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Ron and Fez

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The Ron and Fez Show is an American radio talk show hosted by Ron Bennington and Fez "Marie" Whatley.

After a long popular run in Tampa, Florida, and others in New York City, and Washington, D.C., Ron and Fez are now heard on Sirius XM Radio's The Opie & Anthony Channel, located on XM channel 103, and Sirius channel 206. The show airs from 11am until 3pm ET, with encore airings Monday through Saturday from 1am to 5am ET. The show is also available for download from Audible.com.

History Edit

Ron & Ron Edit

In the mid-1980s, stand-up comedian Ron Bennington joined Ron Diaz to create a wildly popular and raunchy morning radio program, The Ron & Ron Show, at Tampa Bay's WYNF-FM, known as 95YNF. The show had huge ratings success and Ron & Ron then partnered with their agent Ross Reback to form The Ron & Ron Radio Network to own and syndicate the programming. The show's final broadcast for WYNF was on March 12, 1993. Within thirty days, Reback had successfully negotiated a deal for the newly formed network to launch on three radio stations in Miami, Orlando, and Jacksonville, FL with another approximately dozen markets soon following (including a new, more lucrative deal in Tampa). Fez Whatley along with other cast regulars "Fast Eddie", Billy "The Phone Freak", and "Flipper" all made the show a wild and irreverent daily adventure. The Ron & Ron Show regularly interviewed celebrity guests and Ron & Ron made national headlines after engaging in a screaming match with apparently inebriated actor Don Johnson (Miami Vice, Nash Bridges) which was highly chronicled in the press, on many TV entertainment news shows, and was featured in People Magazine and on Inside Edition amongst many others.

Ron Diaz's wife Debbie was diagnosed with AIDS in the early 1990s and Diaz began periodically missing broadcasts to care for her. Debbie Diaz died in November 1995. Ross Reback successfully negotiated a divestiture of The Ron & Ron Radio Network through a sale to Paxson Communications Corp., then a publicly traded company headed by Lowell W. Bud Paxson, the co-founder and former president of Home Shopping Network (HSN). At the time, Paxson Communications owned a large number of radio properties and was the largest owner of TV stations in the country. Ron Diaz announced his departure on-air from The Ron & Ron Show in early 1997 as Paxson prepared to relocate it from the network’s studios in St. Petersburg, FL to one in Hollywood, FL. Under Paxson and without Diaz the show floundered, and on September 29, 1997 after a successful 11 year run (the last few months of which featured several replacement hosts, all of whom took the name "Ron" in an attempted replacement of Diaz). The Ron & Ron Show was promptly canceled when Clear Channel Radio purchased the radio division of rightsholder, Paxson Communications, and opted not to continue the show. Whatley also briefly co-hosted the Hooters-on-the-Radio show with Brenda Lee (aka B.L.), Julie Williams and Hooters spokesperson and original Hooters girl (and Playboy's Miss July 1986) Lynne Austin in addition to his duties on The Ron & Ron Show.

WKRO-FM (1998-2000) Edit

On August 24, 1998 The Ron and Fez Show debuted on WKRO-FM Daytona Beach in the morning drive-time slot. Just a few months earlier, on May 22, 1998, The Monsters In The Morning (then known as The Monsters of the Midday), briefly reunited several regulars from the cancelled Ron and Ron Show, including Ron Bennington, Fez Whatley, Billy "The Phone Freak," and Paul O, where on-air Ron and Fez announced their return to radio. Using the formula they helped develop in Tampa, Ron and Fez recruited new employees, interns and characters for the new show. They were on WKRO for about a year and a half before being hired by Infinity Broadcasting in New York.

WNEW-FM (2000-2003) Edit

The Ron and Fez show debuted on WNEW in New York City on February 21, 2000, one week earlier than planned. The show was improved, and with the help of popular lead-ins Opie and Anthony, they discovered an eager fan base, while distancing themselves from their "shock jock" roots to better accommodate WNEW's line-up. One month after arriving at WNEW, their program was syndicated to Washington, D.C.'s WJFK.

