Archived content from August 2011 to present:
“Change” is probably the best word to use when describing everything that happened on the MJ Morning Show in the year 2011.
Early in the year, Meredith broke up with her boyfriend Marcus (aka. Mucus) but rebounded quickly by starting a relationship with Anthony the Sales Weasel. The two are still together today.
In June, it was revealed on the show that Fester had come down with myasthenia gravis, a rare autoimmune disease. This landed him in the hospital for a few weeks including at least 10 days in the ICU. Thankfully, Fester got over this initial scare and is now medicated and doing well. He may never have a bout MG again, but he’ll have to be on medication for the rest of his life.
The first “big announcement” of the year was made on the morning of June 20, 2011. Many listeners thought that MJ was going to announce his retirement from the morning show after 17 years. He initially joked that this was the announcement and that June 30 would be his final show. But many were caught off-guard when the real news was that Froggy’s wife, Kim, was pregnant with their first child. It turned out to be a boy named Max Phillip Cusmano, who was born on December 13, 2011.
A major change came to the show starting on August 16. That is when the show was cut down to three hours from its longtime four-hour timeslot and more music was added, significantly reducing the time that the crew was actually speaking on-air. MJ claimed that Clear Channel corporate had determined that listeners wanted to hear more music and less talk in the morning. He also said it was Tommy Chuck who had a major hand in the decision. Listeners stormed to the show’s Facebook page in protest, flooded the studio phone lines, and sent angry texts and e-mails that MJ hinted about on the show. People demanded that the “regular” show be brought back, but the music stayed, as did the abbreviated 6-9 AM ET timeslot.
The second “big announcement” of the year came in early September. Because of the first announcement, this one wasn’t as hyped. But it was another baby – this time for Fester and his wife, Allison. Hadley Antoinette Siciliano was born on October 10, 2011, which was Columbus Day. This was some wonderful news for Fester personally as he had lost his father in February and had come down with MG in June.
“Breast Christmas Ever” was held on the show once again late in the year as the crew gave out breast augmentations to female listeners who sent in photos. But, as part of another change, they only gave away six surgeries. Listeners voted on the photos and decided who needed the augmentation the most. MJ gave a few different reasons for the smaller giveaway number, stating that the station did not have the budget to do the traditional baker’s dozen giveaway. But he also said it had to be an abbreviated contest and that having listeners send in photos instead of videos or stories would streamline the process.
MJ dropped numerous hints throughout the year that he might be walking away from the morning show soon. One interesting factor is that he started up a Twitter account in October and began encouraging people to follow him on Twitter. Could this signal a potential career change at some point? Maybe he wants people to follow him through social media because he won’t be on the air at some point to deliver his opinions through broadcasting. Because of this, there is a possibility that the show could experience even more change in 2012. What this change may be is yet to be determined.
Froggy and Kim welcome first child
The result of the first 2011 "big announcement" on the show back in June finally came true. Froggy and his wife Kim, who also works at the radio station as a promotions manager, welcomed their first child into the world.
The couple had a boy named Max Phillip Cusmano, who was born at 11:46 p.m. ET on Tuesday, December 13, 2011. Delivered via C-section on his exact expected due date, he weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces and measured 20 inches long (just like his daddy, according to Froggy). Who would have ever thought Froggy would be a father some day and having to change dirty diapers? Regardless, he is now, so congratulations to he and Kim, whose maternity leave runs through March. Talk about the best Christmas gift you coudl ask for!
By the way, the two also have dogs named Meatball and Mimi, so you've got to wonder if they picked an "M" name to go along with Michael (Froggy's real name), Meatball, and Mimi. Not saying you can compare a child with animals, though.
MJ recently played an audio recording of Froggy playing video games at his house. He was screaming and cursing at his TV. You've got to wonder if he'll put the games away now that a newborn is in the house. Or will he give Max an early start on playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Battlefield 3? MJ said his kids don't play video games, but with Froggy, anything is possible.
We also know that Froggy loves to drink Jameson Irish Whiskey. Hopefully he won't do that around the kid, either - at least until he's 21.
Congrats to Hurricane and Peggy!
Hurricane has always kept his personal life off the air - and rightfully so. Any radio broadcaster can be as open or private as he or she chooses when it comes to revealing personal information to listeners. But MJ stumbled upon a piece of awesome news about Hurricane in the last few days.
Hurricane has gotten engaged. He and a girl named Peggy have known each other for over six months. He popped the marriage question to her on October 16 and gave her a ring after she said "yes." The two met at the Green Iguana Bar & Grill when he was out with some friends. They are set to get married at a very small and private ceremony in April 2012.
MJ was a bit surprised about the age difference between the two. Hurricane is 45 and Peggy is 25. Since he has been on the show, Hurricane has briefly mentioned having girlfriends on and off. He may have been in at least one long-term relationship as well. But he has never revealed any plans to get engaged or married in the past, so this is a big first for him.
Congratulations to Hurricane and Peggy on their engagement! We all hope they enjoy a happy and healthy marriage once April rolls around.
(By the way, Meredith will be the only crew member who is not married. Perhaps she and Anthony the sales weasel will tie the knot in the new year? We'll have to wait and see.)
