- The Monsters In The Morning
"The Monsters in the Morning" is a talk radio show on
WTKS-FMReal Radio in Orlando, Florida, USAand XM Radio Channel 152. It is a morningshow that runs from 6 am-11 am EST. The show is a mix of current events, comedy, and stunts. Discussions involve the serious to the totally bizarre. Guests include comedians visiting the local Improv comedy club, local celebrities, and sometimes national celebrities. Stunts have involved skywriting, hanging a Monsters banner on a local eyesore, getting married, and blowing oneself up with firecrackers.
The Monsters consist of Russ (Triple R) Rollins, Dirty Jim, Bubba "Whoop-Ass" Wilson, Rev. Daniel Dennis, Tuddle, Drunky The Bear and Tiffany. Occasionally, former members Jeff Howell & Bo "The Big Man" Rhodes will stop by.
Russ Rollins made his first foray into radio by paying for airtime to promote his party rental business on an Orlando AM station, which eventually changed frequencies to become WTKS 104.1. The first show was called "Party Talk w/ Russ & Bo". After his first show with his buddy Bo Rhodes, they brought in Russ's then brother-in-law, Dirty Jim.
"The Russ & Bo Show with Dirty Jim" was on Saturday mornings, when they were offered the evening timeslot at WTKS. The show picked up the Sexy Savannah, Jeff Howell and The Musical Genius Bubba "Whoop Ass" Wilson.
When Ed Tyll departed WTKS for a syndicated show on the West Coast, "The Russ & Bo Show with Dirty Jim" moved to middays. Bo Rhodes, Russ' longtime friend, was asked by WTKS to enter rehab for an alleged drug problem. Bo refused, and left the show.
Before Bo left, the show was renamed "The Monsters of the Midday". With Bo gone, Bubba took up the slack and the show became popular in the Orlando market. It was during this time that the show picked up Daniel Dennis, formerly with the Drew Show, and Blackbean, an intern, as producers.
Howard Sternwas removed from Clear Channelstations, The Monsters took up the morning slot. "The Monsters in the Morning" had a rough start, with low ratings in its first year.
In addition to being placed on
XMSatellite radio the show was unsuccessfully simulcast in several other markets, including West Palm Beach, FL, Jacksonville, FL, Naples, FL, Macon, GA, Tampa, FL, and Jackson, MO. It was eventually canceled in all other radio markets, bringing them back to local radio status.
In January 2005 Jeff Howell announced that he would not be returning to the show, claiming that the early mornings were too rough for him to adjust to, and that he wanted to spend more time with his son. Later in the year, the Sexy Savannah unexpectedly left The Monsters for
The Shannon Burke Show; she was terminated February 6, 2006. She resurfaced on a competing morning show, called The Morning After Show, with fellow terminated WTKS host Drew Garabo until that station changed formats in 2007.
The show searched for new talent: Drunky the Bear replaced Jeff Howell, and Tiffany, a "Shape Up" contest winner, has succeeded in the new "Monster Chick" position.
On August 13, 2007, Blackbean left the show.
* "The Triple-R Segment @ 7" - Each morning at 7AM, Russ Rollins holds a short discussion on his topic of choice where daily prizes are awarded for the caller who's answer is best according to the other show members.
* "The 6 things you just knew we'd talk about" - A Monday morning bit in which callers try to guess the six big things that happened over the weekend that Russ deemed "segment worthy." The winner get something of their choice from Drunky's prize cave
* "Drunky the Bear's one minute of comedy" - Drunky the Bear mumbles his way through a "minute" (more like ten) of comedy, usually complaining about married life with his wife Elizabeth Longhair. Other times it will on random subjects and usually ending with a "top 5" ending. Drunky's segment is hit and miss, and is always a point of argument among fans. The actual "one minute of comedy" refers to the fact that no matter how long his segment is, it supposedly contains at least "one minute of comedy," something questioned by Russ's bosses Katherine Brown and Linda Byrd. "Fans are still trying to find the "one minute of comedy"."
