Pete Salant
Pete Salant


Howard Hoffman
Howard Hoffman


Randy West, colorized
Randy West


Russ Famous Amos DiBello
Russ "Famous Amos" DiBello

Just about everyone in radio has heard "NINE! The Ultimate Radio Format," the parody of music radio my colleagues Howard Hoffman, Randy West, Russ "Famous Amos" DiBello and I produced back when we were baby DJs. We were four barely-out-of-our-teens radio kids who got together in a production studio one night in 1974 and ended up producing a funny and accurate satire that somehow subsequently cloned copies of itself like a pre-PC computer virus.

   Over the next 25 years, each of us followed our own path up through the radio industry, largely losing contact with each other for a dozen or more years at a time but each always knowing what the other was up to. Then in August, 1998, during a telephone reunion, Russ reminded me the 25th anniversary of "NINE!" was imminent. One of us came up with the concept of a sequel, Russ wrote the first draft and e-mailed it to me, and I let it sit on my hard drive for nearly a year.

Fast-forward one year to September 9, 1999 (9/9/99!)

Entirely via e-mail, all four now forty-something founding fathers of "NINE!" reunite.

   Fast-forward one year to September 9, 1999 (9/9/99!). Entirely via e-mail, all four now forty-something founding fathers of "NINE!" reunite. Howard is Production Director of KABC and Radio Disney in Los Angeles and is a successful free lance voiceover and cartoon voice talent. Randy is a popular game show announcer, also living in L.A., in a different area code from Howard, which might as well be as distant as a foreign country. As "Famous Amos," Russ is the 6-10PM star on AMFM's "Jammin' 105" in New York City. I'm doing what I've done since 1983, programming and management consulting to radio stations around the US, since 1993 from here in Virginia Beach, Virginia. We agree we'd like to produce a commemorative sequel, one that would be as timely and accurate as was the original 25 years ago.

   But being so far flung, how would we get together? Simple. While the state of the art in 1974 was "four guys in a production studio," we felt we should employ the cutting edge technology of today: cyberproduction! In short order, Randy wrote a second draft based on Russ's concept and script, we batted it back and forth through several revisions, and I was 'elected' to be in charge of production in my copious spare time. Six weeks later, we completed "Ninety NINE!" and NONE OF US EVER SAW THE OTHER! In fact, we engaged in little or no telephone contact during production. Howard, Randy and Russ did inspired improvisational comedy and simply e-mailed their parts to me! I reprised my role as narrator and produced the complete work on airplanes, in hotel rooms and in my office, all on my handy notebook computer.
Please note that STEREO requires TWICE the bandwidth of mono for comparable FIDELITY. Unless you have ISDN, DSL, or a faster connection, the MONAURAL file will sound significantly better.
Ninety Nine Now
TOP STREAM 16KHz (32.1 Kbps)

PLAY Ninety Nine (11:36)

TOP STREAM 16KHz (64.7 Kbps)

PLAY Ninety Nine (11:36)

After many re-writes and retakes we "molded, refined, honed, crafted, and pulled out of left field" a funny and biting look into the future of radio in the new century. It was a real thrill for all of us.

   My partners and I know our original production of "NINE!" can't be topped, but we think you'll enjoy what you'll hear as you listen to what we've done a quarter of a century later.

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