Coyote J

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Coyote J (born May 22, 1953 in NYC) is a radio disc-jockey known for his screamo, wild-child 7-12 midnight show in the 1970s at WERC, a Birmingham Top 40, and later at CHR Z-102 (WZBQ) and I-95 in the 1980s. For 30 years he has been a popular personality in Birmingham, while making stops in Nashville (WKDA/KDF), San Diego (KPRI), Denver (KBCO), New Orleans (WQUE-Q93), and Mobile (WABB-FM). Mr. Calhoun has been a night-time/morning drive personality at several Birmingham radio stations and later in his career became known for his syndicated dark wave show, The Edge. Coyote J was part of the original air staff hired by WKDF, Nashville's progressive rock station, and WRAX (The X) Birmingham's Alternative Rock station. .[1][2][3]

Nashville: WKDA-FM/WKDF-FM[edit]

Switch from automation to live[edit]

WKDA-FM went live in the evening hours and on weekends with a progressive rock format in the early winter of 1970 and Coyote worked on air under the name Jim Battan, sometimes spelled Jim Baton, while still in high school; this came after a short stint on WKDA-AM where he worked under a number of different names. Mr. Battan did weekends, but also did 7-12 midnight in summer/autumn of 1970.

Pensacola[edit]

Battan went to WBSR AM in 1973 to do 7-12 midnight and experiment with a more brash, TOP 40 style that he would later bring to Birmingham, New Orleans and San Diego.

Birmingham[edit]

Battan began his Birmingham stints in late 1973 when he joined ERC-FM, employing the same format he had used at WKDF-FM Nashville;

WERC AM — Coyote J (Calhoun) is Born

In 1975, Battan was hired by WERC Birmingham as a night-time Top 40 screamer. When WERC night time jock Chris Foxx (aka 'Superfoxx') abruptly quit over a contract dispute in late 1974, the company flipped Battan to WERC's AM from the FM and christened him Coyote J Calhoun (this time the name would stick). From 1975 to 1979 Coyote J was enormously popular in Birmingham and consistently won the 12 + audience during his reign. In one of his most controversial acts, Coyote J faked his own murder on-air, a stunt that led police and paramedics to storm the building expecting to find a knife wielding intruder inside. This led to a 5-day suspension, the first of many that would be handed down to the disc-jockey. Calhoun wrestled a live black bear before a packed house at Boutwell Auditorium in 1976. The fight abruptly ended after Coyote hit the bear over the head with a folding chair, annoying its handlers. When asked why he did it, Coyote replied, 'he started it.' In 1979, near the end of WERC's dominance and with the demise of AM Top 40 radio in sight, Coyote J resigned and left for Los Angeles to do stand up comedy and immerse himself in the neophyte punk/new wave scene.

L.A. and San Diego: The 1980s and the Switch to New Wave and Punk[edit]

In 1980, Coyote J. worked with the improv group 'The L.A. Connection'. In 1981 Coyote moved to KPRI to do 7to midnight and officially became a provocateur of new wave/post punk music on commercial radio. While in San Diego Calhoun worked as a bona fide shock jock.

Back to 'Bama[edit]

In 1983, after a short stay in Denver, Coyote J left the West Coast to head back south with a bevy of new wave in tow and began playing this 'new music' throughout the southeast. Coyote took the specialty show gig at WAPI-FM Birmingham (95 Rock) and began spinning another generation's soundtrack: The Pretenders, A Flock Of Seagulls, Human League, Thomas Dolby, Duran Duran, U2, Talk Talk, The Cure, Wall Of Voodoo, Depeche Mode, Echo and The Bunnymen, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark among others.

In 1984 Coyote was transferred to WABB-FM Mobile, the sister station of I-95 (Dittman), where he did afternoons on the CHR and his new music show for PD Leslie Fram (99X Atlanta); That same year Calhoun won the 'Bobby Poe Air Personality of the Year' award. In 1996, Coyote J married Vicki Anglin, in 2001, they had a son Trey. They now have three sons, Jason, Brian, (the oldest) and Trey (the youngest).

New Orleans[edit]

In 1985 Coyote J landed the 7-midnight opening at WQUE-FM New Orleans. At 'Q-93' the dj debut an expanded version of his post punk program and began to use the name The Edge. In New Orleans Calhoun began incorporating dark wave, gothic, and Industrial to his new music play list. Q-93 flipped from CHR to urban in late 1986 and Coyote was cut loose.

