Enter Poorman

Life's a (bikini) beach for KDOC's returning late-night host

The introduction is abrupt—before he's ready, the Poorman is announced, and he comes out wielding the shotgun. He fires off a couple of fake shots, with sound effects that are noticeably out of sync. He asks if there are any DJs who can play some entrance music for the ladies, to which a rather pissy voice responds, over the P.A., "We're sound people, not DJs!" The rain falls harder. The Poorman gets his entrance music for the bikini girls, but only three emerge. He calls out for the other three, but they're nowhere to be seen.

Knott's employees gesture that the show needs to wrap up due to the rain, so the Poorman has the girls do a quick pose, then asks the crowd to pick their favorite. Charlene—who not coincidentally has the biggest breasts—is the clear favorite, but the Poorman declines to choose, declaring instead, "We're all winners!"

"That probably was our worst event, so it's kinda humorous that you guys were there for that!" says Coss, a couple of days later. "It was actually a funny shoot. It could have been really rockin' if the girls were into it, if things were organized a little better."

*     *     *

Previous Bikini Beachevents have looked like fun, judging from the broadcasts. There have been bikini-girl tricycle races; a deodorant "sniff-off" contest that got the Poorman ejected from the old Crazy Horse nightclub at Irvine Spectrum when police pre-emptively showed up expecting a riot that never actually materialized; the Bikini Mile, taped at Hollywood Park racetrack, in which swimsuit-clad women engaged in a footrace after bolting from the same starting gates the horses do; naked-porn-star bowling; and margarita wrestling. That last event featured a particularly unpleasant scene in which the Poorman pretended a drunk girl had vomited on him and proceeded to taste the fake puke. A running theme is that the Poorman seems to do his best to point out how unappealing he is. "I always tell him that it's not a good quality," Coss says.

With Wright about to go off on a business trip, it's up to the Poorman to get six shows together before his colleague leaves. This is harder than it sounds, simply because there's no consistency to the archived shows. Wright, whose back-and-forth with the Poorman at times feels like the bickering of a married sitcom couple, complains the Poorman is actually getting worse at understanding the edit process, to which the host responds, "I try as hard as I can." He pleads that selling ads is such a full-time job that it makes it hard to focus on the other aspects.

His work pays off, though. "I would say it averages maybe $3,000 a week in profit, but that doesn't account for production, doing new shows. I've made up to $10,000 in a week," the Poorman says. "I have not lost money. The worst I've done, at all, is break even, after I've paid Martin and the station." One of the benefits of leaving KJLA for KDOC is that sponsors are more interested in advertising on his current home.

But so long as he still causes difficulties in the post-production process, Wright remains unimpressed; he actually went so far as to start fining the Poorman $500 every time he made Wright stay in the editing bay past midnight, which, he says, has improved the procrastination factor somewhat.

KDOC owner Ellis says he's never had a problem with the Poorman being late. "He's met all his obligations as a businessman," he says.

Wright has a response: "[Jim]'s only been there now for two or three weeks, so they're still figuring, 'Oh, it'll probably get better.'"

And the Poorman has big plans for KDOC, where he wants to buy even more airtime; next up, he says, he'd like to do a show called Poorman's Sex Line, which would be similar to Loveline, but with a sexy doctor friend of his named Venus Ramos, whom he calls "the new version of Dr. Drew."

He still misses radio. "I think I'm the best radio guy in the country, even though I'm not on the air," he says, "but I don't think anybody in radio will even give me a chance now, at least until my popularity becomes like American Idol."

But the Poorman has a dream. . . . "This is what motivates me," he says. "I wanna make so much money—I'm not even close—but I wanna make so much money that I can buy KROQ. My first meeting, I'll have everybody gathered, and I'll fire 'em all right there. Even if I'm in the building alone after that, that's my ultimate dream—so they can experience what it feels like. I just want them to feel the joy."


lythompson@ocweekly.com

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