And you might have caught some ostensibly forbidden words such as bitch, shit and asshole as well, alongside some beeps that conceal harsher obscenities in the threadbare way that Christina Aguilera's wardrobe keeps her covered.
The Buzz attracts attention with its increasingly eclectic playlist and its vulgar vocabulary. Lazlo, the station's night-shift DJ, embodies both traits. In his on-air banter, he balances profanity with heady allusions. It's a mix vividly illustrated by his bio page on the station's Web site, which places an extended reference to Friedrich Nietzsche underneath a photo of Lazlo on the toilet.
Lazlo was canned from previous stops in Toledo, Jacksonville, Key West and Detroit. The problems, he says, stemmed not from his potty-mouth but instead from his habit of playing his own unapproved CDs (Iggy Pop, Dead Kennedys, Social Distortion). It's an important distinction -- willfully naughty radio personalities would be overpriced at a dime a dozen, but playlist-related rebellion is a much rarer, and more significant, phenomenon.
To Lazlo, a Jane's Addiction junkie, nothing's shocking, whether it's slipping a relatively atonal track into the pop parade or sharing frank, f-bomb-laced philosophical discussions with irate callers. He occasionally misfires -- his offhand comments about the Washington, D.C., sniper shootings earned him a suspension -- but he lacks the shock-jock's taste for sexual pandering and cynical sadism.
"Fart jokes, penis size and fake boobs might entertain some, but that's just another form of cookie-cutter corporate radio," he says. "But it's not me that keeps the show away from daily dick jokes; it's the listeners. We have nine listeners, and they're all very smart."
In addition to the handful of regulars, radio shows lure large numbers of temporary tune-ins, people who catch a song or two in the car or become a captive audience at the gym. KRBZ Operating Manager Mike Kaplan estimates that 80 percent of listeners fit this description. Trouble is, many of the station's running gags and elaborate bits need time to develop. Morning show hosts Kenny and Afentra weathered some ugly slurs for their racist-baiting Wheel of Bigotry, which skewered the dolts who use said slurs regularly. The bit provoked rash reactions from listeners who caught the epithets out of context. And Lazlo's testy exchanges with his callers, who are almost always in on the joke and often initiate the conflict, might seem off-putting to anyone unaware of the protocol for such interactions.
Although the station receives constant feedback about its envelope-pushing policies concerning foul language, it doesn't get trashed for its playlist experimentation.
"A lot of stations rely on research instead of gut reactions," Kaplan says. "They'll preach about familiarity and tight rotations. Technically, they're right, but we try to spike the mix. That's who we are, an alternative to everybody else."
Because everybody else stinks, at least in terms of breaking new material, KRBZ leads by default. But with Internet and satellite radio pushing their hands, the station is moving in a positive direction in several crucial areas: It plays local acts (ABJ and the Get Up Kids, with an impending add for the Gadjits and an open ear toward other area outfits), it juggles genres (indie-rock, hip-hop, metal and country all pop up to some degree), and it discourages gratuitously "wacky" antics.
But if the station wants to solidify its burgeoning status as a true alternative, it should give Lazlo even more rope. Let him break some of the recently released underground titles that stock his home CD changer -- the Postal Service, Hot Hot Heat, the Datsuns -- without fear of disciplinary action. Let him toss in some old-school Bad Religion and Dead Kennedys, despite the commercially damning facts that these groups aren't new, and they were never massively popular. So what? They'll only take up 90 seconds of airtime, tops, then back to Coldplay and Queens of the Stone Age and, sigh, Saliva.
With its PG-13 content and occasional wild-card artists, KRBZ is already edgy. It's time to take a real risk and aim for revolutionary.