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The Day Wankus Insulted Britney Spears- final

Porn Valley- I had a lengthy chat with KSEX’s Wankus this week and we covered loads of biographical territory. But the part I wanted to post for the weekend is the story that specifically brought him to KSEX. Wankus, a deejay, had been in and out of a bunch of radio gigs and, for awhile, toured with the Platters where he was the first white guy to play [keyboard] in the band.

“But I missed doing the radio stuff,” he says. “I loved being on the road, but I missed radio.” He got a call from a place in New Orleans that wanted him to do a morning show. “The price was nowhere what I wanted but it was good enough to live in and worth a relocation,” he says. “It was awesome. Wankus in the Morning. The town really accepts you if you’re loyal and nice to the town; if you respect the town, all that shit. I had a great year there.” Wankus brought the station he worked at to a No. 2 spot but was cock blocked by a rap station. “I had a great run,” he adds. “A year into it I pissed off Britney Spears.” According to Wankus, he had Spears on his show and told her to her face that she wasn’t so hot without her makeup. Wankus notes that New Oleans is Spears’ hometown, so his casual observations didn’t play too well with the local gentry.

Spears kind of took it all with a grain of salt, but a record company began putting pressure on him to apologize or it would pull promotions. “Radio’s not payola anymore,” says Wankus. “So promotions are everything. The radio station then told me you apologize or we’re going to cancel your contract.” Wankus went on the next day and apologized for saying that Spears looks ugly without makeup. What made matters equally embarrassing in the folderol is that Spears’ family lives in New Orleans. “Her mom was listening, her sister was listening,” says Wankus. “You know how I am. It was really in fun. It was a throwaway line. If you listened to it in the context of the show it wasn’t a big deal. But I’m not going to cower. This is who I am. I’m the wiseguy-guy. I’m not going to apologize to Britney. So I went on the air and apologized to my audience for her looking ugly without makeup. Fired. Immediately.”

Wankus said that’s when he started realizing that radio was no longer for him. “It was getting too corporate; everybody’s so scared of this and that. They’re all worried about advertisers. In the old days of Stern, it worked. But those days are gone. If a new Stern comes in, he doesn’t have a chance. It’s not going to happen again. People are too scared of lawsuits.” One more fling with radio brought him to a national show in Dallas, called Radio Girls. It was heard in D.C., New York, L.A., Detroit and Dallas. Wankus was flown in weekly along with three girls to do the show on Saturday night. One of his co-hosts was Gretchen Massey who’s now aired on KLSX 97.1 in Los Angeles.

“She was on KSEX way back when, when we were friends,” he states. But Massey, according to Wankus, pulled a weasel maneuver on him to land the 97.1 gig. “That’s why we’re no longer friends.” According to Wankus, he’s still owed $30,000 by the Dallas show in a situation that went subsequently bad. “I was still doing bullshit radio-stuff like parodies but, basically, I was done. I was finished with it. I didn’t want to do mainstream radio anymore.”

He returned to LA and landed job in the TV show Transformers with Fox. “It was a bunch of different acting job. It was cool but I wasn’t paying the bills like I wanted to.” Because he loves kids, though he can’t have them himself, Wankus started coaching Little League. “We tried when I was married, and I tested a bunch of times. Everything works normal but there’s no fuckin’ fish in the sea.” Wankus also thought this would be a great way of spending time with kids. “I could help them learn a sport and have some fun,” he says. “At the end of the day it was perfect- I handed them back to their parents. I liked that a lot.”

Wankus imagined that a lot of people probably thought this as being weird. “Here’s a guy that doesn’t have any kids and he’s coacking Little League,” Wankus laughs. “He must be a fuckin’ molester. But I was real careful. I made sure that nobody left me alone with the kids. I used to have parents drops their kids off to practice. I was like a babysitter for them and they would leave. People thought this was weird- the first year. Then when they realized the guy’s a pretty good guy and he’s a good coach, it was different.”

Wankus remembers little kids asking him to take them to the bathroom. “I used to coach six and seven year-olds. I would say, no. I would go to a parent and say, hey, can you take him to the bathroom? I never wanted anybody to say anything. They look at you already weird.” Wankus remembers coaching one little kid who came to practice with his mother- a woman of enormous chest girth. “Ridiculously huge,” laughs Wankus knowing the punch line to his story. “Me and all these coaches were, like, my God, look at this lady. And her answering machine said she was an actress. What kind of acting does this girl do? It turns out it’s Elizabeth Starr and I’m coaching her kid. The kid was a really sweet kid.” About a year later, Wankus coached the son of the late Mike Rick who owned KSEX.

“Halfway through the season he takes me aside and says I understand you have a radio background. I bought this naughty little radio station, KSEX radio, can you make it sound like a real radio station? I said, yeah, but I’m done with that shit. I’m sick of corporate and answering to people. If I did it, it would be just me. He said you can do whatever you want. I might throw you some suggestion but you don’t have to take them. You’re the man. You’re in charge.”

It didn’t take Wankus much convincing to accept. “Here was a regular salary- rent paid. It wasn’t a big salary but enough to pay my bills.”

In the beginning, Wankus did every show on the air but with a different co-host. “Then we got Lorrainiac to come on. She came on relatively fast.” I mention to Wankus that Lorrainiac’s show is an insane block of time and I’m wondering how the hell she keeps that kind of pace. Wankus mentions that “Rainy” is a former broadcast person as well who did weekend shows in LA. “More so serious stuff- not that crazy shit she does here,” he says. “But she gets it. With the porn stars, it takes me a lot of reminding and training to teach them that radio has a certain clock. No matter what your personality is, there’s certain things you have to do at certain times to keep an audience- teasing things and getting people warmed up, free promoting and recapping for the new listeners.”

Also in the early stages of KSEX development, Jacklyn Lick came on board. “Which was really cool,” Wankus states. “Because at that point I had never even met a porn star except for Elizabeth Starr.” Wankus thinks he might have seen Lick’s website somewhere and that’s how they connected. “I sent her an e-mail, hey, we just started the station would you be interested in being a part of it. Next thing you know she took a full time gig, Monday through Friday. She was great. She was really good.”

The station began accumulating more porn luminaries including Diana DeVoe and Samantha Sterlyng. To this day, Wankus swears Sterlyng was the best co-host he had at any radio station. “She was phenomenal,” he says. “We had this gel- where we knew each other; we complimented each other. She wouldn’t step on me, I wouldn’t step on her unless we had to. It was such a perfect match. We had a great chemistry.”

At one point, Wankus was broadcasting three hours a night, five nights a week and Sterlyng was there every night. “And we weren’t paying big money,” he points out. “We we’re paying worse then than we do now. It was hard to get someone to make that kind of commitment.” If he had his druthers, Wankus would pay Sterlyng to come back and be a full time host. “The problem is, off the air she was a depressed person,” he adds. “She hated people. She was always angry. What happens is you’re trying to put on a fun show and you have to deal with her an hour before the show bitching and whining and complaining about things. It’s no big deal once in awhile but it’s all the fuckin’ time and it brings you down. I was strained from all her problems.”

According to what Wankus is saying, Sterlyng was fuckin’ around behind her husband’s back. “She was a problem kid and a heavy pot smoker which brings you down if you do it all the time, day and night. She couldn’t go on the air without having another hit.” Wankus wound up fighting Sterlying over inconsistencies.

“She started saying I can’t make it, I’m home sick. Then someone would call me and say, hey, I just shot Samantha, sorry she missed her show. Just lies and shit. The thing is you have to be consistent. If you’re trying to build an audience you got to give them what you’re telling them you’re going to give them. The problem with most of these Internet companies is they don’t realize- everyone thinks it’s easy to start a radio station like KSEX. Just plug in a mike and go. They don’t realize that some of the basic things are delivering what you promise. This is why I freak out when somebody flakes. You’re not letting me down. You’re letting the fans down that are tuning in. Those are people you’ve made a commitment to. So when Samantha started flakin’ I had to get rid of her.”

Wankus then brought in Heather Lynn to replace Sterlyng. He considers Lynn a very good co-host, as well, although they fought a lot. “She had trouble with direction,” he recalls. “I had done real radio for 12 years and I was trying to make KSEX sound like a real radio station and here’s a girl who wants to do her own thing. Don’t get me wrong. She was really good and fun to work with but we bumped heads a lot. I think she had a drug collapse in the end. She started falling down again. But now she’s happy, pregnant and lives in Texas with a man. I think she might have had the baby now.”

Knowing that he’s dealing with porn which has its own game and set of rules, Wankus, rather than have a steady co-host, realized he had to have a number of them. “It’s so hard because you have a different radio show every night,” he states. “No matter who I am, I’m going to sound different with a different person. The show has a different presentation. If that was real radio, that would never work. The ratings would suck. People tune in feeling they need to be part of a family. But in porn radio, people want variety, fresh meat. They want to see new titties. I cowered to that to make it work and it has worked.

“It’s an interesting process taking this from a few listeners to thousands of listeners and trying to keep it all working and keep it business,” he adds. “People don’t realize how much money we spend to keep that business. People go, oh KSEX. A bunch of cheap motherfuckers. They don’t pay the girls.” Wankus points out that its KSEX’s sister company who keeps it alive. “We owe her over a $1 million for KSEX. I know that. For four years. It’s a major thing.”

Acknowledging that the KSEX hosts are paid $20 an hour, Wankus says 97.1 is paying less. “You get $10-$15 an hour.” As a bonus, KSEX throws in the members area for the girls’ own sites. “Which is why most girls do it,” he says. “Live content in your members area every night. So when your fans join your site, they can see all the KSEX shows. Which is really a good deal. That’s got a lot of value to people who run websites.”

Wankus is also quick to point out that you can bring a porn star to KSEX, but you can’t necessarily train them in the image and likeness of the call letters.

“Some of them [the peejays] I just have to be thankful that they show up,” he concedes. “And that’s the other hard part about being a program director at this kind of station. You’re dealing with people doing what they don’t do. I’m trying to make cocksuckers into mike talkers. Some people have some skills like Kylie Ireland. They could really be great hosts, but some there’s nothing I can ever do to fix their show. And right now since we’re not paying top dollar and on satellite, or in a place where I can start firing everybody, I have to be thankful that they even come. If you remember the whole Tera Patrick-thing, I’m friends with Tera. I think Tera’s awesome, but it got to the point where Tera wasn’t showing up so much. I needed to get rid of her because it was pissing off the audience. It was embarrassing us. It was making her fans look down on her. But I was holding on to her because it was Tera Patrick. Having that name on the marquee helps. But it got to the point where it was hurting us. I finally told her, look, I’m dumping your show for the sake of you because you’re losing fans over this. People are mad at you. That’s not why you’re doing this kind of show. You do this kind of show so that fans can connect with you.”

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