Best (and Longest-Reigning) Radio Duo

WHEN YOU’VE sustained a two-decade radio presence in a city like San Diego, you’re bound to have listeners recalling how they first heard your bits on the way to school in their parents’ car. It happens all the time to Jeff Detrow and Jerry Cezak, hosts of the Jeff & Jer Showgram on Star 94.1.

The madcap, civicminded morning hosts celebrate their 20th anniversary in San Diego this month——longer than any hosts have shared airtime in America’s Finest City. As their Web site boasts, they have outlasted four U.S. presidents, four San Diego mayors and six Chargers head coaches. Their 26-year partnership, which began in Detroit and Chicago, may make them the longest-running radio duo in the history of American broadcasting.

Though always conscious of impressionable listeners in the backseat——they typically satisfy parents’ longing for adult banter with cleverly crafted double entendrés——Jeff and Jer are no prudes, Cezak says. Even when they were up against the bawdy blunt force of Howard Stern, they provided their own share of provocative radio.

Cezak recalls his favorite remote broadcast, minus pants, at a North County nudist colony. Producer “Little” Tommy Sablan, who also is celebrating 20 years with the show, joined them.

“Let me tell you something,” St James says. “You don’t want to see most people naked. Most people you want to see with as much clothes on as they can get on.”

And then there was that time they swiped Jimmy Buffett’s bike shorts. “He was staying at Le Meridien Hotel, in 1989,” Cezak recalls. “We knew what room he was in, but he wouldn’t answer the door, so we swiped his bike shorts live on the air. He called us back and said, ‘Hey, I need those back.’ ”

Cezak considers the duo’s knack for getting celebrities on the line a strong suit. Johnny Carson granted an interview on the morning of his final episode of The Tonight Show, and Peanuts creator Charles Schulz chatted with them just before his death. Hooking the infamous Jack Nicholson took a bit of trickery. Cezak figured convincing the Easy Rider star to chat with a couple of deejays from San Diego wouldn’t be as easy, even if they had his home phone number.

“We thought, ‘What if a hot woman called?’ So we had Laura Cain, who’s been with us for 15 years, call him. Laura played around with him for a little while and then finally let him in on the scam. God, he wouldn’t shut up! He was probably on for a half-hour. He was a great guest . . . and such a nice guy to us.”

Detrow and Cezak have another year on their contract with Clear Channel Communications. Though Cezak is not sure what the evolving future of radio holds for them, they will remain in San Diego.

“I guess we’re still number one with adults, which is nice after all these years,” he says. “This has really been a great 20-year love affair with this city. It’s kind of a fantasy trip we’ve got going here.”

—— PAT SHERMAN