The game was that you had to listen in the morning when the station announced the song of the day and then keep listening all day until you heard that song being played. As soon as the song began, you’d run to the nearest phone and try to be the specified caller number. If you were lucky enough to get through, you would hear some intern’s voice on the other end of the phone exclaiming, “You’re Today’s Winner!” If you weren’t so lucky, you’d hear, “You’re caller number 25, try again.” followed by a click.
As the summer heated up, the promotions got bigger and bigger. What started out as albums and concert tickets quickly progressed into European vacations and thousands of dollars in cash. Eventually, the insanity peaked with the mother of all giveaways when KLOS announced that they would be giving away a classic car every week for a month. The deal was that they would give away one key every weekday to the 95th caller and on Saturday, the winners would gather at the station to see whose key would actually unlock the door. That’s when I decided to get serious and from then on, I made it my sole mission in life to win one of those cars. I made sure that every morning, hung over or not, I listened to the radio at 9 am to hear the song of the day and made every effort to listen until I heard that song being played. I would then rush to the nearest phone and start calling. It takes quite a while for an intern to answer 95 calls.
On the final week, they had saved the best for last; a cherry red 1959 Corvette convertible with a big white stripe down the side. My quest intensified and I pulled out all the stops by making sure that I didn’t miss a single opportunity that week. Strangely enough, as my focus sharpened so did my confidence. Now that may have had more to do with the fact that I had successfully gotten through a couple of weeks earlier and won a pair of tickets to a Julian Lennon concert than it did with some sort of premonition, but I just had a good feeling this time.
On Friday, when I heard the song of the day, I began my calling ritual only to hear fast busy after fast busy and then after what seemed to be an hour of trying (probably more like ten minutes), the line started ringing. Eventually someone picked up the line and said “Congratulations, you’re the 95th caller!” I was absolutely speechless until the intern said “I just have one question for you, have you won anything from this station in the last 90 days?” to which I quickly replied “just a pair of Julian Lennon tickets” and before I could get the words out of my mouth, the intern said “Sorry, you’re disqualified.” and hung up the phone. I’ll never know whether my key would have unlocked that car door, but I’m pretty sure it was that Bad Instant Karma that put an end to Julian Lennon’s music career.
It’s like I said that time I ran for Governor of the Great State of Alabama,
“When in doubt; deny, deny, deny, Dude.”