The Daily Whim

The Daily Whim

Thu. Jul 22, 2004

A Radio Station Named Dave

I read these things, and can’t help but giggle. I know I shouldn’t. It’s only because I escaped this kind of career torture. This is how the radio business works, when a station decides to change formats:

The news leaked prematurely Tuesday, when an employee from parent company Infinity Broadcasting accidentally sent a mass email to the media meant for internal use, mentioning Z93’s new name and program director.

When reached for comment late Tuesday afternoon, Z93’s program director Frank Jaxon said he wasn’t aware about the impending change. He was terminated soon after, Caffey confirmed, replaced by Michelle Engel, a North Springs High School grad who had been helming a Portland ‘80s station.

By 7 p.m., Z93 pulled its jocks off the air, including evening deejay MaKenzie Taylor, morning show Mara and Dunham and mid-day host Willard.

Davis and co-host Jeff Dunham remain under contract at Dave FM, but veteran deejay Kaedy Kiely, Taylor and Willard will not be back, said Scott Woodside, a former Z93 morning host who still knows people at the station.

That’s the way it goes in radio, a cold, cold business. The PD finds out about a format change via a media inquiry, and the majority of the staff is then let go on the shortest of notice. It happened to me on my very first fulltime gig in the summer of 1978, when WKZL-FM in Winston-Salem, NC, switched from album rock to Top 40, and half the staff (including me) was let go. No warning, just a check for two weeks pay and a bye-bye, out of the blue. It happens all the time.

And, yes, you read that right, some remain “under contract at Dave FM.” Dave FM. Along with most of their staff, they abandoned a 30 year old brand name, Z-93, to become Dave FM (Slogan: “Rock without rules”). That’s their new format. No, it’s not just music by guys named Dave, it’s … well, they can’t describe it, so they named it Dave. Seriously.

Remember that Microsoft program called Bob? It’s a bit like that. Probably be about as successful, too.

Peanut Gallery

1  Harvey wrote:

Wow. I thought I was the only person who remembered Microsoft Bob.

2  e wrote:

I had the same thoughts about the new name / format going in – I grew up with all of the incarnations of z-93. But, after a weekend of listening to it while working on my house, I must say that I’m pleasantly surprised. They play some really good stuff.

We’ll see, I suppose.

Comment by e · 07/26/2004 02:44 PM
3  Sheila wrote:

Z93 is an icon….Dave fm is not.
Enough said.

Comment by Sheila · 07/26/2004 03:02 PM
4  Reid wrote:

Well, I have to admit, I haven’t listened to one minute of the new format. I did my time in radio, and now the only place I listen to the radio at all is in the car. In my truck, there’s four buttons; Z-93 (er, whatever), 96 Rock, 99X, and “Off.” It usually takes me about ten seconds with the first three buttons to end up on that fourth button. However, since my wife got the Mustang with Sirius satellite radio, broadcast radio just seems so … quaint. “Oh, listen, they have commercials! I remember those…”

But Sheila, you’re right, Z-93 is an “icon” in Atlanta. It’s one you don’t toss off lightly after 30 years. And if you do, you’d better be committed to the new format, because you’re going to alientate a goodly percentage of those 30 years of listeners. At least for a while.

If I were the guy making the call, I’d be asking one question: “Do you think the ‘brand’ name ‘Dave FM’ has the staying power to still be used in 2034?”

5  POJ wrote:

Carrainius Derrierous, or Millionaire Wanted: To sponsor Classic Rock in Atlanta…

This move is about as smart as Cokes formula change…

Comment by POJ · 07/26/2004 07:43 PM
6  Cheryl wrote:

I am from Atl. Z93 was an icon.
I am very disapointed with the new music. Changing the music was like changing the flavor of Coke. I can assure you that the first button on my radio will be changed also. I’ll be looking for a new station that plays music from my time zone… Good grief please
leave somethings alone. If they
aren’t broke DON’T fix it.

