does Clinton on "White House") or by a New York production company ("They sing better than we do," Dietrich explains).

Other twisted Clinton tunes include "Impeach 'Im" (to the tune of "Peaches" by -- coincidentally -- the Presidents of the United States) and "My Favorite Things" (with the same lyrics as the WQSR version).

The most risque of Baltimore's Clinton parodies comes courtesy of WHFS. One's a paean to the president's anatomy and the other, "Monica's Playground," is sung to the tune of "Sex and Candy," by Marcy Playground:

I think sex is dandy

Whatever intern's handy

"They're a product of the creative people in our production department," says assistant program director Bob Waugh. "That's always kind of the case at a radio station; there's just a group of people here with nothing better to do."

"We don't do it regularly," Waugh adds, "but only when the opportunity presents itself, particularly with a song that's become such a huge hit, that maybe everybody's gotten a little tired of."

Such is the case with "Monica's Playground," which has the advantage of containing instrumentals provided by Marcy Playground, recorded when the band played a live set just for WHFS listeners.

While none of the four stations pulls much in the way of punches with Clinton, all agree there are types of parodies they dare not broadcast. They all, for instance, avoided songs about the death of Princess Diana.

"About a week after the Princess Di thing happened, we got a tape in the mail from a D.C. band, and it was a parody of the Jim Carroll song, 'People Who Died,' " WHFS' Waugh says. "We listened to it and thought it was hilarious, but we were not comfortable with putting it on the air."

"I didn't even touch Princess Di," says WWMX's Campbell. "There's nothing funny about that," agrees WIYY's Dietrich.

But nobody seems overly concerned about offending politicians.

"Oh yeah, the White House calls every day," says Campbell. "Clinton's just sick to death of us. The whole White House staff, they're just sick of us."

Changes at WCBM-AM

WCBM-AM (680) has a few line-up changes that took effect last week.

"The Zoh Show," with Bob and Zoh Hieronimus, moves from weekday mornings to middays, 1 p.m.-3 p.m.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger's call-in therapy show now airs from 9 a.m. to noon.

"Conference Call," a staple of Baltimore radio since it debuted on WFBR in 1962, airs weekdays from noon to 1 p.m. Panelists discussing issues of the day include Zoh Hieronimus, Tom Marr, Sean Casey and Frank Luber.

Phil Wood's "Sports Final," featuring guest interviews and discussion, airs weeknights, 10 p.m.-1 a.m.

And finally, Bob Hieronimus' "21st Century Radio" moves to Sundays, 7 p.m.-9 p.m.

Pub Date: 3/08/98

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