Where Are They Now?


Ben Christopher

Ben Christopher was a young Disc Jockey from Indiana when he set foot in Tampa Bay as the all night DJ on Y95, the Rahall sister station of WLCY. Ben was part of the new brigade hired on by Consultant extraordinaire Bill Hennes (also in Where Are They Now).

Ben’s claim to fame came on April 1st 1976, when he was asked by night jock Screaming Jay Hawkins (Phill Hawkins, also in Where Are They Now), to take part in an innocent April Fool’s joke. “It had the blessing of Program Director Chuck Morgan. (it really did). Ben obliged to being part of the bit.

It starts out with Tedd Webb pretending to be a caller on the request line, asking for a record by Bloodrock called DOA. Y95 did not have that song on the play list, only the “acid rock” stations were playing it. Jay put Tedd on the air making the request, and several phones were aired from Tedd increasingly agitated because Jay would not play it.

Tow hours later, while doing the weather forecast for Tampa Bay, Jay in interrupted by Tedd breaking into the studio with a copy of the song, demanding jay play it. A fight ensues, Jay pretends Tedd stabbed him, and Ben comes into the studio yelling “someone call a doctor!”. Ben’s fake distress signal violated FCC laws.

The audience bought it hook, line and sinker. By the time the trio came back on the radio proclaiming “April Fools”, it was too late. Many listeners contacted the police agencies in their part of the bay area, and squads from at least 7 law enforcement agencies arrived at the station on Gandy Blvd. With guns drawn.

To shorten the story, Jay got fired, Tedd and Ben kept their jobs, but placed on probation. Ben grew from that incident. Ben started using his real last name Umberger, later on owned his own radio station, got out of jocking. Ben now is an Engineer with Clear Channel Communications in Tampa.

Copyright © 2002 By TEDD WEBB • All Rights Reserved