- Ron and Fez
Infobox Radio Show
show_name = The Ron and Fez Show
imagesize = 200px
Ron Benningtonand Fez Whatley
runtime = 3 hours
country = USA
home_station = the ViRUS
Ron Bennington Fez Whatley
East Side Dave
creator = Ron Bennington
producer = East Side Dave
New York, NY
August 24, 1998
last_aired = Present
North American Scumby LCD Soundsystem
Satellite of Loveby Lou Reed
website = [http://ronfez.net Ron and Fez Official Site]
"The Ron and Fez Show" is a
radio talk showhosted by Ron "Tex" Bennington and Fez "Marie" Whatley. The duo hosted two different radio shows each weekday through May 23, 2007. The first show only continues on XM Satellite Radioevery weekday from 12-3pm. Their second show aired on terrestrial radio on WFNY-FMin New York Cityweeknights from 6-9pm, and did not simulcast on XM.On September 12, 2005, after long popular runs in Tampa, Florida, New York City, and Washington DC, Ron and Fez debuted internationally on XM Satellite Radioand XM Canadaon (also on DirecTVchannel 879). The show airs from 12pm until 3pm ET, with encore airings Monday through Saturday from 12am to 3am ET.
The Ron and Ron Show (1986-1997)
In the mid-1980s, stand-up comedian
Ron Benningtonjoined Ron Diazto create the popular and raunchy morning radio program, " The Ron and Ron Show", which became syndicated throughout the southeastern United States, and publicized show regulars Gary Spivey, The Curtain Boy (comedian Warren Durso) and Dan Whitney (before his reincarnation as Larry The Cable Guy). Producer Fez Whatleyand regular guests Paul O the movie reviewer, legendary “parody guy” Fast Eddie, Billy the Phone Freak and fiancée Miss Vicky, Flipper and his musical band the Dead German Tourists, all took advantage of their on-air opportunities to become popular personalities. Ron and Ron made national headlines after engaging in a screaming match with apparently inebriated actor Don Johnson.
The show's foundation began eroding when Ron Diaz's wife was diagnosed with
AIDSin the early '90s, and Diaz began missing broadcasts to care for her. The stress of her November 1995 death caused Diaz to leave the show a year later, and on September 29, 1997, after an 11-year syndicated run, (the latter half of which featured several replacement hosts, all of whom took the name of "Ron"), "The Ron & Ron Show" was cancelled due to Clear Channel Radiobuying out Paxson Radio, the radio broadcasting company that owned the rights to the show. Clear Channelopted not to continue the show.
Whatley had briefly co-hosted the "Hooters On The Radio" show with Brenda Lee (aka B.L.), Julie Williams and Hooters spokesperson (and Playboy's Miss July 1986) Lynn Austin. It was during this time that Fez developed his popular "Nature Boy" character as a tribute to pro wrestler
"Let The Puppies Breathe"
In the early 1990s, "The Ron and Ron Show" produced CDs and videotapes with show highlights and specially produced material. Their raunchy videos "Pup Friction" and "Let The Puppies Breathe" included footage from the show, predating the popular "
Girls Gone Wild" video series and Opie and Anthony's "WOW" promotion. The impetus behind the phrase "Let the Puppies Breathe" was to get women to expose their bare breasts and nipples, which was featured on both tapes.
While based in
Florida, Ron and Ron hosted several comedy shows that were rather explicit and adult in nature. These included:
*Diaz Live From The Riviera Deli (1989)
*Ybor City (1991)
*Tampa Convention Center (1992)
*Celebrities in Orlando (1992)
*The Button South, Hallendale (1993)
*Daytona Beach (1993)
*Frankie's Patio, Ybor City, Tampa (1995)
*St. Patrick's Day in Savannah (1996) (Savannah is in GA)
*The Ron and Ron Christmas Party (1996)
*The Ron and Ron New Years Party (1996)
*Hammerheads in Key West (1997)
*Fez Whatley's Birthday Party (1997)
In the late 1990s, Ron and Fez hosted one of the first national adult dodgeball matches in
Daytona Beach, Florida.
