It's 6 o'clock in the morning, and the only sign of life in the KISN 97 studio in Murray is the sleepy overnight guy.
The ethereal voice of local DJ Scott Fisher hovers overhead, but the real Fisher is not in the studio."That's recorded," says the overnight guy. "Fisher and Todd and Erin should be here any minute."
Trendy music wafts through the studio. In the next four hours, listeners sample anything from Phil Collins to Madonna to Chum-ba-wum-ba, designed to appeal primarily to women who were "hip" in the '80s and early '90s.
KISN's demographics show that the listeners are about 65 percent women.
Todd Collard and Erin Fraser burst in, only slightly chagrined that a print journalist has beat them to their own show.
Cheerfully, the boyish Fisher greets Erin, who is desperately running a brush through her thick mane, and Todd, whose baseball cap shrouds his pony tail.
Fisher, who could pass for a college student, sports a haircut that would be considered acceptable at Brigham Young University.
The three creatively brainstorm an approach to the unexpected Jazz playoff loss to Houston the night before. On the air, they implore listeners to lighten up on the Jazz.
Todd gives a maudlin speech, blaming himself for the loss, because he got angry when the Jazz were down in the third quarter.
His voice choking, Fisher tearfully takes the blame. He gave up the game in the middle to help one of his children do homework.
Not to be outdone, Erin insists it was her fault, because frustration drove her to call Greg Ostertag "a lummox."
One listener commiserates, saying she stigmatized the Jazz by watching this game "clear through for the first time."
Another sorrowfully admits the loss was HER fault, because she failed to wave her "Bryon Russell heads-on sticks."
Fisher, Todd and Erin listen to several other equally repentant callers who seem more melodramatic than the hosts.
It is a funny beginning to Utah's longest-running morning radio show - 12 years - one that has been unrelenting in its quest for a prize listenership of 18- to 49-year-olds.
Fisher, originally from Connecticut, worked on radio in Florida, while Todd, from Massachusetts, worked as a stand-up comedian and did a DJ stint in Colorado.
Although Fisher is politically conservative and Todd is liberal - Fisher says "Todd is to the left of Abby Hoffman" and Todd says "Fish-er is to the right of Attila the Hun" - they blend easily and comfortably.
Three and a half years ago, they added the lively Erin to the mix. "We needed her. We'd completely lost our touch," says Todd, with straight face.
Erin was working for a Washington, D.C., station when Fisher and Todd invited her to join them "Even-steven." At first, she was hesitant, because "for women, there is still a lot of laughing and clapping, and that's all they want you to do."
Not this time. Erin flew back to her native Salt Lake City to enter a radio relationship of equals.
Now Erin is the liberal to Fisher's conservative, while Todd has turned into the moderate, or as he sees it, "the peacemaker."
"These guys are so easy to work with!" says Erin. "They are the sweetest, best-natured, least ego-driven radio people you ever saw."
"Shut up," says Todd.
A little over a year ago, Erin married Todd. "It's a miracle," says Erin, "because when you work with people, you see their disgusting personal habits. They come in wearing the same sweats, and you know they haven't showered. How love could bloom is anybody's guess."
On the air, Fisher is an anchor guy who makes smooth transitions and skillfully works the control board for the best use of the satellite uplink, the microphones, CD's and reel-to-reel tapes.
Calling himself "a color commentator," Todd provides comic relief with his punchy, satirical chatter.
Erin, who does the news, balances the two men with her breezy, witty rejoinders and her melodramatic joke-telling.
Fisher, Todd and Erin imagine themselves magnets at a great party.
"Our job," says Todd, "is to think of something interesting to say every day."
Regularly, Fisher launches into a monologue about his coaching of Little League. If he goes on too long, Todd leans quietly into the mike and says, "I think Fisher's almost done."
Instinctively, Fisher brings his mike down, making Todd sound as if he is in the foreground, even though he's whispering. As soon as Todd's done, Fisher brings his mike back up and continues to ramble.
Fisher and Todd consider Erin the vocabulary queen. Literary allusions and four-dollar words roll effortlessly off her tongue, none of them scripted.
Intent on being themselves, the three are inevitably drawn to charity work.
They do a popular care-a-thon each Memorial Day weekend as part of "KISN Cares For Kids," a nonprofit foundation that benefits children along the Wasatch Front. Their 1998 effort brought in more than $120,000 that will be used for a variety of worthy causes.
Todd says, "We're covering the community, which is important to us, and we're being GOOFY, which is important to us."
For a segment called "I am a Moron," listeners tell on themselves. Erin remembers one woman who had not told her husband she was five months pregnant.
Could she break the news to her husband on the air? Maybe, but the DJs didn't want to trigger a divorce.
So Erin called him to gauge his feelings, and he said, "We're expecting a baby in July, but my wife doesn't know I know."
When she told him on the air, he was like a teddy bear. He said, "Your mother told me six weeks ago."
Erin grins and says, "Tell me how cool that is! Our listeners have the most entertaining lives. They make us all look pathetic by comparison!"
Fisher offers his own wisdom: "Comedy by definition is tension. We have little in common with each other except for the show. In fact, we personally hate each other, so it works really well."
Todd and Erin laugh, because they know Fisher is just kidding.