Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Traffic Report

FM radio call-in shows in the states are so hard to call into. Sometimes the prize is pretty nice, and since there are a lot of people listening, you almost have to have superhuman telephone-calling capabilities in order to win anything.

None of that is true in American Samoa. There's a Samoan station or an English station, or there are a number of Christian music stations. But there is really only one FM top 40 music station--KHJ.

Mike and I listen to KHJ every morning, since there's nothing else really to listen to (my apologies to John, Nana and Sene). Whether its the music, the really ridiculous Samoan commericals, or the SUPER exciting (?!) morning radio contests, our morning drive to work is just filled with excitement (especially during the "Seven o'clock Honk," which is a self-proclaimed "celebration of love and happiness").

But I'm not really sure that any of the contests are worth your time. For example, a few days ago KHJ gave away $9.30 and a $10.00 phone card to the winner of the "Bumper Bucks" contest. Nine dollars? For the other contests, movie trivia and the traffic report, the prize is even worse--a few bags of Bongos (cheese or chicken flavored crackers), a container of Milo (a drink sort of like Ovaltine) and some baby wipes. Every morning I am left thinking "who would ever get excited over THAT stuff?"

So yesterday morning I called in to the traffic report while we were driving. This is like the most ridiculous of the three contests, because there is only one major road in AS and so even if you called in and told the station that there was a traffic jam on AS Highway 1 it's not like drivers could take the freeway or the belt route to get around the jam. They HAVE to take Hwy 1.

So I'm telling John that the traffic is flowing smoothly past IBM Laundromat and Mike is making snarky laughs in the background because he can't believe that WE got into the dumbest radio contest ever. Heck, the morning host even knew my last name when I called in--the palagi community is so small! I even got in a wisecrack about another friend of ours who drives around a girl car. In the end, though, I had to ask, farcically, "so, do I get the Bongos?"

I was then, and am now considered, an instant radio celebrity.

And last night as we drove to a dinner party, we stopped by the radio station so I could get loaded up with a disgusting bagload of Bongos and Milo. So now that I am in possession of the prize, has my perception of KHJ call-in contests changed? Am I now a big fan of the chump-change money contests and the Bongos? Have I been converted to the gospel of radio voyeurism? Might I someday--as one of our friends has done--go on the radio to show off my new mullet hairstyle and then go back on the radio to get it chopped off?


p.s. - I don't really have a mullet hairstyle.