The Disciples of Comedy
In the mid-1990s Ron Bennington, Fez Whatley,
Jimmy Shubert, Mitchell Walters, Carl LaBoveand Warren Dursowere some of the comedians touring the southeastern United States as "Ron Bennington's Disciples of Comedy". Several of them previously toured with "Sam Kinison's Outlaws of Comedy" before Kinison was killed in a 1992 car accident.
Moreover, Ron managed Ron Bennington's Comedy Scene, a comedy club in Clearwater, Florida, where he is credited by comic
Jim Breuerfor helping to discover him. To this day, Ron will occasionally discuss the operations of comedy club during those strange and intriguing times. WKRO-FM(1998-2000)
August 24, 1998"The Ron and Fez Show" debuted on WKRO-FM Daytona Beachin the morning drive-time slot. Just a few months earlier, on May 22, 1998, " The Monsters In The Morning" (then known as "The Monsters of the Midday"), briefly reunited several regulars from the cancelled "Ron and Ron Show", including Ron Bennington, Fez Whatley, Billy the Phone Freak, Paul O and Mitchell Walters. After explaining their perspective on the split with Diaz, Ron and Fez announced their return to radio. Using the formula they developed in Tampa, Ron and Fez recruited new employees, interns and characters for the new show. They were on WKRO for about a year and a half before being hired by Infinity Broadcastingin New York.
Ron and Fez's show in New York City debuted on
February 21, 2000, one week earlier than planned. The show was improved, and with the help of popular lead-ins "Opie and Anthony", they discovered an eager fan base, while distancing themselves from their "shock jock" roots to better accommodate WNEW's line-up.
WNEW-FMwas converted from a long-respected rock station to all-talk in 1999, with afternoon drive show " Opie and Anthony" as the "masthead." Ron and Fez signed to host an overnight talk show named "Ron and Fez Dot Com," beginning February 21, 2000and broadcast from 11pm - 3am. Ron and Fez eventually moved to evenings (7:00-11:00 pm), then to early afternoon (12:00-3:00pm) and later back to the evening timeslot. Buoyed by Opie and Anthony's lead-in ratings, the duo began to enjoy success.
During this period, several memorable characters joined their on-air team, including taciturn producer Hawk, Tasteless Ginny, and the call-in prankster Joe Poo. The show's web-based premise inspired the founding of several websites devoted to the show, including RFBabies.com (once a haven for the show's cadre of young female fans), and the unofficial site for the show [http://www.ronfez.net] . Though "Dot Com" was soon dropped from the show's title, Ron and Fez have garnered an enormous online following due to RonFez.net.
Big ASS Cards
To foster a sense of community with listeners, Ron and Fez developed the "Big ASS Card" for those wanting to join their "All Secret Society." Aside from providing discounts at sponsors' establishments, the "Big ASS Card" identified cardholders with the show. Whenever "Big ASS Card" holders gave their card number at the beginning of the call, a sound clip was played of
Al Pacinoyelling "HOO-AH!". Though the promotion was discontinued, some callers still announce their "BAC" numbers, and the clip is usually played when producers are paying attention.
Ron and Fez Restroom Inspection Award
Other promotional items included the "Ron and Fez Restroom Inspection Award" stickers, which were fraught with printing errors and postage delays, much to the annoyance of fans. Billy Staples and some listeners supposedly posted the stickers throughout New York City during April, 2002. In Hoboken,
New Jerseyone sticker was placed on a statue, for which WNEW had to pay a fine. Unlike the still-relevant “Big ASS Card", the “Restroom Inspection Award” sticker bit played out on two shows and was rarely mentioned again, but did earn Billy Staples the nickname "MeatFist" for posting too many stickers.
eptember 11th Attacks
On the evening of September 11, the team stayed on the air taking calls from distressed listeners, some of whom were unsure if loved ones were still alive inside the Twin Towers. It is said that Hawk walked across the
Queensboro Bridgeagainst outpouring hordes of people to get to his job; Billy Staples hid in a Long Island Rail Roadbathroom so he could return to work because only medical and rescue personnel were allowed into the city. Ron and Fez expressed heartfelt sympathy and related the feelings of many New Yorkers, and staged several "bar crawls" and other events under the motto "New York Forever," designed to encourage listeners to patronize businesses in lower Manhattan. "The 2001 Halloween Bar Crawl" was particularly memorable thanks to the heavy turnout and shenanigans that ensued. The bars most publicized included The Slaughtered Lamb and Karavas' Place.
