Ned Kelly The Cleveland Cinematheque 7: July 3 and 9: July 4 "Give it to me, Bubba! Give it to me! Spittle flies from his mouth, and veins bulge in his forehead. Moments ago, he was an affable guy, quick to smile and a bit shy, showing little trace of his bawdy on-air persona. Now he's completely unhinged. He's so immersed in his role, acted out on a sidewalk outside the station's Huron Road studio, that he barely notices two burly construction workers gawking as they lumber past.
Rover strains at the end of the leash, the collar digging into his neck and leaving angry red welts on his skin, as Duji frantically tries to restrain the madman -- the same role she plays on the show.
Wide-eyed, teeth flashing, Rover channels Hulk Hogan as he talks smack on his radio competition. His voice has a flabby quality that leads listeners to imagine him chubby. He wears a ringer T, cargo shorts, and a Cubs cap to cover his thinning hair.
A rusty goatee carpets a slightly weak chin. He's the kind of guy who reminds everyone of someone they knew in high school. The unremarkable looks seem odd for a man so intent on attracting attention. He is, after all, the same guy who, on Father's Day last year, called dads and asked them to listen to recordings of female orgasms, then identify which ones belonged to their daughters.
So when he gathers a horde of his faithful at the downtown YMCA for a dodgeball tournament, you expect to find him holding court before a rapt audience, or at least signing autographs.
Instead, he stands by himself off to the side, bouncing a ball, staring at the basketball hoop, looking less like a celebrity than the kid at the basketball court hoping to join a pickup game. Rover blends in with his fans -- who are almost universally young, white, and male -- like a real-life Where's Waldo? Of course, this is the image that shock jocks always try to convey to the all-important to year-old male demo. But in Rover's case, it might actually be true -- at least, it's easy to think that after talking to him for a few minutes.
Just ask Greg Perry, a year-old garbageman from North Ridgeville: He was really cool. On the radio, he seems like a real guy, and in person, he seems the same. First thing he said to me is 'I have those same shoes.
It's why listeners embrace Rover as one of their own, why they so often call to say, "Cleveland loves you! For a guy who gets paid to be an asshole on the radio, he's hard not to like. He starts playing catch with another deejay who happens to be passing through, but the game isn't challenging enough.
So Rover decrees that they can use only their left hands. Which of course turns into a joke about how masturbating left-handed feels like someone else is doing it. It's Wednesday, and the show is over. It's time to talk about filling next week's Morning Glory, which airs weekdays from 6 to 10 a. She's the organizer and mother hen, the one who keeps Rover from going too far. Rover stops his game of catch to pitch an idea for a contest: So it's various sucking tasks, anything that's noisy.
Basically, you're rewarding the girl who gives the best blowjob. The prize would be kneepads and a bottle of Scope. It will make great radio, everyone agrees. Next up is Dieter, a muscled, handsome jock, whom Rover chides for being the archetypal gym rat: Dieter's job is to take listener calls, but he'll do anything to get on the air.
He once smoked his own feces. He has a suggestion for an on-air conversation: So if you could suck on your own lederhosen, would you do it? Since Janet Jackson's boob-baring Super Bowl performance, the rules have changed. The station brought in a parade of corporate lawyers to give Rover a refresher course in the Seven Dirty Words.
Anybody can make dick jokes all day. If that's all you can do, you're fucked. Rover has tangled with the FCC before. Five years ago, he was working at a station in Knoxville when a young woman called in and began masturbating on-air. Nothing ever came of it, but it was enough to convince Rover that the South wasn't for him.
Some predict that Rover won't be able to hack the new rules. He's an admitted computer dork, a whiz with the editing program. When he retires from radio, Rover plans to start a video-editing and multimedia production company.
Today, he has a more modest goal: It gets off to a rough start. The Beastie doesn't respond. Rover briefly wonders whether he's hung up. He hasn't, so Rover tosses a softball: I don't know," says a clearly annoyed Mike D. You seem to have a lot of answers. Otherwise, I'll just hang up right now. Mike D seems taken aback.
When he finds his voice, he explains exactly why the new album took so long. Listening to the playback, Rover smiles. Mike D sounds like a total pussy. During lunch at Harry Buffalo, Rover talks about fame in Cleveland. At a recent Tribe game, guys a few rows back began chanting, "Cleveland loves you! As if on cue, the waiter -- a shaggy-haired Strokes look-alike -- identifies Rover's voice. It's a good show. Rover, whose real name is Shane French, was born in Chicago but grew up in Las Vegas, the son of a doctor and a nurse.
They don't give a shit. While working at a Denver station, Rover hooked up with a porn star named Raylene. After their first date, she slept in his bed naked, but nothing happened. Then you get one in bed, and you're like, 'How many guys have waded through this forest? They dated for a year, during which she continued to do porn shoots. Now Rover keeps his private life more discreet. Sure, he talks about his girlfriend on the radio.
When she instituted a "no-farting policy" at home, he told listeners, "That's why you have a long-term girlfriend, so you can fart in front of her and not worry about it.
Rover will say only that her name is Susan, she's 33, works as a talent coach for on-air personalities, and they've been dating for four years.
Rover broke into the radio business on the heels of a botched lie. At 20, he auditioned in Las Vegas with a sample tape purporting to be from a Milwaukee station. Program Director Mike Stern, who was familiar with the station, called his bluff. Rover confessed; Stern hired him anyway. Stern was further impressed with Rover's work ethic. A lot of the best shows convey that we just walked in here and we're having fun all morning. He went to Los Angeles to do a syndicated talk show, where he met Duji, who remembers the general manager telling her that Rover was bound for the big time.
He's gonna be a shining star. The station had a no-nudity policy, which Rover had no intention of following. He says he was told to lie if asked about it.
So when the general manager asked about a gimmick called "the Tuna Tank" -- which had nude women writhing in a window facing the street -- Rover claimed the girls wore bathing suits. The station's general manager learned the truth and fired him for lying. Rover spent the next few months editing video presentations for lawyers. The station had switched formats in May , abandoning jammin' oldies to join the ever-growing ranks of the Xtreme.
It built an audience of young males with Opie and Anthony's syndicated afternoon show. But when the jocks got fired for broadcasting a live account of a couple playing hide-the-bishop during a service at St. Program Director Kim Monroe settled on Rover. Rover's Morning Glory -- named, appropriately, after the first erection of the day -- debuted in March of last year. The crew wanted to make an immediate impact. The setup was a game called "Helium for Headbangers," in which listeners guessed how high balloons would lift household objects, including a sponge, a set of car keys, and a light bulb.