That Time I Got Kicked Off The Mic For Signing Off As A Porn Star | KNKX

That Time I Got Kicked Off The Mic For Signing Off As A Porn Star

Sep 22, 2018


My first job in broadcasting came in 1992, in Canton, Ohio, when someone decided that I should be the guy to read the morning announcements at GlenOak High School.

You know the announcements -- they play over the school’s PA system and update the student body on vital news, such as where to buy raffle tickets or what the cafeteria is serving for dessert.

Each day I’d tick down the list of announcements, and then sign off: “Those are the announcements, I’m Gabriel Spitzer, have a great day.”

Spirit day updates. Water polo scores.

“... be sure to wear them to the pep rally to show your Eagle pride. Those are the announcements. I’m Gabriel Spitzer, have a great day.”

To an adolescent, aspiring broadcaster, this all felt pretty square. It didn’t leave much room to, you know, shine. I did theater and liked attention and fancied myself a bit of a comedian.

So I began, very subtly, to spice things up … starting with that sign-off.

“... Again, Science Olympiad will meet in the gym today. Those are the announcements. Gabriel Spitzer’s the name. Have a Great Day.”

“... please join us as we bid a fond farewell to Mr. Reese. Those are the announcements. I’m still Gabriel Spitzer, have a great day.”

“... if you can’t get enough of vocal jazz, auditions are Thursday during lunch. Those are the announcements. I’m … guess who? Gabriel Spitzer.  Have a great day.”

Comic genius, right? I could just imagine the snickers in all the classrooms each morning. What a cut-up, that Spitzer is. But that wasn’t enough: I wanted real laughs. I wanted to stretch out in the medium and explore my instrument.

So one morning, I read through the list of announcements … with the debate team schedule changes and the student council election reminders … and then got to the end.

And before I knew it, I signed off:

“Those are the announcements. I’m John Holmes, have a great day.”

Now, if you don’t know who John Holmes is, well, this is a family show and you can go Google him on your own time. Maybe not at work. Or around kids. Suffice to say, he was an adult film actor renowned for his … proportions.

But there was no Google in 1992. Either you knew Mr. Holmes’ work, or you didn’t. And as the day wore on, this fascinating divide emerged: I learned which teachers had never heard of the guy, and which knew exactly who he was. I got a conspiratorial grin from the drama teacher. An assistant principal was perplexed. My chemistry teacher was incredulous.

I started out my morning pretty pleased with myself. But over the course of the school day, as I took in the shocked reactions, it dawned on me that I had done something reckless. I began to feel the blood rising to my cheeks.

By the time I was summoned to the office that afternoon, I was ready to tender my resignation even before they asked for it. For what it’s worth the vice principal wasn’t mad, more resigned.

That first brush with regulation of the public airwaves left me feeling deflated, and I didn’t touch a mic again for many years.

There was a valuable lesson in this, a decade and a half before the advent of social media: Bad choices made in public are tough to take back, even if you are just a kid.

Which brings us to the present: Today on Sound Effect, our theme is the Folly of Youth … stories of the mistakes we make as part of growing up.

Those are the announcements. I’m Gabriel Spitzer, have a great day.