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Two impossibly manic teens, Cathy and Kayla, attribute their incessant bouncing and frequent giggle-spiked outbursts to a peculiar hunger-strike diet they've adopted since hearing the bad news about their favorite station two days earlier: Mountain Dew and doughnuts. That, plus they stayed up all night puff-painting their jeans with the names of every Buzz personality.
"There's nothing else on the radio," Cathy gripes. "We love Lazlo -- he's so funny!"
"He's the voice of the bitter," adds a brawny, suit-clad man who identifies himself as Listener No. 9, a nod to Lazlo's estimate that he has only nine listeners. "He says what he wants to say, and he gives the people the music they deserve."
Lazlo, the station's edgy afternoon DJ, riles some listeners -- and occasionally the station's manager, Mike Kaplan -- with his liberal use of "Goddammit" and his brusque responses to seemingly innocuous callers. He's also made fans in the music community by embracing groups such as Sunny Day Real Estate and the Sugarcubes -- bands that haven't dented the dial since the alt-friendly version of the Lazer left the air. He champions fast-breaking acts such as the Postal Service and Hot Hot Heat, fitting them into stretches of music -- Radiohead, White Stripes, Roots, Get Up Kids, Queens of the Stone Age -- that play like hipster mix tapes.
Later this afternoon, he'll shout down a string of concert-ticket and song requests with a peeved "I don't care! I need a job!" Here, he's warmly shaking fans' hands and thanking them for listening.
With Lazlo under control, it's up to Afentra, cohost of the station's 7 to 10 a.m. Showgram, to stoke the revolutionary fires. "Pretty much everyone is here -- except [program director] Todd Violette and Mike Kaplan," she says during an on-air remote just after 8 a.m.
Both could be considered excused absences; Violette, whose on-air shift starts at 10 a.m., is preparing for his show, and Kaplan is locked in maddeningly vague conversations with Entercom higher-ups. But a rabble searching for villains immediately embraces Afentra's insinuations. Soon, every update that mentions Violette or Kaplan inspires a chorus of boos.
After branding the offending no-shows "corporate ass kissers," Afentra occasionally breaks in with news from Kaplan. "He says we can't give out the Entercom corporate phone number [for the Philadelphia headquarters] anymore," she reports. "He says we should just pack it up, prerecord and just pretend like we're broadcasting live."
The crowd swells to several hundred, but the event gets washed out when a downpour begins around 9 a.m. The protesters remain willing, and the Homegrown Buzz staple Moaning Lisa, which has rented its own generator to play in the park, stubbornly continues to set up its electrocution-baiting stage show. But a representative from the Parks and Recreation Department ushers the Buzz party away, and the station plays music without a break-in until Violette's shift begins. Though nowhere near as audibly peeved as his peers, Violette interjects his own "save the Buzz" plugs between some tunes.
Soon after he takes the air at 3 p.m., Lazlo starts looking for other jobs. He calls stations in other cities and announces his availability, recording the conversations and playing them back during his show. It's a smartly subversive segment, one that illustrates how Lazlo's critics are off-base in comparing him to standard boobs-and-insults shock-jocks. If he weren't so serious, this bit could pass for a spoof on why corporations often terminate formats without giving the stations advance notice.