Ron and Fez enjoyed amicable relationships with WNEW's other personalities, particularly Opie and Anthony (O&A), who would sometimes sit in with the Ron and Fez show, teamings which were known as "AFRO Shows" (AFRO being an acronym for Anthony, Fez, Ron, Opie).
Demise of WNEW
Ron and Fez's motley cast of characters grew as the show entered 2002.
Billy Staples, their phone screener and producer, became more of an on-air personality, often confronting his substance abuse problems, while the show producer was the butt of many jokes, often for his strange habits and perceived managerial ineffectiveness. As the show developed during spring 2002, the ratings steadily improved.
After Ron and Fez's popularity continued growing through the summer of 2002, WNEW's flagship show "
Opie and Anthony" was canceled, leading many observers to believe that the station might alter its all-talk format. Ron and Fez remained in their time slot for another five months until WNEW's format "flipped" on January 27, 2003, moving the show to sister station WJFK-FMin Washington DC.
Jeremy Coleman (PD of New York's WNEW in 2000) became aware of Ron and Fez when he was a program director for WJFK-FM, the sister station he nurtured. He originally intended to bring the show to DC, but instead became WNEW's program director. One month later, on
March 27, 2000, Ron and Fez began tape delay syndication in DC where they found a small but loyal fan base in an early morning timeslot. In November 2002, WJFK's evening radio show " The Sports Junkies" relocated to WHFS, opening a timeslot for Ron and Fez to syndicate their show live in Washington DC (7p.m. - 11 p.m.), following " The Don and Mike Show".
Relocation To Washington D.C.
After WNEW changed formats in early 2003, Ron and Fez began broadcasting the show on WJFK. Although heard only in Washington DC, Ron and Fez chose to remain in New York until June 2003, when they finally relocated to the WJFK studios in
Fairfax, Virginia. During the following year, several memorable characters, listeners and staff gave the show a fresh identity. While the WNEW show had been heavily influenced by a dedicated and funny core group of callers, WJFK proved to be fertile ground for eccentric visitors who each brought their own unique humor to the show. Cherrynoid, David Lee Kinison (aka Elfish), Cigar Sid (aka Sidcada), Bobo Golem and Crazy Jen became call-in and studio regulars.During the late summer of 2003, Ron and Fez took calls for 2 extra hours on the evening of Hurricane Isabel. All of the DC, Northern Va and Maryland areas were without power or under water.
Known for being team players, Ron and Fez worked on split shifts, did drop-ins for WJFK's Redskins broadcasts, did live commercials and appearances, and helped mentor the hosts of a weekend show (later to become weeknight show), "The Hideout". A good relationship with lead-in show "Don and Mike", along with improved call-ins, freshly funny bits, and a community needing a good laugh during the 2004 presidential election propelled Ron and Fez to stellar ratings in January 2005.
The Fastest Hour In Radio
In mid-2003, after being on WJFK exclusively for a mere few months, Ron and Fez agreed to host a one hour midday show entitled "The Fastest Hour in Radio", scheduled between
Howard Sternand conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly. This timeslot would supplement their evening duties, and would not be caller driven. Instead, Ron and Fez emphasized their own witty social commentary. When the nighttime show was syndicated in Baltimore, Maryland and Tampa, Florida in the summer of 2004, Ron and Fez focused on their evening show, with the "Fastest Hour in Radio" scheduled 7:00-8:00 pm.
Until 2003, Ron and Fez were not known for political commentary. But their move to the nation's capital, their experience on "The Fastest Hour of Radio", and the
2004 Presidential Electionseemed to make their discussions more political in nature.
In 2003, before becoming the cornerstone for
Air America Radio, Al Frankendid an interview. Shortly after the 2004 election, Tom Shalesfrom the Washington Postcalled in to discuss the political ramifications of the FCCcrackdown on terrestrial radio. To their credit, Ron and Fez managed simulcasts of the 2004 presidential debates and election returns.
