I’ll have much more on this saga in next week’s paper version of Unfair Park, but after finally talking with KTCK-AM (1310, The Ticket) afternoon co-host Greg Williams last night, I can answer the most pertinent questions:
He’s alive. If not totally well.
His on-going absence is indeed drug-related.
He’s on the road to recovery.
And, yes, he hopes to return to "The Hardline" before the end of the month.
“I’m OK,” Williams said from his Dallas condo. “I’m doing what I need to be doing. Getting the help I need.”
Williams wasn’t real talkative. Not at all forthcoming with specifics. He was, in fact, a hollow whisper of the boisterous, bad-ass “Hammer” persona that made him one of the area’s most popular radio personalities the last 10 years.
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Which is not at all surprising, because nothing about the past month has been normal.
Williams disappeared in mid-show the afternoon of October 12. Whether he left voluntarily or was ordered out remains a mystery, but he hasn’t been heard from publicly until now. In Williams’ absence, station management has offered only short, shallow responses along the lines of, “He’s taking personal time off.” And on-air hosts have sprinkled "The Hardline" with only hints: A recent return from a commercial break included Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” punctuated with the infamous Greggo drop, “No! … No! … NO!”
There has been much speculation here (and here and here) that Williams suffered a relapse to the drug addiction that forced him into a Dallas detox center for six days in 2004. Williams will not address that speculation on the record, nor will he discuss on the record whether his problems this time around are due to the prescribed painkiller Lorcet or something harder. But there's no hiding this one fact: This sabbatical has forced him to miss 23 shows. And counting.
Williams has had limited contact with his colleagues at the station since his disappearance, but it sounds as though he wants to return to The Ticket. But after all this, will The Ticket still want its Hammer? --Richie Whitt