Lex and Terry's wet dream

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In Dallas, Lex and Terry aren't exactly proven talent. Despite their impressive ratings in Jacksonville and a recent jump in their Dallas numbers, the pair has yet to prove they can stay on top in a major market, where the competition is tight and the stakes much higher. That battle will take time. If they are to survive, Lex and Terry are going to need to enlist an army of Michael Liles in a campaign that promises to spawn shows rife with lowbrow humor and stripper interviews.

Not one to shrug off a fan, Staley notices Lile's Wayne's World hat and says he likes it. The compliment prompts a comment from Lile that inadvertently describes the future of morning radio, where everything old is old again.

"I got it used," Lile says, lifting the worn hat up and proudly running his hand through his matted red hair. "I had to wash it a few times, but now I wear it all the time."

Whatever the inspiration is behind Lynyrd Skynyrd's song "That Smell," the oft-heard hit is an appropriate theme song for the band's hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.

Set on the northeast corner of the state, Jacksonville is located in Florida's most industrial county and today is home to seven Superfund environmental cleanup sites.

Back in the 1940s, the city's humid climate, combined with the exhaust from the pulp mills that drive its economy, had created such a pollution mess that women reportedly saw their pantyhose disintegrate as they walked through town. By the 1980s, not long after Lynyrd Skynyrd's tragic plane crash, the city's one million residents were compelled to form an odor committee to combat the smell of rotten eggs that permeated the city.

On December 16, 1992, the city that produced fart smells and "Freebird" gave birth to The Lex and Terry Show. The union was an unplanned event that would set the tone for a morning show that would steadily win the hearts, if not brains, of the city.

A few years before, Staley met Terry Jaymes at a party in California. The two immediately hit it off, bound together by the fact that both of their fathers had sold cars for a living. At the time, Staley vowed that he would one day hire Jaymes as a morning personality just as soon as he reached his goal of running a radio station.

In 1992, Staley was the music director and a midday personality at Jacksonville's Rock 105 (WFYV-FM), a classic rock station. When Staley followed up on his promise, Jaymes couldn't afford to pass up the opportunity.

Once a professional basketball player in Australia and later an actor whose best role was playing "Chad" on the now-defunct soap opera Santa Barbara, Jaymes was barely making a living working weekend radio gigs in California. Jaymes signed on at Rock 105 with the understanding that Staley would join him on the air until the station could hire a co-host.

"Never found anybody," says Staley, who is slumped inside a gray conference room in Q102's 12th-floor offices in the Comerica building just north of downtown Dallas.

Seated across the table, Jaymes says that his and Staley's very first show is still their best, though the station's general manager wanted to put him on a plane back to California halfway through the program.

"We had a guest on, [talking about] how to get the woman you desire in bed, something like that. He was mean to women, but we weren't. But we were getting the credit for it," Jaymes says. "It got the phones all fired up. Everybody was talking about it, and he [the general manager] wanted to pull the plug by the end of the day. It was great."

At first, Jacksonville listeners didn't take to the "two punks in a locker room" routine they were suddenly hearing, and the station's morning ratings immediately took a nosedive.

"It was definitely a different show than what the market and the station were used to, and everybody was pretty uncomfortable with it," Staley says. "We went through a six- to nine-month period where we were just told some horrific things."

"And everybody's looking at us like we're a turd in a punch bowl," Jaymes adds. "People hated us. And then all of a sudden the ratings started to go."

The world of radio is governed by the Arbitron ratings, which are published quarterly and broken down into several age categories that target listeners, in part, by their spending habits. At rock-format stations such as Rock 105 in Jacksonville and Q102 in Dallas, the target audiences are men 25-54 and men 18-34.

For more than three years, The Lex and Terry Show has held the No. 1 overall position in the morning slot in Jacksonville and has consistently reeled in its targeted audience.

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Rose Farley
Contact: Rose Farley