The year 2022 was the third calendar year in which the second incarnation of the MJ Morning Show was on the air since returning to terrestrial radio in October of 2020. And it was certainly an eventful 12 months for the crew and its program.
Early in the year, we were introduced to Shorty Shane, a 3-foot, 5-inch little person with a huge social media following. MJ met him at a restaurant in St. Petersburg and invited him to come into the studio. This caused some jealousy on the part of Dave the Dwarf, the longtime little person on the show since the late 1990s, who thought Shane was invading on his space. However, MJ made it clear that both men could coexist on the show. The difference is that Shorty Shane is over 20 years younger and in much better health than Dave.
Shorty Shane’s first big stunt on the show was when Fester took him to a local laundromat and put him in a dryer to shoot a video. This brought on a huge to-do between the Beasley Media Group leadership team and the laundromat owner, as well as a visit from the police.
In May, Kyle “Coop” Cooper bid farewell to the MJ Morning Show, signaling the first major staff change on the program. The young producer said he was no longer excited to work in radio, especially with his early hours of working on a morning radio show. He decided to take a desk job in the technology industry. Casey, a part-time producer at the Beasley complex, was brought in to fill Coop’s shoes. Unfortunately, he only lasted two days on the show before quitting. Ultimately, one of MJ’s producers for The Schnitt Show named Andrew became the permanent replacement and has managed to stick it out in the producer’s booth.
Also in the springtime, the show began a new format with more talk time and less music. This included a “long chunk of the MJ Morning Show.” This segment of the program runs from about 7:20 to 8:40 a.m. each morning with no interruptions. Such a segment is unheard of in radio these days, and it is certainly a unique selling point of the Q105 morning show. It also harkens back to the later years of the old MJ Morning Show when most of the 7 a.m. hour was entirely talk time.
In August, MJ and the crew unveiled their first-ever “Tablet Tag” contest. They partnered with Team Logic IT, a sponsor of the show, to give away 20 Microsoft Surface Pro tablets. They then brought the same contest back in November to give out another 20 of the popular portable computers. Listeners had to be a certain number caller and identify the name of the previous winner, hence the “tag” name. The contest proved to be wildly successful as the show was inundated with phone calls and new listeners.
This year, we also saw the “retirement” of DJ Skrizzle, a character Froggy had played in which he would play a recorded song about something controversial on the show and then perform a stunt in the studio. Froggy claimed his body has reached an age where it can no longer handle these physically harmful skits. However, he did introduce “Eight Bit Hit,” “Back That Song Up,” and some other game shows involving interaction with callers under the name Hal Herman.
The year would not have been complete without coverage of two tropical weather systems. In September, it was Hurricane Ian that tore through southwest Florida and caused significant damage south of the Tampa Bay area. In November, Tropical Storm Nicole made a rare, late-season appearance. Longtime meteorologist Denis Phillips was a tremendous resource to the MJ Morning Show, spending over an hour with MJ on the phone several times. It was Nicole that actually brought on a power outage to the Q105 transmitter and the backup power source during the morning show, taking down the 104.7 FM signal completely. As a result, the crew got to only stream a good portion of the show one morning and were able to perform in an uncensored environment. Of course, this included plenty of complaining from MJ.
To close out the year, MJ made a big deal about his contract being up on December 31, 2022. His biggest beef during his Q105 tenure is the size of the studio. He also is unhappy with the fact that the crew members have no line of sight with each other because of how it is set up and how hot it always is. He indicated that he was presented with a new contract offer by Ron “DeCastrate” DeCastro, the new market manager for Beasley’s Tampa Bay radio stations. The contract included the promise of a new studio by the end of Q2 of 2023, but he did not specify the length of the actual contract. Before leaving for vacation, MJ apparently had not signed the new contract. We will have to wait and see whether he does return in January, something that is a high likelihood in spite of the bit he has made out of the situation.