What's up with Hurricane and his computer?
Hurricane does most of his work for the show behind-the-scenes. Occasionally he will chime in on something that the crew is discussing, or if MJ asks him a question, he'll roll over to a microphone and answer it, especially if it has to do with the website. But lately Hurricane has apparently been working on a desktop computer in another area of the radio station complex because his laptop stopped working. That is why you almost never hear him on the show anymore.
MJ admitted that he was going to use the $3,000 morning show quarterly money for Q4 in order to woo listeners to follow him on Twitter by handing out $500 to a random Twitter follower every Friday through the rest of the year. However, it seems like that money could have gone toward purchasing a new laptop for Hurricane (or at least some of it). MJ feels it is up to Clear Channel to replace his old computer with a new one. He has also claimed that Hurricane does not always take good care of his computers, which is a little hard to believe considering that he is the "web guy" and the show's technical producer.
It is hard to tell if we've heard the whole story on all of this. It is a shame he has to work outside of the studio where all the action happens. Hopefully this issue will be resolved soon, and maybe Hurricane will have to hope that Santa brings him a new laptop for Christmas.
Froggy's Phone Freaks are over
No more Dementia Don. No more Rob Ripple. No more Johnny Stankface. No more Froggy phone freaks.
On Nov. 9, 2011, MJ announced that Froggy would no longer be doing prank phone calls. The decision was apparently made the day before by program director Tommy Chuck, who said that "research" had shown listeners did not want to hear the calls anymore. Back in March of this year, MJ had requested that Froggy do three prank calls each week. They were to be broadcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning at 7:20 a.m. ET - the only preset time for anything on the show. Some of the calls were simple prank phone calls, while others were fake radio shows where Froggy would pose as a radio host and interview a real guest, but the guest did not know they were being interviewed on a fake show
Froggy had done prank calls off and on for several years before he began the regular schedule of three calls per week. One of his earliest calls was with Projectile Vomit Man where he called a school about being a substitute teacher.
Prank phone calls were a staple on the morning show even before Froggy became a crew member in 2002. MJ did dozens of calls with Milton Fludgecow, the Crotchety Old Man. He put out seven CD's and did signings all around the Tampa Bay area in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Obviously there have been several changes to the show in the last few months, with the biggest change being the addition of more music to the show and less talk. When MJ announced the end of the prank calls, he also said there is "so much to say" about the overall changes to the show and that it will all come out "in due course." Hopefully we will learn more about why these changes were really made as time goes on since listeners have not been given a substantial explanation.
Could Chloe be the first female NFL kicker?
Apparently the Schnitt family has some athletic genes in it. And perhaps MJ’s speed that he showed off by beating Unitard the Intern in “The Race” back in 2008 was not a fluke.
MJ’s kids, Chloe and Julian, have been involved in sports for several years now. Recently, Chloe placed first in the Punt, Pass & Kick competition for fourth graders at her school. MJ raved about how well she can kick a ball for her age and how much strength she has in her legs. MJ also has gotten her involved in soccer and Julian involved in flag football. He said he plays catch with him every night after work.
Even though Chloe is a girl, she could still have a future as a kicker or punter at a high level. In fact, some young women have gotten the chance to kick extra points at the college level. Katie Hnida of the University of New Mexico kicked two extra points in a Lobos game in 2003, becoming the first female to play in a Division I-A college football game. Prior to that, Ashley Martin was 3-for-3 in extra point attempts for Jacksonville State University in a Division II football game in 2001.
So based on Chloe’s early success, watch out for the name “Schnitt” on the backs of professional football – or soccer – jerseys in the next 10 or 15 years. You just might see Chloe and Julian out on the field and MJ in the stands, wearing his Burma Bibas shirt and khaki shorts, cheering them on!
Uncle Fester is now Father Fester!
The baby has finally arrived! Fester and his wife Allison welcomed their first child to the family at 3:15 p.m. on Monday, October 10, 2011. It was a Columbus Day baby for the couple.
Hadley Antoinette Siciliano weighed 6 pounds and was 19 inches long at birth. She also had an Apgar score of 8, which is a scale used to assess the immediate health of a newborn and is considered a good score for a healthy baby. She was delivered via C-section.
As many fathers probably do now, Fester had a still camera in one hand and an HD video camera in the other to capture the magical moment that he will never forget. When asked if he cried during the delivery, he admitted that he didn't but said it was probably the most amazing thing he's experienced.
Baby Hadley is the first baby born to a regular morning show member since MJ and Michelle brought their son Julian into the world on July 4, 2004. Chloe was born in 2001. But Hadley won't be the last morning show birth. Froggy and his wife Kim are expecting a son in mid-December.
Fester News Nuggets
- Fester's myasthenia gravis (MG), which he was diagnosed and hospitalized with in June, is now apparently in remission. According to Fester, this means the symptoms of the disorder have subsided and are no longer visible as they were over the summer.
- The "Fester 400" from 2001 might be on again in 2011. Ten years ago, Fester ate himself up to a "lean" 402 pounds. He is back up to 330 pounds now after dropping down under 270. One reason for this might be the fact that he is taking prednisone, a steroid medication that can cause an increase in appetite and subsequent weight gain.