* "Correct me if I am wrong" - Bubba's daily rant on the world as he sees it. Occasionally, this segment is used to introduce new songs into the Monsters' Songbook, and is then referred to as "Correct Me if I am SONG."
*"Stump Tiffany" - Callers (typically naive sounding women) are put against Tiffany in a round of simple questions that Tiffany almost always gets wrong. This segment is no longer being done.
*"Drunky's Prize Cave" - The presentation of prizes awarded to listeners. Is used in the "6 things" segment and the "rrr segment at 7". Former incarnations of the segment have been called "Tiffany's Panty Drawer", "The Prize Hooptie", "Tuddle's Fanny Pack", etc. It was announced on November 15, 2007 that the segment would be formally referred to as Drunky's Prize Cave, or as Russ likes to call it, "the old bear cave", as it had been picked up by a permanent sponsor.
The show's current cast members are:
Russ 'RRR' Rollins (The Commissioner, Triple R) - A graduate of Edgewater High School, Rollins got into radio as a way to promote his party rental business. Russ is the mastermind and inspiration for the show using the rock group KISS as a model. He pays very close attention to the quality and branding of the Monsters. Russ has also been involved with professional wrestling, and has wrestled matches for the WCW, WWE, and TNA. Often one can see the scripted nature of professional wrestling come through into the show. Russ is recently married to Kate. As of 2007, the couple is working on starting a family, and Russ recently underwent a vasectomy reversal.
Dirty Jim - Ex-husband of Russ Rollins' sister, Karla, and is now married to Tori. He is often accused of claiming to know far more than he truly does, and of inventing facts without basis. This reputation is based on an incident in which Dirty Jim vehemently claimed that catfish can stab people's hands with their whiskers. His wry sense of humor has earned him the nickname "The Dark Hitman of Comedy", and he is generally seen as the show's resident antagonist and whiner. When not actively participating in a segment, he is often seen doing crossword puzzles instead of paying attention to the rest of the show.
Bubba "Whoop-Ass" Wilson - Burt Wilson- The primary musical talent on the show, responsible for writing the Monster Band's original songs, as well as providing piano or keyboard accompaniment. He is known for his ability to come up with a song on the spot, earning him the nickname "A Damn Musical Genius". He is also affectionately known as "The Redneck Messiah". Bubba was a former member of a 50's revue band called "Clutch", along with former Monster Jeff Howell, and to have met many famous musicians throughout his career, including Michael Jackson. He and Jeff Howell collaborated in
The Rock-afire Explosion, providing songs and lending voices to the audio-animatronics at Showbiz Pizza Place. He is inseparable from his best friend (and primary instrument) "Everett the Drunken Piano." In January of 2006 Bubba took a medical leave from the show citing problems with his diabetes. He was continually citing problems with his diabetes because he could not keep up with what was going on with the show. In June 2006, after informing Russ that he was in "Diabetes Boot Camp," he admitted to a relapse in his painkiller habit. After 10 days of in-patient rehabilitation, Bubba returned to the air. His signature saying is that if you don't believe that, Bubba will take you out behind a relevant building and "whoop yer dammed ass".
Daniel Dennis - Daniel Dennis is a reverend in the
Universal Life Church, and is the main character talent on the show. In addition to general-purpose voices, Daniel frequently provided counterpoint to former show member Blackbean's "Russ" character with impressions. Daniel started out at WTKS as producer for the midday host Ed Tyll, then moved on to the Drew Garabo Show. Tensions between Garabo and Daniel ultimately led to Daniel quitting the station. He was quickly picked up for the Monsters by Russ, who believed his comedic talents were being underutilized on his previous show.
