A Dad Joke Gone Wrong, aka “Sam No”

About a year ago I sat in my GM’s office absolutely shocked we were even having this conversation. Someone had commented on my morning show FB page “Are you guys going to be at beer & wine festival? You should go, and see Sam Grow, and then you can start playing his music.” First, that’s not how commercial (Hot AC) radio works. You’re an idiot if you don’t know that. If I got to just play whoever I felt like because I liked them, that radio station would range from System of a Down to Peter Gabriel to Nas. Second, FUCKING YOUTUBE IT. If YOU like it so much, YOU seek it out. I spent the entire summer of 2007 listening to Sublime’s 40oz to Freedom on CD in my car. I JUST listened to Macklemore’s new album, Gemini, three times this weekend. Know what I didn’t do? Call someone else and ask them to play it and then wait around to hear my song. This isn’t 1996. Third, if you’re listening to the radio for music you’re either not in the mood or too busy to seek it out yourself, whether that’s just at the current moment in time, or in general, and you’re trusting us to entertain you. And that’s cool with me, I am obsessed with music. Follow me on snapchat, I listen to a ton of things my radio station would never play. I will put you on to a ton of music, and I am a bigger fan of when people put me on to music…old, new, any genre. 

Here IS how a station selects music: Every Monday, my PD (program director) and I sit down and go through our 6 major music categories: Power (highest rotation, these are the songs you hear generally every 90 minutes or so), Sub-Power, Light, New, Nights New, and Overnights. For each song, we look at: where they rank on the charts nationally, if overall other stations in the format are spinning it more or less, both the local & national Shazam ranking, the local streaming rank, the local sales rank, it’s “intel” score, and other data that I can’t even remember right now. It’s not just “Ayyyyye, I like this, we’re playing it.”

Anyway, I replied to said FB post with “That’s gonna be a Sam No from us. See what I did there?” She didn’t “see what I did there” and then she was super unhappy about it, even after Sam Grow himself replied and said “they made a play on words on my last name.” It is legit a dad joke. You asked if I was going to be somewhere, instead of just saying “no,” I made a dad joke. She went off saying that she’s never listening to my station again. I then screenshot that conversation, posted it to Twitter, tagged Sam Grow, and said “his fans really mean this ish. Bye.” My reply has always been & will always be, “You have a lot of choices, we don’t have to be one of them.” Not everything is for you, and that’s ok. I don’t watch The Big Bang Theory and then call the producers and tell them how much I hate it. Well. That was just too much for any one to take. After that, the complaints flooded in on Facebook. Reception Ricky was taking messages on the phone, people complaining about how unhappy they were with the “Sam No” remark. They were boycotting and I was laughing at the absurdity of the situation. This remains on my fridge to this day. 

I try to think logically, and be understanding enough to see an issue from all sides. Not that I will change my mind, but I can appreciate where people are coming from on their stance. But there are a few instances that I just don’t see what the argument is…this was one of the them. The are only two other situations in my life where this has been the case.

The first is the time I opened a new bank account with a large cash deposit after moving back to New Jersey. The bank gave me my debit card that day as well. I used my new debit card and was charged an overdraft fee. When I went to the bank they told me that because I had deposited the money after 2pm, it wouldn’t count until the next day. “But it’s cash. There is no wait time for you to get the funds. I had it, then you had it.” WHAT THE FUCK IS THEIR ARGUMENT?! The bank rep just kept saying it was deposited after 2pm. That’s the dumbest shit I have ever heard.

The second instance was when a co-worker was out of work for a week and half because of surgery. However, in the middle of that sick time, he came to the Christmas party at the bowling alley where the GM, the OM, all the programming staff, sales reps, and office staff were and drank some beers (may or may not have bowled?). I made fun of him on air. He was absolutely furious. That turned into a shit show. You can’t come SIT IN A CHAIR but you can drive a mile PAST the station to bowl and drink beer?! I still don’t understand why he got mad over some ball busting. I didn’t snitch on him, except maybe to the listener’s who weren’t aware that you’re healthy enough for Christmas parties.

So back to Sam Grow. A few days later, I’m in my GM’s office, being told I HAVE to apologize. I HAVE to call Sam Grow. I HAVE to air the call during the morning show, and then replay it on the night show.

I couldn’t believe it. I was livid. How is anyone offended by this?! I walked out of the building and went for a drive. I needed a moment to think. I called an OM that I trust and explained to him the situation and asked for advice. I really thought my job would’ve been on the line. I could’ve handled a suspension, and truth be told, I would’ve felt better about being suspended about the whole thing. I have repeatedly said that in both my personal and professional life, I would never apologize unless I meant it. My radio friend talked me off the ledge and shared a story about a promotion gone wrong. He had went on air and said they put a cat in balloon (or maybe they said they tied it to a balloon), and it was floating around the city, and they were going to shoot it down (I may be adding the shoot it down part…forgive me, I only heard this story once and it was a year ago while I was mid-crisis). BUT PEOPLE WERE OUTRAGED!!! He had to explain the prank, apologize for it, and was suspended. A CAT IS FLOATING AROUND THE CITY IN A BALLOON… no one had questions? Or thought “well that doesn’t even sound possible.” ?!?! He then asked me “What’s more important, losing your job over a stupid comment or just sucking it up and apologizing?”

I went back to work. We called Sam Grow…three times before he decided to answer. I believe, though I am unable to find the audio, that I said “I apologize that my joke was taken the wrong way” and that is the only shred of dignity I have in this situation. This was a low for me. Apologizing to Sam Grow, went against everything in me. Maybe it seems childish or immature, but I did nothing wrong. And I apologized for doing nothing to appease other people. I am human, I make mistakes, and I try really hard to be self-aware, to apologize to someone who I have truly hurt, and to ask for them to forgive me when I have fucked up. But this was a sorry for everyone else on the stupidest level. We complain about how easily offended people are, but we always want a “sorry.” I had grown ass people upset over “Sam No.” Demanding apologies. Right now, Kevin Hart is apologizing to the general public for a private situation between him and his wife. Just once, I wish someone’s response would be to stand up for themselves. I wish mine had been.

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