DC Area Appearances
Ron and Fez continued to reach out to listeners with several local appearances during their time in DC. These included:
*Ron and Fez Pool Tournament at (2003) - Included a billiards tournament, Fez performing a karaoke version of "Harper Valley PTA", Cigar Sid performing "Sugar Sugar", J Dubs' "Hot Pepper Challenge" and "Fairyoke" (listeners performing karaoke versions of effeminate songs).
*Caddyshack Movie Night (2003) - Included a screening of "Caddyshack" (Paul O. was featured as a waiter), "Nut Putt" (where listeners tried to putt golf balls at J Dubs' genitals), "Bobbing for Baby Ruths" (where listeners bobbed for fecal looking candy bars in a kiddie pool), "Gopher Hunt" (where listeners fired paintballs at Paul O), and a new "I Blow" tattoo for Paul O.
*Ron and Fez Poker Tournament (2003) - Included a poker tournament, the "Honeymooner Game", the "Gong Show", the "Mating Game", J Dubs' and Crazy Jen's Fire and Ice Challenge", performances by Monty Love, and a very drunk Silera (more).
*Hard Rock Cafe - New York Reunion (2003) - Ron and Fez returned to New York for a Crankcase gig at the Hard Rock Cafe and played to a packed upstairs room. Many of the show's alumni like Hawk, Tasteless Ginny, MikeyD, Tenacious C and Billy Staples dropped in along with many NY friends of the show (more). Anthony Cumia made a surprise appearance and a huge O&A chant erupted, causing WJFK to pull the plug on the show for over an hour, playing a "Best-Of Show" due to "technical difficulties".
*The St. Pat's Spat (2004) - included the following boxing matches: Spoon vs Tommy Bateman, El Jefe vs J Dubs, and Mikey D vs Wonderboy (during Mikey D quit in the ring). Also featured were the "Monster Toss" (a competition to see who could throw intern Monster the furthest) and Crazy Jen's failed attempt to eat 50 hard boiled eggs.
*2nd Annual Ron and Fez Pool Tournament (2004) - included billiards tournament, hypnotism of Fez, Crazy Jen and listeners by "Don The Hypnotist", a performance of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on sitar by Bobo with intern Chapin on vocals (more), football trivia, and a listener jingle contest.
*Battle of the Local, Unsigned Bands (2004) - Ron and Fez hosted a showcase of unsigned area bands.
In addition, Fez raced in 2004 and 2005 in an annual charity 5K with fans of the show. In 2005, Fez would meet fans and friends every Friday night to party at a Fairfax, VA bar called "Thursdays", in a tradition that became known as "Friday Night Lights". Ron made his only appearance at the final "Friday Night Lights" on
July 29, 2005.
"The Worst Kept Secret In Radio"
The future looked bleak for Ron and Fez at 106.7 in January 2005 when (after their best ratings to date at WJFK) the station was forced to absorb talent from
WHFS-- a "sister station" that switched formats from modern rock to Spanish dance. Ironically, the new talent included " The Sports Junkies", who were given the midday spot many had hoped would go to Ron and Fez. The first station casualty, however, was "The Hideout", which lost the late night shift and eventually relocated to WTKS 104.1 Florida (current home of 'Ron and Fez' intern Tuddle) and were subsequently canned. With nowhere to advance in the station lineup -- and with little apparent respect for the show evidenced by frequent preemptions for infomercials on University of Maryland Terrapinsbasketball ("Man on Man") and "Redskins Radio" Monday nights -- Ron and Fez began to entertain internet rumors that they would leave terrestrial radio to join old WNEW-FMfriends Opie and Anthonyon XM satellite radio. 2005 was a year of hints and speculation, but nothing was confirmed until the very last segment, on their last airing in Washington DC: Friday, July 29, 2005.
