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Q Morning Zoo characters to return in reunion show on WRBQ

If you know the names Scott Shannon, Ronnie "Night Train" Lane, Pat Brooks, Arch Deal or Cat Summers, you probably remember local radio's Q Morning Zoo in its heyday back in the '80s.

Now those voices will be heard again on WRBQ-FM 104.7 during a live reunion show on July 22. Morning host Mason Dixon, who wasn't a part of the original Zoo, but who did rule the airwaves for Q105 during the afternoon back in its heyday, will host the reunion on his show that airs from 6-10 a.m.

The oldies station has actually been hosting throwback moments and having former Q Zoo participants since the start of June. But this will be the first time that several of the key figures from the once ground-breaking show will be together at once. They include Bill Connolly, Ronnie "Night Train" Lane, Pat Brooks, Roger P. Schulman, Deputy Mike, Pat George, Dick Crippen, Gayle Sierens, Arch Deal and Cat Summers, among others. A news release announcing the show also said Scott Shannon, one of the original co-hosts along with Cleveland Wheeler, will be checking in live from New York.

WRBQ got its license in December 1973 and became Tampa Bay's first stereo rock 'n' roll station. It was eight years later that a brainstorming session led to a morning show that would be a combination of hit music, outrageous humor and unabashed social commentary.

The Q Morning Zoo turned out to be an appropriate name for the daily dose of insanity that hooked listeners. Shannon would leave in '83 to start a new Zoo at WHTZ-FM outside New York City, but Terrence McKeever stepped in and the Zoo was full of animals again.

As part of its Throwback Summer, the station is broadcasting bits and pieces of the old Q Zoo, which began airing in 1981, and included parody songs, a Tookie Bird that signaled a contest (a new one lets you enter to win a Camaro convertible) and a recurring skit called Tales of Tunequa.

While parts of the Zoo could be considered juvenile humor at best, it was the Tunequa bits that earned the most criticism. The short segments chronicled the fictional adventures of a young black woman named Tunequa Washington.

"Shoot! I already be two hours late for work," she says during one skit where she's stuck in bridge traffic. "I swear, if I get canned, I's goin' sue dat Howard Frankenstein dude!"

Zoo hosts defended Tunequa, pointing out it was a black woman who recorded the voice. The local NAACP branch, the Greater Tampa Urban League and fellow broadcasters respectfully disagreed at the time.

Today, some of those original segments can be found under the Throwback tab on the station's website, MyQ105.com.

Information from Times files was used in this report.

Q Morning Zoo characters to return in reunion show on WRBQ 06/29/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 5:21pm]

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