In the early ’80s I worked for WABC radio as a receptionist. I would answer calls and put them through to the salespeople in the rooms beyond the waiting area. I would be seated behind a big circular desk right in front of the elevators. The waiting room was painted in a mod ‘60s style with wild and bright orange and red colors. To my right were the offices and DJ booth for WABC radio, and to my left were the ones for WPLJ FM. All I had to do all day was mostly buzz the salespeople, guests, messengers, etc, into the interior offices, and best of all the DJs coming in to work.
One day one of the big bosses came out to tell me they would be getting a uniform for me. He would always be yelling at me for one thing or another, for pacing around the waiting area because I would get restless – “You have to stay behind your desk!” – and as for how I dressed, let’s just say I didn’t exactly have a corporate look going. I was about to argue, but I pictured how punked up I could make that uniform so I said, “Okay!” I think I had a glint in my eye because he looked at me and said, “Never mind about the uniform Regina.”
Except for people coming and going I was basically by myself all day and I could just read. Sometimes I would press all the buttons on the big desk phone I had and put all the phones on hold for about an hour so I could concentrate better on reading plays. This was WABC radio, with I’m sure big deals going on, and a lot wouldn’t get through for that hour. I don’t know where I got the nerve to do that. It was such a great job!
As a kid I had always listened to WABC. I had a little transistor radio and I’d listen to it all the time, loving doo-wop and all the girl groups. I loved all of that most until Punk finally broke through and saved my soul. Now here I was, years later buzzing the DJ’s into WABC radio who were my heroes as a kid. Harry Harrison was a total sweetheart. One day I told him he looked like the Cat in the Hat and he laughed so hard. But he did! He had real long legs and he always strode out of the elevators with a big smile and a big hello. Ron Lundy, from Memphis, would actually say, “Hello Love!” to me every morning, exactly how he would say it on the air everyday as his show began. Dan Ingram was always crabby but at least he was consistent.