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He was irreverent. Bold. Outlandish. Wierd. And certainly not your run-of-the-mill radio personality. Doug Tracht, better known as The Greaseman, had a way about him on the air that no one before or since ever did. It’s probably indescribable, the stories, mumbling and sometimes just plain highly suggestive gibberish expelled by Grease’… but sometimes, it was just genius.

Here’s a slice of morning radio at DC101, presumably several clips from different shows and all of it from 1983. From Greaseman’s own parody of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” to a skit with the setting being the jungles of North Vietnam, this composite aircheck runs the gambit from the sexually suggestive to hilarious, to the downright serious.

As Contributor Steve Bleecker described it:

IT IS LONG …But…to Greaseman fanatics…It’s GOLD ! And…so funny…so incredibly Unique and “Grease Clever” !

At one time, The Greaseman OWNED Rock Radio. Its too bad that one mis-placed comment brought him down. Radio sure could use a dose of the Grease right now.

By Steve West

Steve West is a 41 year veteran of broadcasting. His air work as a Jock and News Anchor includes six radio markets and over two-dozen radio stations. Steve is the founder of and - All the BIG Hits!

14 thoughts on “The Greaseman (Doug Tracht), WWDC-FM ‘DC101’ Washington | 1983”
  1. Steve West…THANKS for “hookin’ up” The Greaseman with all of his Fans ! My brother, Phil, was on business in Washington …and recorded this while he visited…Phil had, of course, remembered “Grease” from his “late Nites (!) at WAXC in Rochester, where we lived. I got lucky and “landed” my WAXC gig after Greaseman had left for WPOP, Hartford (I believe). So, unfortunately…I never met Doug ! But, I do remember visiting WAXC before I got hired…and watching Grease “Perform his MAGIC” !
    THIS IS A GEM…and I will ask everyone to get the word “around”…GREASE IS BACK ON THE AIR…RIGHT HERE !

  2. there was a day as steve bleecker well knows when upstate ny was the showcase of top 40 talent and stations were all major market sounding… I wish somebody had a tape of the grease at wene….


    My first paragraph should have read:

    For those who don’t know the story of James Byrd Jr., he was a 49-year-old black man who was chained to the back of a pickup in 1998 in Jasper, Texas by three white supremacists who urinated on him, then dragged him along a road at high speed.

    Byrd was conscious until his body hit a culvert. He then lost an arm and was decapitated.

    The three continued to drag the dead man for at least another mile and dumped his body in front of an African-American cemetery in Jasper.

    The Greaseman apparently thought the horrible killing was funny. After playing a song by a black artist, he said on the air, “No wonder people drag them behind trucks.”

    Regarding the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the Greaseman thought it would be funny to say “Kill four more of them, and we will have a week off.”

    Doug Tracht dug his own career grave, yet he still whines about his lost years in broadcasting.

    Mourn James Byrd Jr. … not the Greaseman.


    1. Tony, this wasn’t meant to upset you or any other person. Greaseman was trying to be funny – sometimes these morning guys say things intentionally over the top so that they stand out from the competition. There’s always someone waiting to snatch your job in radio. I highly doubt that he truly feels that way in person, having known a few high profile morning people I can tell you that the pressure to perform and do something more outrageous than anyone who might come in and steal the show can be enormous. Especially when you consider just how few morning gigs – or ANY live gigs are in radio today. The competition was just as keen in the 90s when this happened.

      You’ll recall that Arsenio Hall got booted off nighttime TV because of terribly insensitive comments about some white people. It happens, racially biased statements *shouldn’t* happen on the radio (or anywhere else), and in a perfect world, they wouldn’t. But it’s not a perfect world, nor do we have perfect people in the media. I will say that I can respect Greaseman for one thing regarding that incident… at least we all knew where we stood with regard to his comments. Some of the far more veiled comments we hear today are disingenuous, spoken by both media types and politicians alike. They hide behind political correctness, or the lack of, and it occurs on both ends of the political and racial spectrum.

