By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
"The chaos is normal," Kalb says, cueing up a reel-to-reel and racking a few carts while several staffers carve into a seven-layer cake on the counter behind him. He then rolls his chair over to the console, where he punches in the names of the callers on hold. "The people taking pictures of each other is not."
Hendrie, meanwhile, continues to accommodate his well-wishers after the show begins. From the outset, people take advantage of the news breaks and taped snippets to drop in and reminisce, proffer bottles of Moët, draw graffiti on the life-size cutout of Luis Miguel, and play with a rubber duckie that has been lynched with quarter-inch tape and has "Cox Enterprises, Lame Duck" written on it.
With all the extracurricular activity, Hendrie remains oddly focused. Perhaps because he let his departure intrude too much on the show all week, he seems determined that his swan song actually be funny. The day's dominant plot line involves WIOD GM Green consummating the sale of the station to Lowell "Bud" Paxson. Green explains that Paxson is going to write out a check for $13 million, and Green and the WIOD attorneys are going to take it to Publix to see if it's good. The transfer of funds does not go smoothly, much to the chagrin of "Bud Paxson" (whom Hendrie makes sound like Gomer Pyle with Down's syndrome).
Though Hendrie maintains that he wasn't forced out by the new ownership and Cox simply offered him a better gig at KFI in his native Los Angeles, it's difficult to imagine him toeing the company line for an aggressively Christian employer like Paxson. While a taped segment is rolling, he is asked about the yin-yang earring in his left earlobe. Although he is wearing a Taoist symbol, he explains, he's actually a Buddhist. Given that Hendrie says this from the chair where he prevaricates for a living, his assertion of faith in the Lotus Sutra is greeted with some skepticism.
"My girlfriend was a practicing Buddhist when I met her, and I went to meetings with her," he says. "It's not a religion that is god-oriented, it's a religion that is life-oriented and value-oriented, and I like that about it." He means it, Hendrie insists. "What I do on the air is shtick; this is real. My life has to be real."
This grounding seems to be helping him handle his last day with aplomb: The parade of personages, actual and invented, continues throughout the show. Brad "The Booger" Belmonte, the ultimate Buffalo Bills fan, takes a turn at the mike. Norman Kent, Hendrie's (real) attorney, arrives not only to say goodbye but to drop off some important paperwork pertaining to the Bryan Cox lawsuit. (The former Dolphin linebacker is suing Hendrie for defamation over sketches in which Hendrie pretended to be Cox and said, among other things, that he was a homosexual. The case is set for mediation October 15.)
Shortly thereafter, Rick Seiderman of rival WFTL-AM (1400) walks in and takes a seat in the studio. The real Rick Seiderman, not Hendrie doing his well-known exaggerated version of Seiderman's laconic delivery and l pronunciation problem. Hendrie and Seiderman take turns -- sometimes within the same sentence -- being Rick Seiderman debating Norman Kent. The discourse soon degenerates into Hendrie-Seiderman repeatedly calling Kent a "wibwuw" (liberal).
After answering a very small number of goodbye calls and playing some more recorded favorites, Hendrie returns to the Bud Paxson-bounced-his-check story line: While Paxson is across the street with his ATM card trying to withdraw cash, Larry King, there to witness the proceedings, goes berserk and garrotes Bob Green with a telephone cord. Green's dying gasps come as the final show enters its final hour.
Hendrie does not go quietly, even when he's not supposed to be on the air. During the 5:42 traffic report, he spontaneously resurrects Margaret from her watery grave. After yelling incoherently over the helicopter noise at reporter Steven J. Gray, she finally snaps, "I hope you crash!"
"You bitch!" Gray shouts. Then, in calmer voice, he addresses the bitch's creator: "Goodbye, Phil.