(Photo: Via SF Chronicle) Vinnie returns to Bay Area radio; says his partying days are behind him.
By Brad Kava
Last month, the DJ without a name on ALICE—the dude who was half of the "Sarah & No Name" morning show—became the DJ without a job. There’s been a lot of speculation as to who would replace No Name, and potential co-hosts have been auditioning for the spot.
Well, the auditions are over and tomorrow listeners will hear a very familiar voice joining Sarah. That’s right, Vinnie’s back!
Vinnie Hasson was fired from his morning show duties on ALICE back in 2002. Despite the fact that the show he pioneered on KLLC-FM for five years was at the top of the ratings, he was canned after missing shows for “personal reasons”—translation: partying too hard--and passing out at a company party.
In an interview before his Monday return, he sounded like a changed man, one who knew he had miraculously beaten long odds by getting fired and rehired for the same slot on 97.3’s morning show.
“It was a miracle for sure, a trip for sure,” says the 39-year-old who proudly announced that he’s been sober for four and a half years. “I just made a mess of everything around me.”
He said he couldn’t help but drink to excess, “aggressive and over the top” and a binge that lasted some two years straight, all in the public eye.
“I always thought other things were causing my problems,” he said on his first day back to the Bay Area, surrounded by packing boxes. “I thought it was my job or my girlfriend or the people around me. It never occurred to me that it was all the whiskey I was drinking that was causing me so much trouble.”
He said his friends at ALICE tried to get him to get help, but he couldn’t do it. He thought he could take a few days off and fix the problem. It took getting fired and hitting bottom to get him to rehab and then to Alcoholics Anonymous.
Cleaned up, he ended up in Eugene, Oregon on rock station KNRQ, doing mornings. But he always dreamt of coming back to San Francisco, never imagining he could get his old show back.
He stayed in touch with people from CBS and auditioned for other shows, but nothing worked until ALICE general manager Greg Nemitz called to ask him back.
During Vinnie’s time away from the Bay Area, he’s come to the truth about a lot of things, including his real name. He had been going by Vinnie Crackhorn after he came out with the fake last name while goofing on a Chronicle reporter. After it appeared in print, it took on a life of its own.
Another of Hasson’s former competitors, Darian O’Toole died this spring after falling down a flight of steps. She was fired from CBS station “Free FM” in 2006 after falling asleep and appearing intoxicated on the air.
“That’s the only other way being an alcoholic can end,” Hasson said.