Back to Birmingham and 20 years of The Edge[edit]

Coyote J found himself back in Birmingham in the spring of 1987, once again employed as a night-time screamer for a new personality-driven CHR, WZBQ, Z-102 (going up against the other Top 40 stations in town, I-95, as well as WKXX, KICKS 106). Calhoun reintroduced his Sunday night show as The Edge to Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and surrounding areas. While at Z-102.5 Coyote found himself in the middle of controversy once again, culminating with Calhoun getting fired live on the air. Before it was over Coyote was being escorted out of the building by police officers who heard the ruckus live on air and rushed to the station. Coyote was reinstated for a short time afterwards, but was let go from Z-102 for keeps in 1989.

In 1989 Coyote J was hired by I-95, Z's cross town rival. I-95 OM Randy Lane decided to make him part of their new morning team to replace the popular duo, Mark and Brian, who had left for KLOS Los Angeles. The Morning Wake Up Service with Andy Spinosi, Trey Matthews and Coyote J debut in the spring of 1989. I-95 decided NOT to resign the trio in 1992.

In 1992 The Edge went into syndication. From 1992 to 2002 The Edge aired on dozens of Alabama outlets: WVNA-Muscle Shoals, WQEN Gadsden, WTGZ Auburn, WHHY Montgomery, Z102.5 Tuscaloosa/Birmingham, I-95 and WRAX Birmingham, among others. During the years 1992-1994 Coyote also co-founded and wrote comedy for JAB, a Birmingham satirical magazine, along with Andy Spinosi, Tim Spinosi and Frank Cummings. JAB went to press eight times and closed their doors in early 1995.

The X Years[edit]

In 1995, Coyote J was hired as one of the original air talents to help launch The X (WRAX-FM)in Birmingham. Between 1998-2002 Coyote also wrote music reviews for The Birmingham Weekly. Coyote J stayed with The X until December 2006 when the station fell on hard times and flipped to Adult A/C.

In January 2007 The Edge re-debut in Birmingham on ROCK 99.5 in its usual Sunday night time slot.

Coyote J's contract for The Edge with ROCK 99/WZRR expired January 2009, at which time Coyote J pulled The Edge plug for good and retired the show. Coyote J returned to ROCK 99 to do a classic rock show in February 2009. Coyote left Citadel Broadcasting February 14, 2010 ending a tenure that spanned 15 years.

In 2010 Coyote J began collaborating with the German dark wave band, Feeding Fingers and co-produced their third album, Detach Me From My Head. The album yielded three top 10 chart hits in Europe. Battan is currently working with Feeding Fingers and songwriter Justin Curfman on the band's fourth album.[4] April 2012 saw the release of a new single by Feeding Fingers, 'Inside The Body Of An Animal' produced by Coyote J and Justin.

Feeding Fingers fourth album, 'The Occupant', was released in late February 2013. Because of Justin Curfman's relocation to Germany the album had a number of producers. On this release Coyote J co-produced only three tracks: 'Inside The Body Of An Animal', 'I Drink Disappearing Ink' and 'Paper Dolls Would Eat Glass For Us,' as well as providing financial support.

"Polaroid Papercuts" an advance single from the upcoming Feeding Fingers triple album 'Attend' produced by Coyote J and Dana Culling was released on March 16, 2015.

Revival of The EDGE on the Internet - 2013[edit]

On October 19, 2013 Coyote J debuted The Edge 24/7 online: http://www.theedge24-7.com/

References[edit]

  1. ^ "DJ Coyote J never plays it safe, and Edgefest will follow suit | AL.com". Blog.al.com. 2008-09-12. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  2. ^ "Hang the DJ". Bwcitypaper.com. 2008-09-04. Archived from the original on 2014-06-06. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  3. ^ "The Alabama Record Collectors Association: June Meeting". Thealabamarecordcollectorsassociation.blogspot.com. 2010-06-04. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  4. ^ [1]

External links[edit]

  • [2], "Hang The DJ" with Coyote J." - Black & White
  • [3], "COYOTE J. CALHOUN

and the WSGN-WERC radio war of the 1970s"

  • [4], LA Connection
  • [5], Birmingham Wiki
  • [6], Black & White - "The Golden Age of Birmingham"

Audio Bits from WZBQ[edit]

Audio from WERC (1970s)[edit]

Coyote J's Music Reviews Archive from the Birmingham Weekly[edit]