By Anthony Cacchione and Bob Wason
Need a little extra excitement on the bus ride to school? A junior named Ben Vahey at Jamesville-DeWitt High School has found a great way to keep himself and others entertained on the morning bus. Vahey, along with many other students, play the popular 93Q radio game “Malarkey” on their way to school. “I look forward to waking up and getting on the bus every morning to play”, said junior Paddy Hagan, who also plays the morning radio game. “It makes the bus ride fun in the mornings,” said Vahey.
Vahey also has a lot of luck in the game. He has been on the show six times, and has won four of those six times. Two of Vahey’s “Malarkey” bus friends (junior Kyle Torrens and Hagan) have been on the show a combined 13 times, but have both never won. “(Vahey) must have the magic dialing touch!” said Amy Robbins, co-host of “Ted and Amy in the Morning” on 93Q, and creator of the daily “Malarkey” questions.
Vahey does have a lot of luck, but he wouldn’t have those four wins without his dedication. Vahey listens every day and says he has “mastered the timing” of when to call in. “Ben is an avid player. I think it’s pretty cool that Ben is so dedicated to ‘Malarkey’,” Robbins said.
“It’s really a great way to stay entertained on the bus, and it always is great to call in with Ben.” said Jamie St. Amor, a sophomore who also rides Vahey’s bus.”One of my favorite things of the school day is watching Vahey and his friends call in. The excitement of everyone calling in is crazy,” said Jordan Vanstry, a sophomore on Vahey’s bus. “I now love riding the bus in the morning, and I say ‘No’ whenever anyone asks me if I want a ride to school, because I want to play “Malarkey” with Ben every morning.” said Michael Swan, another sophomore who rides Vahey’s bus.
Vahey’s enthusiasm has clearly rubbed off on more than just the people on his bus. Frankie Mignacca, a junior who rides a different bus, has started to play. “I have been calling as much as I can since the school year started, and I even got on once!” But he didn’t fare as well as Vahey has. “They crabbed me,” Mignacca said about losing on “Malarkey”. Another person who Vahey has inspired to play is junior Zach Gentile. “I call in as much as I can when I’m on the bus, and I even got on twice! I was so excited the first time I got on that when they asked what my name was, I almost said ‘Gach’ instead of Zach,” said Gentile.
But Vahey is only half of what makes this “Malarkey” craze so unique. Although Vahey and his “crew,” as Vahey calls it, have accomplished a lot on “Malarkey”, they still aren’t nearly as close to the accomplishments of the hosts of “Malarkey”. On November 16, 2013, Ted Long and Amy Robbins celebrated the 25th anniversary of their award winning show “Ted and Amy in the Morning”. And they don’t show any signs of stopping. “I will keep doing this until it’s no longer fun, or until we are way too old to introduce a Ke$sha song and still sound hip, although we may have never sounded hip introducing a Ke$sha song!” Robbins told cnyradio.com.
Want to join the craze? “Malarkey” is on every weekday morning at 7:12 a.m. on 93Q.