- Fester's baby girl is on the way in just a few weeks. But he doesn't know how to install a car seat. He recently bought a Britax car seat for his wife's new SUV but had no idea how to actually put it in the vehicle. MJ offered to help him since he has plenty of experience after having two kids.
Fester and Allison to have first child
Who would have ever pictured Fester as a daddy, holding a screaming baby in his arms that he and his wife produced? Probably far fewer people than those who could have pictured Froggy 2 as one. Fester openly admits he can hardly take care of himself.
But Bailey, he and his wife Allison’s Chihuahua, won’t be their only little one in the house come mid-October. The couple is expecting their first child, and it is a girl. Fester revealed the news on Monday, August 29, 2011 as the second “big announcement” of the year.
Fester and Allison have been married for over 10 years. In 2010, Fester brought up the fact that he and his wife were going through some issues with having a baby. Nothing was mentioned after that, and some listeners may have thought that they decided against becoming parents. But over a year later, they will be welcoming a new member to the family.
This good news comes after several major setbacks that Fester has experienced in his personal life this year. His father passed away at the age of 69 back in February due to liver failure. In June, Fester was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a rare autoimmune disease that landed him in the hospital for two weeks.
So now it’s time for Fester and Allison to decorate a room, get a crib ready, pull out a baby name book and finally enjoy one of the great miracles in life. You can only wonder if Fester’s daughter and Froggy’s son (expected in December) will be friends some day. Hey, maybe they’ll even get to know Chloe and Julian, and all four will get together and form their own morning radio show!
HELP BRING BACK THE OLD MJ MORNING SHOW!
As the webmaster who maintains this site, I have been urged by others to help spread the word about how MJ Morning Show listeners can show their support for the program to help Clear Channel management realize that the fans want the "old" format back with less music and more content.
Here are some actions you can take to help out:
- If you are on Facebook, go ahead and "like" the page called "We want the old MJ Morning Show Back." Click here to go directly to the page.
- Send a text message to 97720 saying that you don't like the new format and want the old format back. The crew is reading and saving every text.
- Send an e-mail to MJFeedback@clearchannel.com with a message stating that you aren't fond of all the music and want to hear more MJ and crew. This is the new designated e-mail address for all comments pertaining to this issue since the crew's inboxes have been overloaded with e-mail.
- Call the studio during the show (6-9 AM ET/5-8 AM CT) at 1-800-409-9393 and talk to one of the interns about how you are not liking what you are hearing.
- Post a message on the forum in the thread called "Changes to the show" and I will be passing along all of the posts to the crew.
- Sign this petition set up by a fan to show even more support through another outlet.
Trust me, the crew is not thrilled with the new changes. But the only way they will have any chance of going back to the old format is by showing management that listeners are not happy with what has happened. It was not the crew's choice to make the changes; they were basically forced to do so.
By showing your support through any or all of these methods, you might be able to influence the higher-ups at the company to bring back the MJ Morning Show format that we all know and love.
- Greg Lindberg
MJ Morning Show 3.0: Shorter and music-intensive
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 is a significant date in the history of the MJ Morning Show for a few reasons. On a positive note, it marks the fifth anniversary of Froggy's much-anticipated return to the program after a brief hiatus. On a much more disappointing note, it is the start of what MJ calls the "MJ Morning Show 3.0" - a shorter show filled with more music.
For the first time in its 17-year run, the show is now only three hours long. The 6-10 AM block has always been the traditional timeslot for most radio morning shows since the format was put to use decades ago. But MJ's show will now run from 6-9 AM ET, meaning 5-8 AM CT in St. Louis. If you aren't an early riser and listen to the show on Z107.7, you might not even realize that the show is still on the air.
Another big change is the addition of more music. When the show first signed on in 1994, it played a fair amount of music, sometimes 3 to 4 songs in a row. Over time, the crew gradually scaled back on the music to a point in the mid-2000s when they played no songs at all. But that changed dramatically in October 2009 when they started playing more music, including even more by August 2010. A brief cutback to the songs in March 2011 made the show "more listenable," as MJ put it. But now there is more music than actual show content, which is frustrating for listeners who only tune in to hear the crew banter back and forth and do funny bits. An occasional song here and there mixes things up and brings some variety to a broadcast. However, when it overtakes the broadcast, it alters the whole dynamic of the show.
During the Aug. 16 show, there were already complaints coming in from listeners on their Facebook fan page, text wall and phone lines (which MJ hinted at). The main reason for the change is due to more research done by people in Clear Channel's corporate offices showing that listeners want to hear music in the morning, not talk. It will be interesting to see how long this music-intensive format will last and if there is more negative feedback about the new changes. For now, just be glad that the MJ Morning Show is still on the air - in some form.
What is MJ saying?
MJ evidently left his microphone on for a few extra seconds while a song started playing. It sounds like he says he is thirsty and asks if anyone in the studio has a new Coke. Listen for yourself.
NOTE: This website is designed and maintaned by a fan of the MJ Morning Show, Greg Lindberg.