Deejays Grateful to Be ‘Clean and Crazy’
April Whitney, Jed the Fish and Chuck Randall are three L.A. deejays who’ve done time at KROQ-FM (Jed the Fish still handles the rock station’s afternoon shift). But the trio of radio veterans have something else in common--they’re all recovering drug and alcohol abusers.
* When Whitney was a popular KROQ deejay for much of the 1980s, her life was a big party--a party where booze and drugs flowed freely. “There was a time at KROQ when it was the inmates running the asylum,” she says now.
* Jed the Fish, who’s been at KROQ on-and-off since 1978, says he’d been involved with drugs for 20 years when he was arrested in March, 1989, for possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia. Randall, who was at KROQ in the early 1980s, was also a substance abuser.
(Jed says he’s been sober for a year; Whitney for more than two; Randall for four.)
To celebrate their sobriety, the trio created a unique program that airs tonight on KROQ at 11 p.m. Called “Clean and Crazy,” the show is devoted to such topics as drug addiction, co-dependency and obsessive-compulsive behavior. The threesome will also interview sober celebrities (tonight’s scheduled guest is actress Drew Barrymore).
“For all intents and purposes, this will be the first time I’ll have been on the air at KROQ--and been sober,” said Whitney, who is married to Randall. “It just made sense to share what we’ve learned in our recoveries through the medium of radio.”
When Randall first discussed his concept of a “rock and recovery” show with Jed the Fish, they felt, they would have to pitch the idea to a small, non-commercial station. But KROQ program director Andy Schuon gave tonight’s pilot episode an immediate green light.
“We felt it was something important to be involved in,” said KROQ general manager Trip Reeb, who will wait to gauge reaction before making a commitment for a regular time slot. “Drugs and drinking are problems that can’t be over-addressed by the media.”
All three deejays have battled substance-abuse problems, but none more publicly than Jed the Fish, who was yanked off the air last year after his arrest. He spent 65 days in a detox clinic before rejoining the station last July.
“It’s scary getting real over the radio about our experiences,” said Jed, whose drug charges were dismissed after he attended drug-diversion classes. “It’s been sort of dismaying to see ‘getting sober’ being so in vogue now. You don’t want to get sober just because it’s hip. You get sober because you want to get sober.
“I think it’s important that we deal with this stuff KROQ-style, which is to say in a real unorthodox fashion. That’s the idea behind the title ‘Clean and Crazy.’ We want to remind people that you can still have fun and be creative-- and be sober.
“In the old days, I’d just shoot a bunch of dope, go on the air and do anything. I’d developed my crazy style as a result of getting high. But now it comes out of being me. I’m more clear-headed and more focused.”
Jed says the show’s magazine-style format includes news segments, sober-celebrity interviews and phone-ins aimed at having listeners talk about their problems. The program will also offer distinctly unusual reviews. “If there’s a film out that deals with drugs, we’ll talk about our reactions to it,” said Jed. “I remember when I saw ‘Drugstore Cowboy,’ it hit so close to home that I was in shock for most of the movie.”
If the program attracts a sizable audience, the trio want to syndicate it around the country. “We think it’s an idea who’s time has come,” Randall says. “The three of us went through so much craziness in the past that it’s ironic that we’re back together to do this.”
Jed the Fish agrees. “It’s one thing to tell kids not to do drugs. It’s another thing to be able to tell them why-- from the perspective of your own personal pain and experience.”