Mara Davis is an institution at 92.9, both when it was Z93 and the past eight years as Dave FM.
Now as Dave FM enters its final few weeks of existence before the station segues into sports talk, Davis is letting loose.
The mid-day host has been interviewing folks she wouldn’t have otherwise been allowed to: a local band Shadowboxers and Kristian Bush of country act Sugarland, to name a couple.
With people meter measurement, Dave FM’s past management forced her to cut back on her signature banter between songs. Now that doesn’t matter since the station is toast in a few weeks anyway.
Besides, what can current management do to her? Fire her?
Davis came to Z93 in the mid-1990s and was the only jock to survive the switch to Dave FM in 2004. She has spent most of her years there doing mid-days, with her signature theme-focused lunch hours. Most of the time, her ratings outranked those of other time slots.
Her current Dave FM contract is conveniently up on Friday, August 31. Her agent Norm Schrutt is negotiating with Dave to keep her on air for another 30 days. (The sports talk format is likely to begin in early October.) He is also trying to shorten her non-compete clause so she can get back on air in Atlanta as soon as possible.
Schrutt said he’s confident Davis will be able to find a gig in Atlanta.
Where could Davis end up realistically? She would not come cheaply, of course. She’s an established, well-liked brand in Atlanta, and those are becoming increasingly rare on local radio.
- Rock 100.5 is probably the best home for her. The music mix is a bit harder than Dave FM but Davis could certainly go with the flow. And the Atlanta-based Cumulus Media owners appreciate and nurture personalities (see Q100’s the Bert Show.) She could go on right after the Regular Guys or perhaps in the afternoons.
- 97.1/The River. The format is a bit lighter than Rock 100.5 but again, that wouldn’t matter to Davis. She’d probably have less breathing room at the River since the station has over the years been all about the music, less about personality. But listenership is far greater during the day on the River than Rock 100.5.
- Project 9-6-1. This rock station, which targets males 18 to 34, may skew a bit young for Davis, who is 43.
- 99X. Though she could fit with the station formatically, I doubt the station could afford her given its limited signal at 98.9 and limited ratings.
- Star 94. She knows her pop culture and could certainly slip easily into top 40. She could add some edge to Star 94’s personality slate. Her appeal means she could potentially be courted by Wild, Q100 and B98.5 as well.
Dave FM’s music mix has loosened up as well, with more new songs thrown into the mix, courtesy of Margot Smith.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk