The New York Times has a graceful obituary for Steve Post, talk radio host at WNYC-FM and before that for Pacifica station WBAI in New York City. I listened to Post endlessly on ‘BAI in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and like many others I read his book Playing in the FM Band: A Personal Account of Free Radio (pdf version here).
Some will squirm at my bringing this up, but I can’t resist reminiscing about Post’s Saturday night show The Outside and his famous call-in discussions with an anonymous listener who came to be characterized as “The Enema Lady.” “She had a list of topics to discuss,” Post recalled in his autobiography, “and proceeded to plunge” [insert chuckle here] “right into them. All were at least vaguely anally oriented, and they culminated in a cross-referenced list of scatological passages from the Bible.”
These discussions gradually morphed into dedicated conversations about enema use, for which, it became clear, Post’s call-in guest was an evangelist. “Listener response to the Enema Lady was overwhelming and decisive,” Post wrote:
“Many could be not believe that she was for real, but those who did reacted in no uncertain terms—they either loved her or hated her. Some cancelled their subscriptions to the station, and a few even threatened to (and did) complain to the Federal Communications Commission; others sought desperately to find out who she was and make contact with her—she was their teacher, school nurse, or neighborhood nut, and I must have been asked ten thousand times if she was a put-on.”
Post was, of course, accused of broadcasting in bad taste, and offered this response in his defense:
“In the end (you will pardon the expression), I believe the Enema Lady’s frank and good-humored revelations were a positive force in encouraging others to participate later in more serious radio discussions of their life styles. Certainly, it must be said, she set an on-the-air standard for ‘letting it all hang out’.”
Steve Post, 1944-2004, rest in peace.
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