Coast to Coast AM producer and call screener Tom Danheiser shared behind-the-scenes details as our special guest in Streamlink's(1) Live Chat on Tuesday night. Below are excerpts from the conversation; members can view the entire transcript(2).
Ok I just gotta ask this Tom, what's it like when JC calls?
JC makes the energy in my booth explode.
Tom, have you ever been a DJ? It seems that so many radio guys start that way.
Yes Jane. I was actually a big band DJ for 3 years.
How long have you done this? How long have you been with C2C?
Hi Light. I have been with C2C about 4 years but have been in radio for about 14 years.
Can you give an example of a call you wouldn't allow on air?
I can without a doubt. A caller will occasionally call and state his opinion and then use a curse word. He will tell me that he will not use that word on air; however, if he uses it with me that means he might slip when on air. That is a call I would not allow.
Have you got ONE story of a call that you just couldn't keep a straight face with? Something to tell us what the torturous fun of your job is like? ;-)
Yes Bret. A guy called in and said he was a doctor that was off duty leaving the hospital when another Doc needed help delivering a baby. He went to help and swore to me that he delivered a natural clown baby complete with big feet and nose. I was laughing so hard that I just had to let him tell his story.
What's the scariest caller you've ever had and you didn't let come on the air?
The scariest caller I remember was a women that proceeded to tell me about several operations she had and how she received different messages with each operation. She was very graphic and said just absolutely gross things that are not fit for the air.
What led you to do c2c?
Well, when the program was brought to L.A., I was already working for the network and was offered the job.
What the heck IS the "wild card" line??? I've always wondered. No one ever explains it.
Good Question. The Wildcard line is exactly that, a wildcard.....luck of the draw. If you get on that line and you are waiting, George can go to a Wildcard line and you might still be waiting; he doesn't know which Wildcard line he picks................All luck of the draw, so it is fair.
Frater Annuit Coeptis
So tell us what goes on behind the scenes, Tom. Give us some good dirt on pranks you all play on each other.
Well Frater, I think the funniest "prank" I have done is either when I changed the message on George's Yes Man(3) or when we surprised him with Morgus in the studio. Not that the Morgus surprise was funny but it made George happy and was a fun night.
Tom, If you didn't already, can you explain how call screening works?
Yes PWEB I can. We look for the best questions and opinions that will make the show fun, entertaining, thought provoking and great listening. You all are the smartest listening audience I have heard and really have great questions. Most everyone that calls gets on....with exceptions.
What is it like to have George Noory as friend and business associate?
I was hoping this question would come up. George Noory is one, if not the, best friend and business associate I have ever dealt with. Believe me when I say that I have worked with a bunch of air talent in my career and I can honestly say that George is the real deal.
I've worked with a lot of talented people in the entertainment business. The one thing that the BEST have in common is that they make a very tough job look easy.
You are 100% right Story. It is not all fun and games and it is very important that all go smoothly.
Tom so you really do a little interviewing yourself before you let the caller on?? How long does one have to hang on before they get on live?? I have never been able to call in but sure try to get on the chat!!
Well Oracle. There is no certain time a person hangs on. I was saying earlier that it is all luck of the draw and that is exactly what it is. However, that being said, we don't like people to hang on forever.
What was the saddest call you ever received?
Well Witchmomma, I think the saddest call I ever got was one from a lady who was dying of cancer. She had such a great attitude and was so into the show. I felt really bad.
Frater Annuit Coeptis
Tell us about Dimitri the "Devil Channeler" Tom...George said you "high-tailed it outta there."
Frater-- Dimitri had an ability to creep you out at the least. I guess it depends on how strongly you believe in evil being able to overcome, but man I'm kinda glad that is over with.