RonAndFez.com Edit

New York's WNEW-FM was converted from a long-respected rock station to all-talk in 1999, with afternoon drive show Opie and Anthony as the "masthead." Ron and Fez signed on to host an overnight talk show named Ron and Fez Dot Com, beginning February 21, 2000 and broadcast from 11pm - 3am. Ron and Fez eventually moved to evenings (7:00-11:00 pm), then to early afternoon (12:00-3:00pm) and later back to the evening timeslot. Buoyed by Opie and Anthony's lead-in ratings, the duo began to enjoy success.

During this period, several memorable characters joined their on-air team, including taciturn producer Hawk, Dumpy, Tasteless Ginny, and the call-in prankster Joe Poo. The show's web-based premise inspired the founding of several websites devoted to the show, including RFBabies.com (once a haven for the show's cadre of young female fans), and the unofficial site for the show. Though "Dot Com" was soon dropped from the show's title, Ron and Fez have garnered an admirable online following due to RonFez.net.

Demise of WNEW Edit

Ron and Fez's motley cast of characters grew as the show entered 2002. Billy Staples, their phone screener and producer became more of an on-air personality, often confronting his substance abuse problems, while the show producer was the butt of many jokes, often for his strange habits and perceived managerial ineffectiveness. As the show developed during spring 2002, the ratings steadily improved.

After Ron and Fez's popularity continued growing through the summer of 2002, WNEW's flagship show Opie and Anthony was canceled, leading many observers to believe that the station might alter its all-talk format. Ron and Fez remained in their time slot for another five months until WNEW's format "flipped" on January 27, 2003, moving the show to sister station WJFK-FM in Washington DC.

WJFK-FM (2002-2005) Edit

After WNEW changed formats in early 2003, Ron and Fez began broadcasting the show on WJFK. Although heard only in Washington DC, Ron and Fez chose to remain in New York until June 2003, when they finally relocated to the WJFK studios in Fairfax, Virginia. During the following year, several memorable characters, listeners and staff gave the show a fresh identity. While the WNEW show had been heavily influenced by a dedicated and funny core group of callers, WJFK proved to be fertile ground for eccentric visitors who each brought their own unique humor to the show. Perrynoid, Cherrynoid, Mikeyboy, David Lee Kinison (aka Elfish), Cigar Sid (aka Sidcada) and Crazy Jen became call-in and studio regulars.

Known for being team players, Ron and Fez worked on split shifts, did drop-ins for WJFK's Redskins broadcasts, did live commercials and appearances, and helped mentor the hosts of a weekend show (later to become weeknight show), The Hideout. A good relationship with lead-in show Don and Mike, along with improved call-ins, freshly funny bits, and a community needing a good laugh during the 2004 presidential election propelled Ron and Fez to stellar ratings in January 2005.

WFNY-FM (2006-2007) Edit

On December 20, 2006, The Ron and Fez Show debuted on WFNY in the 6-9PM time slot. The Free-FM show was different from the XM show in that it is aired later in the day, and was a completely independent "evening edition" of the show, rather than a re-broadcast of the XM show, or a joint show with XM, like Opie and Anthony's morning show.

Besides the obvious FCC-compliant content of the Free-FM show, the focus was different in that it tended to focus on events local to the New York City area, in contrast to the national focus of the XM show.

The Ron and Fez Show was discontinued when WFNY reverted to a rock format as WXRK on May 24, 2007.

XM Satellite Radio (2005-present) Edit

On August 2, 2005, three days after Ron and Fez signed off from WJFK-FM, the official announcement was made that they would go to XM Satellite Radio beginning September 12. On August 9, and then again one month later on September 8 and 9, Ron and Fez went on The Opie and Anthony Show to provide behind-the-scenes stories about their time at WNEW-FM and the years since they last worked together. On September 9, the four hosts of both shows (as well as O&A co-host Jim Norton) met hundreds of fans at a preshow kickoff party at B.B. King's Blues Cafe in Times Square which doubled as a welcome back party to New York City for Ron and Fez.

External links Edit

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