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Radio Free Trumaine was the 23rd episode aired in Season 9 of Married... with Children. Directed by Gerry Cohen and written by Richard Gurman and Stacie Lipp, the episode originally aired on FOX, premiering on May 7, 1995.


In this spin-off pilot (which features Bud, Steve Rhoades, and Marcy D'Arcy), two obnoxious college radio DJs are expelled by Steve Rhoades during an interview after suggesting he got his new job through blackmail, since he had been a chauffeur only two months before (in the episode "Get the Dodge Outta Hell"). Marcy arrives at the radio station looking for April (Keri Russell), a new bank employee who is romantically entangled with both Bud and a giant Russian basketball star. She decides to protest against Steve and get him fired.


In this episode, which was to originally serve as a pilot for a proposed new TV series of the same title, set on Trumaine University's radio station, W.H.I.P., DJ's Oliver Cole and Mark Campbell host several hours of unconventional and overlooked programming. After a probing interview, divulging the past of Trumaine's new dean of students, Steve Rhoades, both Oliver and Mark are kicked off the air and expelled from the college. Marcy arrives and upon hearing the news, she tries to get revenge against her ex-husband by leading a feeble on-air protest against their expulsion.

But their protest doesn't attract much attention. Meanwhile, Bud is dating April Adams, a fellow student and intern from Marcy's bank, who is also being pursued by Nikolai Pushkin, a rugged, handsome basketball star from Russia. When Bud desperately attempts to seal April's affections away from Nikolai, Mark happens by and secretly broadcasts the conversation over the station and calls it "Hot Talk With April." Mark, Oliver and their new show become so popular that dozens of people turn out for the protest, in which Steve backs down and lets them stay on the air and at the college. April ends up rejecting both Bud and Nikolai, as well as a job at Marcy's bank to remain with Mark and Oliver at their radio station.

Recurring cast/character regulars[]

Guest starring[]

  • Eric Dane as Oliver Cole
  • Andrew Kavovit as Mark Campbell
  • Timothy Elwell as Nikolai Pushkin
  • Keri Russell as April Adams
  • Joseph D. Reitman as The Stoner



  • The title of this episode is a reference to the term Radio Free which is used to denote radio stations such as Radio Free Asia and Radio Free Europe, that are funded by the U.S. government with the intent to provide information and news to countries where it would otherwise be censored by the government of those countries.


  • This was the final appearance of David Garrison as Steve Rhoades on the show. This was his fourth time appearing as a special guest star on the show following his departure as a regular during season 4.
  • In the explanation of how Steve became the dean of a college, parts of "Get the Dodge Outta Hell" are referenced, indicating that he was working as a chauffer for the President of the college until he was able to blackmail him.
  • This episode was the backdoor pilot of a proposed spin-off series starring Eric Dane, Andrew Kavovit, Keri Russell and David Garrison.
    • In a 2017 interview, Juliet Tablak who played Amber stated that she was supposed to be in the proposed spin-off, which would have featured her while focusing on Bud's life at Trumaine. She had already signed on for the project before Amber was suddenly dropped from the show and replaced with April Adams.
  • A few years after appearing in this episode, Keri Russell became known for starring in the WB series, Felicity. One of her co-stars on the show, Ian Gomez, previously appeared on MWC as one of the car wash employees in "Get the Dodge Outta Hell".
  • Keri Russell appeared in the film Honey I Blew Up The Kid with Rick Moranis who also played Ed O’Neill’s brother in the movie Little Giants.
  • It is revealed that Bud is not able to handle beer, as he passed out after having just one beer.
  • Bud confirms that he's only had sex a total of 4 times. This was previously mentioned in "User Friendly" when Dr. Kessler looks at Bud's answers.
  • Joseph D. Reitman, who plays the stoner with the "Legalize Marijuana" sign previously appeared on MWC as Kelly's boyfriend Genghis

Cultural References[]

  • Around the W-HIP station, there are various promotional posters and stickers of real life bands and record labels:
    • Rhino Records
    • Boyz II Men
    • Album cover poster for the 1994 album, CrazySexyCool by TLC
    • Pantera
    • Album cover poster for the 1993 album, 12 Play by R. Kelly
    • Album cover poster for the 1994 album, Desso by Jon Anderson
    • A sticker with the logo for Depeche Mode located on the window by Booth A
    • A sticker with the logo for Public Enemy located on the Booth A door
    • A vinyl record of the 1992 album Happy Nation by Ace of Base, located in the window divider between Booth A and B.
  • During their introduction, Mark and Oliver tell the audience that their motto is "Together, we're still not as fat as Rush Limbaugh."
    • Rush Limbaugh was a radio personality and author who was considered one of the premier conservative voices in the United States during the 1990s. At the time, he was known to be rather heavyset as well as a constant cigar smoker. He was previously made fun of by Buck in "I Want My Psycho Dad (Part 1)"
  • Mark tells the audience that he has "dug up enough dirt on this mystery man to make a luau pit for Anna Nicole Smith!"
    • Anna Nicole Smith was an actress and Playboy Playmate, known for her curvaceous body that was not the norm for a model and for having a voracious appetite as Mark alluded to. At the time this episode was filmed, she had recently married a millionaire who was 89 years old and accused of being a gold digger by the media.
  • A mask of Darth Vader from the Star Wars franchise can be seen stacked up near a window in Booth A and is painted red.
  • When Nikolai tries to warn Bud about their conversation with April being aired on the radio, Bud tells him "Hey! You'll get your shoot, Hoop Dreams!"
    • Hoop Dreams is a 1994 documentary film about two African-American teens from Chicago who try out for a prestigious high school basketball team and dream of playing playing professionally for the NBA.
  • After Bud suggests that he and Nikolai get a beer after April dumps both of them, Nikolai tells him "Ok, but an O'Douls for you, little friend".
    • O'Doul's is a low-alcohol beer that has less than 0.5% ABV and is made by Anheuser-Busch, who also make Budweiser beer.



  • Bundy Living Room / Kitchen
  • W-HIP Lobby / Booth A / Booth B
  • Trumaine University campus grounds


  • When Marcy gets up and sheepishly asks Mark and Oliver to talk about the terms of surrender, she stands by the door between Booth A and Booth B. Then, when the camera cuts to Oliver as he tells her that its his fight, she is somehow closer to the door next to the tape machine.
  • When Mark informs Oliver that he can stop reading from the book of bylaws, he has his hands on his waist. As the camera shifts to Oliver as he believes his speech won the crowd, it shows Mark from the back with his hands still on his waist. Immediately the camera cuts back to Mark and he is now standing with his arms folded as he tells Oliver that he is the man.
◄ Season 8 Season 9 Episodes Season 10 ►
Shoeway to HeavenDriving Mr. BoondyKelly Breaks OutNaughty but Niece
Business Sucks (Part 1)Business Still Sucks (Part 2)Dial B for VirginSleepless in Chicago
No Pot to Pease InDud BowlA Man for No SeasonsI Want My Psycho Dad (Part 1)
I Want My Psycho Dad: Second Blood (Part 2)The Naked and the Dead, but Mostly the NakedKelly Takes a Shot
Get the Dodge Outta Hell25 Years and What Do You Get?Ship Happens (Part 1)
Ship Happens (Part 2)Something Larry This Way ComesAnd Bingo Was Her Game-OUser Friendly
Pump FictionRadio Free TrumaineShoeless AlThe Undergraduate