Radio: It's a Bird! It's a Plane! Whoops, It's a Bird

Suddenly, the din of rock 'n' roll is in terrupted. From the loudspeaker come a furious flapping of wings and a fero cious cackle: "Bawk, bawk, bawk, baaawk—CHICKENMAN!" A background chorus proclaims: "He's everywhere! He's everywhere!" Well, not quite every where, but almost. In the past year, 149 U.S. radio stations have programmed Chickenman, a 2½-minute spoof of the Superman-Batman genre. Some cities have even played him nine times a day, seven days a week.

A change of pace from radio's hot-and-heavy barrage of records, news, and commercials, Chickenman was hatched 16 months ago on Chicago's WCFL. He is an...

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