Radio stations do everything in their power not use real money when acquiring an official van. Often, the station will offer a trade. The General Manager might say to a dealer:
"Okay. How about that van for the redhead who works at our front desk?"
The General Manager knows full well that "white slavery" is prohibited in the company manual but is just testing the dealer's boundaries. Eventually, the G.M. comes to an agreement and the dealer forks over the van in trade for an acceptable amount of commercial time to be run on the radio station.
This is commonly referred to as a "trade". The dealer is commonly referred to as a "sucker" and the General Manager is commonly referred to as a "boy genius."
The radio station takes the van to an air-brush artist who usually replicates the station's logo on the side of the van and let me tell you: nothing makes an artist feel more special than having to create a 5-foot-tall duck wearing a cowboy hat.
The radio station van is generally sent on remote broadcasts, to accompany on-air personnel during personal appearances, and to transport prison road crews to pick-up discarded trash during the station's annual "Be Litter Free or Get Shanked" day.
The radio station van is generally driven by a part-timer who has very little vested in the upkeep or maintenance of the van. That's why there is spilled Coca-Cola in the air-conditioning ducts, dried-up French fries between the seat cushions, and several unidentified fungi casually living in the glove compartment and where the mats used to be.
Three things most people don't know about radio station vans:
- They have single-handedly kept the Pine Tree Air Freshener company in business
- They lose half the value when they are driven off the dealer's lot, the other half when they are driven onto the radio station's lot
- Having sex in a radio station van will cause birth defects