A Radio Moment: Pranking LL Cool J

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Recipe for a classic radio moment: Take one announcer and a famous guest, broadcast them to everyone in range. Saute with interview questions, seasoned to taste. Bring to a small boil and add another famous guest calling in as a prank. Tune in, listen, and join the communal experience.

Spontaneity on the air is a large facet of radio’s character, an assertion that is given weight by a recent prank call to Tony Touch’s “Toca Tuesday” radio show on the Sirius network just the other day.

LL Cool J was a guest on the show, as well as the unwitting recipient of a well executed jape when fellow hip-hop artist Eminem (Marshal Mathers) called up as “Jason from Miami” and challenged him to a game of “Name That Tune.” MTV has a recording of the conversation here.

After rapping some of Cool J’s lyrics, getting him to name the tunes on the basis of a few lines only, “Jason” asks if he could share a few lines of one of his own tunes. Barely a few words in you can hear the uproar in the station as both Cool J and the radio host realize who “Jason” really is.

The ensuing conversation is something wish I could have heard live when it happened as the two legends made plans to meet up and dropped tidbits about their current projects — a topic of especial interest to Eminem fans as he has been on hiatus for over a year now).

“Listen, man, you got this relationship with Dre. You’re cool with 50, so when are we gonna hang out? I got cable at my house, and the game is on.” -Eminem via MTV.com

So what does this have to do with the future of radio? The human element, that’s what. If you’ve listened to the recording linked above you can feel the draw of being part of an intimate interaction. When LL Cool J extends his condolences to Eminem for a personal tragedy, it is a heartwarming moment. A fantastic example of listeners sharing an amazing moment through the community of radio.

That shared experience is one of the fundamental underpinnings of radio and its place in our lives. It is my opinion that the spate of reality TV is partially driven by a desire to emulate this form of shared experience, although the efforts often seem to be staged spontaneity.

As humans, we are social creatures. This is the driving force behind the explosion of social networking applications that have sprouted across the Internet. It is also responsible for many people’s feelings of attachment to a particular DJ or talk radio host.

If an Eminem / LL Cool J collaboration ends up occurring, this is the moment that will be pointed to as the cause.

Photo courtesy of stuttermonkey, used and remixed under its Creative Commons license

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