[Update, March 4, 5:45 p.m. Woody and Rizzuto have posted the follow-up call. Check it out here!]
Last week, I found and blogged a clip of an on-air break-up between a couple named Chris and Ashley, which originally aired on the Point (105.7 FM) before Valentine's Day. The short post exploded on the Internet on Friday and on through the weekend -- and as of now, has been streamed nearly 800,000 times.
According to Woody - one-half of the morning show team of Woody and Rizzuto, which aired the clip -- the rise to viral-audio status was slow and steady: The post took a week to get to 100,000 streams - and then received 100,000 a day for the next two days.
Chris is scheduled to be on Woody and Rizzuto's show tomorrow morning, to update listeners on what happened next. But only via a phone interview. "I was trying to get him to come in, and he's like, 'I am not coming in,'" Woody says. "He's like, 'No way, because then people will see me, they could be waiting for me outside the station.' It's gotten crazy, man -- he's gotten threats." Chatting yesterday afternoon after his show, Woody answered some questions about the call.
Annie Zaleski: First off, I cannot believe the amount of attention -- and shitstorm -- our blog caused. Woody: I know, it's crazy, right? When the call happened initially, it was automatic - it's one of those topics that everybody has a very strong opinion one way or the other. When that first happened, it was just like, 'Oh my God.' The amount of email and the people going to the website looking for the [clip]... We initially did not even podcast it, but I was getting bombarded with emails and stuff. I had my producer go back and pull it real quick and throw it up there. It's crazy.
The biggest question/statement I've seen in our comments section and everywhere: A lot of people think it's fake. Just like everything else on the Internet, I guess. I saw that too. It's so funny: you see how it is if you're online at all. Any YouTube video, the comments you can always count on - "fake," someone going, "fail!" or somebody with some kind of racial comment. It could be puppies playing with string , and it's like, "Yup, typical black behavior." It's like, "What? What does that have to do with anything?"
I understand - we have people call in for this stupid feature we do every Monday, called "My Weekend Sucked." People call in with stories about why their weekend was terrible, and we let listeners vote on which one they think is the worst. Whoever has the worst weekend story gets something. Some of them seem pretty crazy. [Yesterday] a woman called in and talked about how her house burned down on Friday. She didn't sound all that bent up about it, but sure as shit, we did the research, we called the town where the fire happened, she gave us the address - and sure as shit.
Or some guy called in a couple weeks ago, like, "Yeah, I went to go pick up this stripper friend of mine on the east side, and I got held up at gunpoint." He had this crazy story - and sure as shit, we had cops calling and saying, "Yup, that's dead to real. What's the guys' name?" We told the cop the guy's name, and he said, "Yup, that's the guy." I don't think people realize - you have to vet things like this. You can't take things at face value. People cheat all the time. You see about revenge stories and stuff like that all of the time. It just so happened that this guy was already planning to dump her anyway. But he's a listener of the show and knows this is the kind of thing that we'd be into. People think that just because we're a "guy's guy" kind of show that we're just all "guys stuff," that we would somehow be on the bandwagon of, "Yeah, go out and get yours, dude, go bang these whores." But we're not like that at all. I think he just had a stupid idea, maybe not even thinking that we would take him up on it, and we did.
How did it come about originally? Did he just call you guys? We were going to this Valentine's Day segment, basically about how Valentine's Day is a bullshit kind of thing, it's only for women, guys don't really care about Valentine's Day. I was actually going into the segment, and the phone screener's like, "Dude, just take this call. This guy's got an idea." He was telling the phone screener off the air what his idea was. We went to the call. The part that's on the Twiturm file is the second part when we came back from break. It was a whole initial call when he first called in, where we were finding out the story as he's telling it to us.
We took a break, and we came back, I had to get the phone number from him, so we cold call her. It unfolded. You had that one little piece that's up on the site, but there's actually a little bit more to it. There's some random guy calling in. Have you heard from either Ashley or Chris since? I've not heard from her - I hadn't heard from her before anyway [laughs] But I doubt I'll hear from her now. I did reach out to Chris, and I've only talked to him over email. In a way, I feel bad for the guy. We're going to have him on on Wednesday as a call-in. He wants to kind of set the record straight. He's so freaked out. I'm used to people having negative comments about an opinion or whatever, just from being on the air, people bitch about anything, really. This guy is kind of freaked out, because there are some people who are so pissed at him. Like, "What an asshole, what a piece of shit, you're gonna burn in hell, karma" -- this, that and the other thing. He's like, "Whoa, what did I do? She cheated on me." It is kind of weird.
That's why I think people thought it was fake - they weren't swearing, she didn't hang up. It's like, "I don't know, what would you do in that situation?" She did hang up in the end. I think she was so caught off guard. He knew he was on the air - she knew she was, too. From an FCC standpoint, if somebody calls into us, we can screw with them all day, but if we're calling somebody else and putting them on the air, they have to know up-front that they're going on the air. Which is why I told her at the beginning: "Hey, it's woody and Rizz, you're on the air right now, you know that you're on the air right now? You sure you understand?" You have to, from a legal standpoint -- otherwise you can get in pretty big trouble for that.