Is this news to you? Then tune in to Ron Simonian's Stealing First, a radio comedy-drama on KCTE 1510 Sundays at noon. The parody of Kansas City and baseball not only lives up to the station's promotional "Hot Talk 1510" tag but also is hotter than ants under a magnifying glass.
Guido Scarpetti, the Peasants' owner, is "the opposite of David Glass," the Royals' owner, Simonian says. When Johnny Samen, the Peasants' best player, demands more cash, Scarpetti barely avoids getting bleeped. "You little prick," he snarls in a thick Jersey accent. "I think you've got a bat of glass and you throw like a girl. I'm sending you to Wichita. Now get the hell out of my office. You're getting loser all over my shag. There's a new sheriff in town, and he doesn't take threats from lawyers and a chick with warning-track power. Now, unless you want me to pop you like boils on my ass, hit the streets."
But Scarpetti can't handle blunt talk about his players from his play-by-play announcer, whose journalistic integrity won't let him misrepresent the play of the team's worst pitcher. "He is many a batter's bitch," says Todd, played by Chris Berger. "That [pitch] hit 57 on the radar gun. This guy sucks. This tub of crap isn't fit to pitch on a recreational slow-pitch team. This is a joke. The wind ... the burp ... and the drunk fat pig shot-puts it home."
Scarpetti calls Todd into his office, and bleeping commences. "You listen to me, you fat-ass, cocksucking jerk wad," Scarpetti screams. "You change your fuckin' style! You lie when I tell you, you cocksucking jackass. I will shove a steel pipe so far up your ass you will be shittin' lug nuts! Now scoot before I bend you over a pole and fuck your ass off!"
Have you heard anything like that lately on radio? "If you ask me, the bleeps make it," explains Simonian. "I enjoy the sound. When we say the language as it is written, the actor gets that real fiery momentum going. When you really drop the F-bomb, that passion comes out, and as an actor, you can really unleash it."
It's encouraging to see 1510 lose timidity under Union Broadcasting president Chad Boeger. Much milder material resulted in reprimands, suspensions and a firing in the station's early years. But are advertisers mature enough to handle the show? Paul Feagan is part owner of Original Juan's Hot Sauce, one of the show's primary sponsors. "People need to lighten up," Feagan says. "We're kind of young pups on the Kansas City business scene, and we break all the rules in our marketing approach ... just like Ron does with his show. I guess there are people who are offended by the language, but I've never really understood that. We think pain is good."
Is Kansas City ready for a radio show that parodies the home team, swears more than Gunther Cunningham on smelling salts and broadcasts at noon on Sundays? "I think Kansas City is often thought of as a Midwestern city that is so vanilla it can't get off-center," Simonian says. "But Kansas Citians are ready for this, and they will make Kansas City radio ready."
Simonian, whose stage plays have run locally at the Unicorn, also penned an off-Broadway hit called Thanatos. He has no concerns about the controversy his radio show is sure to cause. "I don't try to make a living off of people who are easily offended. I think political correctness is a bunch of shit," Simonian says. "To my critics, I would say what Guido would say: 'Suck my dick.'"