July 24, 1989 12:00 PM

Every Friday night at 8:45, the eight telephone lines at WKRC in Cincinnati start lighting up in anticipation of the beginning of the 9 o’clock show. When deejay J.B. Miller finally slips behind the controls and connects his anxious callers to each other on the air, they don’t waste any time. “Hi, Linda,” says one gentleman caller. “If we were driving down the highway and my car broke down, would you rather walk for help or sit and neck?”

Such a question is common fare for the participants on Desperate and Dateless, a weekly radio show that has become an institution among Cincinnati singles. The program, which first aired 18 years ago, was created by Alan Browning, a former deejay with WKRC. Miller, 28, who had been a deejay at a station in Huntington, W. Va., took over a year ago. “The crazier I get with the show, the more fun we have,” Miller says. “If somebody calls up and says, ‘Do you wear animal underwear?’ I’ll let it go. The show is on seven-second delay in case I run into a problem with the callers, but I’ve never had to use it.”

Thanks to the three-hour program, many Ohio listeners are desperate and dateless no longer. Over the years more than 200 couples have met and married as a result of the show. Many callers apparently share the feelings of Chris Sosby, 52, a sales rep who dated a lot of women he “met” on the show and married one of them three years ago. “I had gone to discos and joints like that,” says Sosby, “but I’m not really that extroverted unless I get to know somebody. This is an easier way to meet women.” Tom Young, a local farmer, is a particularly vocal advocate of the show: He met two of his four wives through WKRC.

Miller has fixed up listeners from ages 18 to 80 and averages 12 matched calls a show. And although women phoners occasionally express interest in the host himself, he’s the only participant who isn’t available: Miller got married three weeks ago.

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