Jude LaCava? He's the new sports-talk host on KTAR. He moved here from Ohio.
Jonathon Brandmeier? He's the morning-drive jock on WLUP in Chicago, a former radio star in Phoenix and arguably the hottest radio personality in the country.
"Karen"? She's a mystery woman. She is either LaCava's bisexual former girlfriend or an actress with a very convincing phone presence.
These three characters are entwined in a highly entertaining radio triangle, the juicy details of which currently are being distributed to media members nationwide by Brandmeier's production company. Brandmeier recently signed a contract with NBC to develop a late-night TV show based on his loony radio shtick. Part of the thick promotional package Brandmeier's people are sending out to inquiring minds is a laugh-a-minute audio cassette of the deejay's most outrageous radio moments.
Anyone familiar with Johnnie B.'s tenure at KZZP in Phoenix knows the content of the tape. Brandmeier talks listeners into outrageous stunts; Brandmeier makes spoof phone calls; Brandmeier interviews celebs like Sammy Davis, Elton John, and Michael J. Fox. Midway through Johnnie B.'s tape comes the following odd exchange, as the theme from Love Story plays in the background. Brandmeier is talking to a distraught caller. Her boyfriend, a radio jock from Toledo named Jude, apparently popped into town the night before for a surprise visit. Brandmeier: Now tell me if I got this story right. Here's a guy, he's a boyfriend of yours, he comes into town from Toledo, Ohio, so he can listen to my show for two days, rip me off and then leaves you?
Woman: Well, he's not gonna rip you off, he's just listening. I know he's listening, and he needs to call me because my heart hurts. It hurts real bad.
JB: I don't understand. What's your name? Woman: Karen.
JB: Karen. And Jude is the guy who came into town from Toledo, Ohio. Karen: Right. He has a talk show in Toledo, Ohio. JB: And why did he leave you last night? Karen: Because, well . . . I had a girlfriend over and we got real wild. JB: What do you mean? What do you mean "wild"? Karen: Well, we're on the air. I won't go into it.
JB: No, wait a minute now. Karen: It's my fault, and I can't believe he walked out of my life. And I'm dying. JB: Waaaiiit a minute. What do you mean, you got wild?
Karen: It got wild. JB: You mean it went on and on after he saw you?
Karen: Yeah. JB: In other words, you didn't acknowledge him? Karen: Of course I did. I was very happy to see him.
JB: But you couldn't pry yourself out of that clinch you were in, huh?
Karen: My lips hurt today, let's put it that way. JB: Laaady, this is a family show.
Karen: I know that, I know. JB: (addressing someone else in the studio) So he walks in, and this girl can't pull herself away from another girl. "Hi, honey, I'm here!" "Mmmph. Er, I'll talk to you later."
Brandmeier, when reached in his office in the John Hancock Building, claims the call was real. "Do you believe that story?" he says. "That's the most frightening thing. This lady calls up and she's like crying. . . . I'm prodding her and prodding her. I'm saying, `Why did he leave?' She was in a lesbian clinch with some girl on the floor and he walks in!"
Though he may just be protecting his shtick, Brandmeier claims he doesn't know LaCava from Adam. Johnnie B. acts stunned when told by New Times that a Jude LaCava from Toledo now runs a sports talk show in Phoenix.
"You don't know really when they call up who to believe about names and stuff like that," he says, between fits of laughter. "Now you're telling me this, it just freaks me out. I gotta call this guy on the air someday."
LaCava, reached at his office deep in the halls of the KTAR sports center, claims the whole thing was a sly joke, a "bit" he and Brandmeier collaborated on several years ago. LaCava insists that he and Brandmeier are buddies.
"That bit?" says LaCava. "That we did--God, that's got to be four or five years ago. I was in Toledo, three or four years ago. We were doing some bit about this breakup, and it just turned out to be hilarious. It was just phenomenal. It was kind of a bit-type of thing, and I think he took the ball and ran with it. But, boy, it's funny that they're still talking about that. It's funny I'm doing his promos for him."
LaCava says he convinced Brandmeier to tape a promo this summer for his new sports talk show on KTAR. However, when pressed for further details of the supposed sexual docudrama Brandmeier is using to promote himself across the country, LaCava opts for professional courtesy. "When you're dealing on something like that--I never want to expose a guy's routine, man," LaCava says. "If it's funny stuff, it's funny stuff.
"It's funny to hear that I made the Best of Brandmeier. That's not bad billing.