“If he walked in this room right now, I’d have no idea,” KTCK-AM's (1310, The Ticket) Mike Rhyner revealed as I sat in with The Hardline last week. “He just comes and goes as he pleases. It’s better that way.”
L4G started innocently enough as frequent caller, armed with advanced intellect and a sharp wit. Eventually he was given call-in carte blanche. And what did he do with the keys to the station? Became a fixture (when he feels like it, anyway) on the station’s 3 p.m. “Why Today Doesn’t Suck” segment. Always sounding like he’s in the middle of a fast-food drive-thru or on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Line 4 Guy usually manages at least one masterful bon mot drenched with often kinky undertones. “We don’t pay him, we don’t know what he does, and we don’t know where he is,” Mike said. “But the dude is pure genius.”
Which brings us, in a very roundabout way, to the ongoing saga of the vanishing Hammer.
Greg Williams, Mike’s afternoon drive-time sidekick partner since the station’s inception in 1994, has been mysteriously absent the last three weeks. Because the station will only say he’s taking time off for “personal reasons,” the rumors are flying. Contract dispute. Relapse. Rehab. Sneaker wedged in his cheek. You name it.
Whatever, it can’t be good. Remember, Williams spent six days in a Dallas detox center in 2004 -- where he endured 43 sleepless hours and thoughts of suicide -- combating his spiraling addiction to the prescribed painkiller Lorcet.
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I’ve been bombarded with e-mails about Greg’s status. But, honestly, I don’t know.
Though I consider Williams a friend, he’s not exactly a drinking buddy in my social circle. I’ve e-mailed and called him several times, so far without response. The station -- and its employees -- remain tight-lipped and vehemently guarded about him.
Which in itself is a story, because The Ticket -- and especially The Hardline -- became wildly successful by involving its listeners, sharing secrets and making everyone feel like a member in its big, bawdy frat house of a radio station. And now, radio silence.
My best guesstimation: Hammer’s problems are deep enough and serious enough that, because of legal ramifications, the station is hand-cuffed by what it can and can’t say. All I know for a fact is this: There are station employees who have given up on Williams as a broadcaster, concerned at this point only for Williams as a person. --Richie Whitt