December 20, 2006, "The Ron and Fez Show" debuted on WFNY in the 6-9PM time slot. The Free-FM show was different from the XMshow in that it is aired later in the day, and was a completely independent "evening edition" of the show, rather than a re-broadcast of the XM show, or a joint show with XM, like Opie and Anthony's morning show.
Besides the obvious
FCC-compliant content of the Free-FM show, the focus was different in that it tended to focus on events local to the New York City area, in contrast to the national focus of the XM show.
"The Ron and Fez Show" was discontinued when WFNY reverted back to a rock format as
WXRKon May 24, 2007. [cite news |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/25/nyregion/25radio.html |title=WFNY Drops Talk Format and Returns to Rock, Citing Profits |accessdate=2007-05-27 |first=Jacques |last=Steinberg |publisher= The New York Times|date= 2007-05-25]
XM Satellite Radio (2005-)
On August 2, 2005, three days after Ron and Fez signed off from
WJFK-FM, the official announcement was finally made that they would be going to XM Satellite Radiobeginning September 12. [cite news |first=Michael |last=Cotterman |title=NAMES & FACES |url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/30/AR2005073001213.html?sub=AR |publisher= The Washington Post|date= 2005-07-31|accessdate=2007-10-29 ] [cite press release |title=TALK RADIO PERSONALITIES RON AND FEZ TO JOIN XM SATELLITE RADIO |publisher= XM Satellite Radio|accessdate=2007-10-29 |date= 2005-08-01|url=http://xmradio.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=press_releases&item=779] On August 9, and then again one month later on September 8and 9, Ron and Fez went on " The Opie and Anthony Show" and provided behind-the-scenes stories about their times at WNEW-FMand the years since they last worked with each other. On September 9, the four hosts of both shows (as well as O&A co-host Jim Norton) met hundreds of fans at a preshow kickoff party at B.B. King's Blues Cafe in Times Squarewhich doubled as a welcome back party to New York City for Ron and Fez.
On November 9, 2005, Fez suffered a mild heart attack, unbeknownst to him. He hosted the show the next day before his doctor informed him of the heart attack. [ [http://www.sbindependent.org/node/764 Talk Radio Favorite Suffers Heart Attack | Stony Brook Independent ] ] An
angioplastywas performed and he was diagnosed with diabetes. Fez returned to the show on November 28.
Following an interview on May 9, 2007 with author
Elmore Leonard, Fez left the studio during the show for the emergency room. Fez subsequently had a second stent inserted May 11, 2007. [ [http://www.ronfez.net/forums/showthread.php?t=59831 Fezzie Update - RonFez.net Messageboard ] ]
Currently (2008) on XM 202 the show openers are created by interns Pepper Hicks and Mooch Cassidy. The new openings mix drops from movies and pop culture into a song followed by "North American Scum" by
Ron and Fez have long used eclectic music during their show's opening, closing and rejoiners from commercial breaks. For many years their closing song was "Vertigogo" by
Combustible Edisonfeatured in the movie " Four Rooms", which was changed to "Satellite of Love" by Lou Reed. During their WNEW days, the opening music bed was "Oddities" by Insane Clown Posse. When the show was on terrestrial WFNY in 2007, "Oddities" made a comeback, as well as other recognizable music beds from the WNEW era. The closing music of their FM show was the "Theme from the Last Waltz" by The Band.
The theme music in 2005 received a lot of attention from listeners who believed that Ron and Fez might leave WJFK for satellite radio. Some songs, like the January 2005 opening with the J Geils Band "Crusin For A Love" (with its lyric "I'm back on Broadway") turned out to be prophetic. Using various versions of "I Shall Be Released" in early summer 2005 was a clear sign that they wanted out of their contract. On that final DC broadcast, they also played "We Want The Airwaves", "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone", "Radio, Radio", "So Long Baby Goodbye",and "Satellite of Love" -- their last song played on WJFK.
The Don and Mike Show
XM Satellite Radio
* [http://www.ronfez.net RonFez.Net] - Ron and Fez fan website
* [http://www.spreadtheiris.com Spread The iris] - Ron and Fez fan website
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.