Comment by Cheryl · 07/27/2004 04:01 PM
7  Jason Forkin wrote:

This is a tragedy. For the last 30 years Z93 has been an icon in the ATL. The Mara and Dunham radio show is, by far, Atlanta’s best morning show program. Willard in the daytime and Kaidy K in the afternoon’s completed a great lineup. Whatever cost saving middle manager made this decision will certainly not be in his position long enough to see this new format fail miserably. I just hope it fails soon enough to re acquire some of the best talent in Atlanta before all the employees farm out to different markets and jobs!

Thanks for listening. Perhaps we should all flood the station with calls and show our support for Z93!

Jason Forkin

8  Jessica wrote:

I’ve listened to it a bit, and it feels so . . . metrosexual.

I’m not meaning that as a compliment.

On the other hand, I think the changes 99X has made to its format—“New Rock and 90s Alternative”—haven’t been bad; they seem to be branching out their playlist a bit more.

I have to say I’m increasingly turning into That Pretentious Indie Chick, with WREK and Album 88 on all the time.

9  Mel Andersen wrote:

I’m so glad Mara & Davis are not On. I agree with the article in the Atlanta-Constitution Journal last week on their show.
Finally, a radio station in Atlanta that plays Roxy Music!!

Comment by Mel Andersen · 07/29/2004 05:33 PM
10  diane wrote:

C’mon,whats up here?I’m a long time Z93 fan,my children and grandchildren also…but now we have had to find another station.
Whoever made these changes,i hope will realize their mistake before it’s too late.
Wow,this just blows

Comment by diane · 08/03/2004 12:44 PM
11  Paula Jones wrote:

Dave fm is now my favorite radio station. I was so ready to stop hearing those same old tired classic rock songs – and I’m in my 40’s. I love the obscure rarely-heard tunes, and am always wondering what Dave fm will play next. WAY TO GO!! On the other hand, I will miss some of the great dj’s Z-93 had – I wish them the best & maybe I’ll get to hear them somewhere else on my dial.

12  Amanda Chappell wrote:

Maybe I am from a different planet, and I definately haven’t been on this one (er the Atlanta one) long enough, apparently. You see, I struggle to see any radio station as an icon, but, heed my words, people: You have to know something: In other worlds, there are DJs who know stuff about music, who have only interesting things to say and don’t just play the “classics”.
I have switched and switched and switched radio stations in Atlanta desperately hoping to find something with music that is not all the same sounding, or in fact just the same (track list to Star FM is usually about 3 songs rotated as uniquely as possible around the inane twotter the poncy out-dated DJs let spurge out of their mouths). I gave 99X a chance and they have a decent bit here and there and when they do actually acknowledge bands outside of America (or even American bands that are more popular in other countries than the same old lot here) that are not just alive but quite positively STOMPING in the UK and Europe; they start to get it right. As for Dave FM: since i first heard them at the weekend, i have been listening to nothing else (after NPR of course, as we aren’t all savages who just try to hear on the radio what we have in our CD collections at home anyway). Did anyone else notice New York band StellaStarr* come into Atlanta a few months ago? No but everyone seems to notice dying rock “legends”. Oh yeah back to DAVE FM.. What i am saying is seeing as there is no radio station that seems willing to break the mould and mix all styles (rock, a wee bit of rap, dance, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s and even the odd hokey pop tune just for gits and shiggles, ), well, Dave FM is at least 80% listenable to 50% of the time. I remember Z-93 when i flicked throught the channels but it never seemed to be as interesting as the Spanish sounding stations where people shout loudly on a crackly wavelength.
Keep trying, Atlanta.

13  T Floyd wrote:

I hear what you’re saying, Amanda… I grew up here in Atlanta, listening to Z93 and 96Rock, and have a certain sentimental attachment to both monikers. But neither have ever been able to hold a candle to stations I’ve listened to in other cities, where the DJs actually know something about the music they play, sprinkle in deep cuts and obscure artists (like the old WHFS in the DC area), stations that really turned me on to some awesome music that didn’t hit Atlanta’s airwaves til a couple of years later.

Every now and then I can find decent radio scattered throughout the day – The Steve Show at noon on 99X, Kaedie was a good voice to hear in the afternoon, Willard pretty much anytime (by the way, does anybody remember John Boy from years ago? I can’t think of Willard without thinking of John Boy), but I still can’t get over how crappy Atlanta radio really is… and this from a mostly lifelong resident (6 of 40 years away) who desperately wants to have good things to say about Atlanta Radio.

