DJ sets Guinness record
Published: Saturday, January 22, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 22, 2005 at 12:00 a.m.
WINTER PARK - Dave Plotkin rocked around and around and around the clock.
The disc jockey at Rollins College's WPRK-FM unofficially set a record Friday for the longest continuous broadcast by a single DJ in world radio history.
Plotkin, 25, took to the airwaves at 9 a.m. Monday with the intention of not signing off until 11 p.m. Friday - a span of 110 hours.
That's five more than the July 2002 record set by Christoph Stockli of Radio Extra Bern in Switzerland.
"Everthing I did, every facet of my life for the past five days, I was broadcasting on the radio with a wireless (microphone) or here in the studio," Plotkin said Friday evening in the seconds before reaching Hour 106 and breaking the old record. "I miss the outside world."
After a countdown and cheers from his studio audience, he kept going into the evening.
It will take Guinness, keeper of the world's records, 4-6 weeks to validate Plotkin's feat.
"This is the most fun thing I've ever done," Plotkin said. "Here, I get to run my favorite station for a week."
The event, planned for more than a year, raised funds for the 52-year-old station.
A soldier from Fort Bragg, N.C., donated, as did Peruvians listening via the Internet.
WPRK's first rock DJ had the biggest per-hour pledge at $15; an hour later, he was topped by the editor of Gayorlando.com - $15.05 an hour. Later, the owner of Orlando's independent movie theater upped the ante to $20.
Plotkin believed $100-an-hour was an optimistic goal, but with eight hours remaining the per-hour pledge total reached $111.
In between spinning countless CDs from indie rockers, Plotkin hosted local bands, interviewed artists and civic leaders, gave interviews himself, took cold showers in a stall built down the hall from the studio and, of course, talked.
"We're pre-empting a total of 61 shows," said Plotkin, who's day job is to run Rollins' Upward Bound program.
"This is like the next 60 DJs not showing up for work," he said.
All the while, he was watched by a string of medical professionals, journalists, friends, family and assorted well-wishers in what turned into the small liberal-arts college's social event of the season.
Some people drop into the cluttered, cramped basement offices to offer Plotkin their support.
"Since you've been down here in this hole of Hell for so long," said a woman offering Plotkin a purple orchid, "I thought you needed something alive and beautiful."
Others seemed to be drawn by the curious sight of a man determined to stay awake for 15 percent of the month of January.
"I'm a lab rat," said Plotkin, his face unshaven and his eyes fading in and out of glassiness.
He prepared for this ordeal well, doing his homework.
"We tried to learn what didn't work for other people," Plotkin said. "You can't do this on the fly."
Plotkin bottomed out Friday morning, finding himself "in an awful place." Witnesses said he tried to put CDs into closed trays, then banged his head on the microphone; Plotkin doesn't remember much, but recalls forgetting the station's call letters.
"I knew what I did and I knew where I was, but I didn't know how I fit into it," Plotkin said.
Thankfully, a friend was there to slap some sense into him in a most unorthodox manner: Wearing a bright yellow rain slicker straight off a box of Gorton's fish sticks, the friend goaded Plotkin into an argument.
That seemed to revive Plotkin, as did orders from a nurse on duty.
"He needed lots of stimulation and lots of watching," Monika Petrakos said. "I turned the lights on, I gave him orange juice. I said, if you're going to take a shower do it now. All of a sudden, he became re-energized."
Still, Plotkin needed some help as the afternoon crept along.
"Stay with me, baby!" shouted Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, banging her hand on the desk, when Plotkin zoned out during an interview.
Having a medical professional on duty is one of the requirements set by Guinness. Along with videotaping the entire event, other musts included:
-When Plotkin was on the air, he had to speak at least once every 59 seconds. In the background of the broadcast, there was the beeping of a stopwatch constantly being reset by a monitor.
-Any songs played must be between two and six minutes in length.
-Plotkin had to pick the songs, and had to announce what was being played. There were no request from listeners, no musicians plugging their work.
A guest asked him what he would do to celebrate his accomplishment. Go on the Saturday chat shows, perhaps?
Replied Plotkin, "I have strict appointments to keep with my bed."
College DJ sets record for longest broadcast
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