      My rebuttal is: don’t hang Doug Tract out to dry, because he is far from alone – he merely became the ‘poster child’ and thus, the scapegoat when *somebody* had to answer for African-American’s extreme anger over the case. Greaseman simply picked the wrong topic du-jour and it cost him his job. No. It cost him his whole career. And that’s a tragedy, especially when people like Jesse Jackson can run their mouths at length about racist whitey and get away with it for 30 years – knowing that most of us would faint if we ever even thought about being racist.

      Bad subject, horrible incident… but I had to say something about this, since it’s obviously still burning a hole through your heart. I’m just waiting for some dumbass morning show host to say something insensitive about Treyvon Martin and see how long it takes for him to get fired.

  4. Steve,

    Greaseman’s comments about James Byrd Jr. and shooting African-Americans on MLK Day were beyond racially insensitive.

    The man must be or was incredibly stupid to say such things. If the excuse is, as I have heard, those comments popped into his head, and he simply said them on the air thinking it would be funny.

    Then my response would be — what kind of man would think those thoughts off the top of his head in the first place?

    Second, more than 50 percent of the population in D.C. is black. Do you think those African-American listeners thought it was funny?

    As someone mentioned on another forum, imagine what would happen to Tracht or other jock who said on Lincoln’s birthday, “Let’s shoot four more presidents and get the week off.”

    Tracht proved over the years that he simply could not control his mouth within decent boundaries. Did he simply not care … or was he simply stupid?

    Personally, I think shock jocks and all the sleaze is one of the worst things to happen on radio. Others may disagree.

    But there is a great deal of difference in sex and bodily function jokes and so-called humor about hate crimes.


    1. @ Tony – All valid points. I tend to agree with you especially about the part of sex and bodily fluids being showcased on morning radio. But then, my wife and I lament that it’s so pervasive even on morning TV, when the kids can watch it and hear it. Perhaps, with smartphones and FB it no longer matters, you give the kids 22 minutes, the web will give them the underworld.

      Like everything else in the radio and entertainment world, I think that there’s nothing that you’d want censored from radio that people – anyone – can’t get already with a computer or smartphone. Even ‘banning’ a guy like Greaseman from radio really means nothing in a world where more people get their entertainment from a handheld device that doesn’t require an antenna, that is the most open venue in the world where you don’t need a license (nor could authorities enforce one) to broadcast filth, smut and racial hatred. It doesn’t matter, Tony. Really.

      Radio is getting to be irrelevant these days.
      And maybe some of the reasons why are just BECAUSE you can’t do on radio what can be done on the internet. The difference is, in Tracht’s day, Algore hadn’t invented the internet .

      Nuff said.

  5. One more thought:

    Tracht’s inability to return to radio except for tiny markets with walkie-talkie signals is a direct result of his mouth.

    It’s obvious after all these years that even if a PD in a large market wanted to hire him, the GM would overrule him. No GM wants his station boycotted because his morning man cannot control himself.

    You do not give gasoline to an arsonist, and you don’t give your signal to a loose mouth.

    Tracht has complained about his treatment for years but some things done … cannot be undone.


  6. Sorry, Steve…I JUST saw your “diagnosis”
    regarding future comments to this RADIO site…you’re RIGHT…I understand…SO…this morning, please view my F B Page ! June 2nd

  7. Greaseman was awesome these jack asses on air theses days on dc101 morning suck . I haven’t listened to morning radio for years just can’t listen to same ole same ole. I think getting fired for his joke was BS ! Come home Greaseman lol

  8. Greaseman was and still my favorite D.j. of “ALL TIME ” I would be GLAD to listen to him on the air again I agree with Jimmy Posey DC101 morning radio sucks it’s like the same s**t different day…. Everybody need a little “Grease” in their life LOL I loved all the sound effects he used too….. he was the funnest morning jock I ever heard on the radio like the tuna fish song that was one of my favorites……. I was a regular caller and listener….

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