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Top 10 Radio Stories of 2008

Dateline: 12/28/08

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Sarah Palin Phone-Pranked CKOI DJs

Sarah Palin Phone-Pranked CKOI DJs

Photo Credit: © Justiciers.TV
9. Montreal DJs Prank-Call Governor Sarah Palin

On Sunday November 2, it was reported that a couple of Canadian radio hosts pulled a phone prank on Governor Sarah Palin. The Montreal radio duo called "The Masked Avengers" apparently bluffed their way through to Palin by pretending to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Palin's handlers fell for it and put the DJs through. The Vancouver Sun reported: "Palin, unaware she was speaking to a Quebec radio DJ and being recorded, talked for nearly six minutes as the conversation touched on topics such as a Hustler porn video made about her, shooting animals from helicopters, Dick Cheney's hunting ability, Sarkozy's 'beautiful wife' and how the French leader could 'see Belgium' from his house."

"The Masked Avengers" are Marc-Antoine Audette and Sebastien Trudel, of CKOI/Montreal. They released a portion of the call the weekend prior to releasing the full call on Monday, November 3.

Listen: You can hear about three minutes of the call online.

8. George Carlin Died - His 'Seven Dirty Words' Helped Define Radio's Boundaries

On Monday June 23 it was reported that Comedian George Carlin died of heart failure. He was 71. Carlin's routine, "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" was at the heart of a Supreme Court case in 1978.

In 1973, New York listener-supported radio station, WBAI-FM (owned by the Pacifica Foundation), aired Carlin's routine which brought a complaint from a father whose son had heard the broadcast. The Federal Communications Commission was notified, an investigation ensued, and eventually WBAI-FM was fined for broadcasting obscene content. WBAI-FM appealed the ruling and it eventually went to the highest court in the United States.

Five years later, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court upheld the F.C.C. decision ruling the routine was "indecent but not obscene". FCC v. Pacifica Foundation is one of the highest profile free speech cases of the last century and it served to make George Carlin a household word and also helped define Radio's verbal boundaries for the future.

7. Legendary Radio Programmer Bill Drake Died

Drake died Saturday, November 29, 2008 from lung cancer. He was 71.

"Bill Drake did for Top 40 Radio what Ray Kroc did for hamburgers," said Ron Jacobs a longtime radio personality, programmer, and consultant writing a heartfelt tribute to Drake at radiodailynews.com.

"Drake streamlined the Top 40 format, using modern methods, such as market research and ratings demographics, to maximize the number of listeners. He believed in forward momentum, limiting the amount of disc jockey chatter, the number of advertisements and playing only the top hits, as opposed to less-organized programming methods of the past," states Wikipedia.

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