Drunky The Bear - "Tom Vann" Drunky provides comedy for the show, and performs stunts, along with his daily "One Minute of Comedy". Drunky tells stories of his life of drunken debauchery, his wife "Elizabeth Long Hair", and redneck lifestyle. Drunky wears a bear suit to events, including when performing stunts. The bear suit is a Halloween costume based on the Disney program
Bear in the Big Blue House. He also has a stunt DVDentitled "Counterparts". Recently there have been questions about the veracity of his "stunts". He has admitted on air that he "paid off" certain members of the Orlando Predators, during a "bit", in order to win a cash prize.
Tiffany - Tiffany Martin- was introduced to the Monsters in 2005, as a contestant in the Makos/SuperSlow Challenge. The fan response to her during this challenge prompted Russ to ask her to sit in shortly after Savannah left the show. An on-again/off-again bit with Tiffany is "Tiffany Trivia", where she competes with a caller to answer fifth grade-school level questions. Tiffany provides vocals for the Monsters band, and the sole feminine voice in the studio, and is the only on-air talent, other than Drunky, that has large breasts.
Tuddle - Patrick Fowler-A former intern for the Monsters, Tuddle was also the former producer of the Ron and Fez show, and Bo Rhodes and the Drew Garabo show. Since the cancellation of the Garabo show, he has worked part time at the station, including work on the Phillips Phile and the now-canceled Hideout. He is one of the Monster's two main stunters, and is frequently the source of ridicule and verbal or even physical abuse at the hands of the remainder of the cast. In 2006, Tuddle married a fan of the show, who is very much out of his league.
E.T. - The first regular African-American on the show, he was called "The Brother Man from the Other Land." E.T. used his on-air popularity to start performing stand-up comedy around Central Florida. One day he came on the show claiming that he had been beaten by police officers; After investigation it became clear this event never happened and was fabricated by E.T. He was subsequently banned from the show.
Dafoe - Former producer for the Monsters. He is best remembered for his voice characters including "The Evil Dan Stone."
Bo "The Big Man" Rhodes - Lifelong friend of Russ Rollins.
SBK - "Soul Brother Kevin" Kevin left the Monsters to work in another market, he has returned to Orlando as co-host
The Shannon Burke Showin the mid days following the Monsters.
Jeff Howell - Jeff Howell left the show in January 2005. The official reason is that he was not adjusting well to the early mornings and wanted to spend more time with his minor child. Recently Jeff has been appearing on the show on Fridays.
The Sexy Savannah (Heather K. Boan) - The show had been rocked at times by the tumultuous relationship of the host Russ, and the Sexy Savannah. The two met socially at a strip club (where Savannah worked as a stripper) and eventually dated. In 2005, citing a hostile work environment, Savannah abruptly left the Monsters for
The Shannon Burke Show. She co-hosted "The Morning After Show" with Drew Garaboon O-Rock 105.9, WOCL, but was fired from O-Rock,in early 2008 as the radio station reformatted.
Black Bean - (Carlos Navarro) Black Bean was originally an intern with the Monsters, screening phone calls. He expanded into bits, comedy writing and producing. Black Bean is no longer on the show as of August 13, 2007. An aspiring actor, he has appeared on "Prison Break" and in small roles and as an extra in various movies and tv shows, as well as a recent 'Bob Evans' commercial. It was reported by Scott Maxwell in his column in "The Orlando Sentinel" on August 21, 2007 that Blackbean got a part on the Fox TV show "Prison Break."
The fans of the show have been alternatively called "The Monsters Militia" or "The Chronics". The Monsters Militia is based on a sponsor of the show producing military type dog tags for the show, and eventually for the fans. The dog tags are numbered, with the Monsters dog tags starting with #001 belonging to Russ Rollins. The fan version of the dog tags are stamped with "Monsters Militia" and are also numbered.
The "Chronics" is based on discussions on the official WTKS webboard (which has now been disbanded and replaced with an unofficial webboard). The name stuck with Real Radio fans, and even the station's email newsletter is now called "Club Chronic".
They currently have on their website free downloadables of new songs that, as of yet, have not been released onto CD.
* [http://www.monsters.fm Monsters in the Morning Official Website]
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