So far, I’ve enjoyed the music I’ve heard on Dave FM, but you do have to have some DJ personality to go along with it. I can’t believe I’m actually saying that, because I’m usually complaining about too much ridiculous blathering (used to put up with the 5-song, flavor-of-the-quarter playlist rotation on 99x’s morning show til they put Toucher in charge), and had just settled back into Z93’s morning show. I like finally being able to actually hear music on my morning drive now, but there’s just something weird about Dave’s current no-DJ feel that gives me the willies – in a ‘2001 – A Space Odyssey’ way; just kinda creepy. They at least need Art commenting on something intelligent every now and again.

I say add a few more deeper cuts, keep the DJs they had (just cut back on the talk volume), and let it roll.

I’m sure Kaedie and Willard are gone now, at least from 92.9, but just wanted to put my 2 cents out there.

Comment by T Floyd · 08/06/2004 01:28 AM
14  Juan wrote:


15  linda wrote:

I called ‘michelle’ the program director, she didn’t have the courtesy to be there to answer the phones herself, her VM said she was “too busy with the birth of a new station” ... well, i consider it less a ‘birth’ than an ‘abortion’ frankly, sorry to be crude but… ok so i’m over 30…but i have teenagers and a 30-something son, and NONE of us like the syrupy gooey voice of “daaaaave-FM”, nor do we enjoy most of the music being played on this travesty of the airwaves.

And most of all, i am extremely offended at the abrupt and callous firing of some of the finer DJs in the Atlanta market … proven by their long-time loyalty TO the Atlanta Rock Audience! (Willard and Kaedy, from 96 to 93 to wherever you end up, you’re the best!)

i cannot wish “daaaaave-FM” good luck, because i personally hope it is a financial, ratings, and popularity FLOP!

Hey – Jeff, Willard, Kaedy, you guys get a website or something so we can get in touch with you each directly! let us know PLEASE where you go and what you do… yes i know Jeff and Mara are still “under contract” with “daaaaave-FM” but… i don’t see it lasting any longer than the ink the contract was signed with…

ah well, there’s always the CD and tape player, yes?

Comment by linda · 08/16/2004 02:56 PM
16  linda wrote:

p.s. oh gawd how could i have forgotten to say this…. Art Mehring WE NEEEEEED YOUUUUUUU!

best take on ‘news’ in … 20 … 30 years!!!

Comment by linda · 08/16/2004 06:28 PM
17  joe wrote:

“daaaaave-FM” makes me miss 8-track tape.

If Z-93 wanted more listeners, they could have gone about it in a more sane manner, such as, maybe advertise it in the agressive manner that they are pitching dave fm.

The chances that this change will be sucessfull are about the same as Bin Laden turning himself in, complete with apology.

Comment by joe · 08/19/2004 04:16 PM
18  Mox wrote:

Well, I’ve only lived in Atlanta for a year and a half, so I can’t say that I was too attached to Z-93. But, I did have it programed as one of my stations and I listened occasionally. I have to say though, since Dave fm came about, I haven’t changed the station yet. They are the only station with the guts to play something different for a change. I respect that and applaud the “rock without rules” approach.

Comment by Mox · 08/27/2004 02:57 PM
19  Cindi wrote:

Even my 9 yr old is upset by this change. No more Kaedy Kiely “rock riddle”?? Art saying “this is Art Mehring on Zeee93”!!

I admit that I am a “station switcher”, but I spent more time on Z-93 than any other station. Mira and Dunham in the morning were fantastic.

I do not like Dave FM. Yes they play some good music, but it is NOT consistently good.

Did anyone think to take a survey before comming up with this station?

Kaedy, Mara, Dunham, Willard(loved you on 96 rock and thank you for playing our perfect album side for the drive-in tellers at C&S bank on Lavista) and Art Man Mehring…Please come back, radio is not the same without you!!!!

Comment by Cindi · 09/01/2004 01:09 AM
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