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Where will Mara Davis go now that Dave is going away?

slmodelcitizen-7_1349934Mara 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.

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By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

139 comments Add your comment

Allison Wonderland

August 28th, 2012
7:58 am

I got it!!! Mara and Steve Mornings on ???!!! Mara Davis and Steve McCoy!! Anyone? Anyone?

brian j

August 28th, 2012
8:15 am

I love Mara and will support her wherever she goes. And I agree that she is an Atlanta institution. Been a fan since the Z93 days!!!!!

JK in Acworth

August 28th, 2012
8:27 am

I think the river is a natural fit, so Katy Keily should be a little nervous!

salvatore

August 28th, 2012
8:39 am

With her positive attitude towards life, she has nothing to worry about. Great woman, great talent.

Michelle

August 28th, 2012
8:50 am

I have been listening to Mara since Z93 and will follow her if she lands on a new station. Her Radio Free Lunch hours make your work day enjoyable…..Good Luck Mara!

Tom Haley

August 28th, 2012
9:21 am

Well, there is certain to be a lack of progressive and alternative music in this marketplace, so it would be great to see Mara go where she could help revitalize a station to previous popularity levels. Star 94 could certainly use an image overhaul and Mara would fit perfectly into their style if they would liven up their playlists.

teri

August 28th, 2012
9:21 am

I will follow her as well. She has been a great dj and I have listened to her since Z-93. Funny, classy but yet professional. Good luck, Mara!!

Jennifer

August 28th, 2012
9:24 am

Why does Atlanta need another talk radio station again?? Have been listening to z93 then Dave as long as I can remember. So sad to see it go! I hope Mara stays in Ga!

Harry Callahan

August 28th, 2012
9:26 am

Would love to se her go to 97.1 or 100.5.

Barbara Lacy

August 28th, 2012
9:26 am

I have been a huge fan of Mara’s on the radio for years and was happy to find out she is just as awesome in person when I met her a few years ago. I’ve seen her on occasion since then, and she always remembers me with a big smile and hug. She cracks me up on a daily basis, and I will miss that. So Atlanta BETTER find her a new home! BEST WISHES TO YOU MARA!!!!

A

August 28th, 2012
9:27 am

Mara, Margot and Steve Craig are the best things about Dave. I hope they all land on their feet and in Atlanta!

Patrick

August 28th, 2012
9:28 am

Mara has been great both on and off air. She has supported numerous causes. Without much pestering from me, Mara graciously served as emcee for many fundraisers of the not-for-profit whose board I sat on. Her lunchtime show is an Atlanta institution, along with her laugh and singing along with the daily cheese. Find a new home soon Mara (and hope Elizabeth follows you). You guys are a riot together.

Ellen TN

August 28th, 2012
9:29 am

I’ll definitely miss Dave FM. Hoping Mara finds a home on Atlanta radio again. I’ll definitely follow her. Good luck Mara!

Marsh

August 28th, 2012
9:30 am

Another sports talk station – and on an Atlanta institution. Goody.

Here’s a slogan for you: Atlanta – circling the drain for nearly two decades.

Adam N.

August 28th, 2012
9:30 am

I agree that Mara would fit very well at The River, but my question is……..where will Steve go? I would absolutely LOVE to keep him in Atlanta! Radio really sucked here when he left for NY. If the idiots at Cumulus had a clue, they’d give 99X a better signal and put him back on mid-days!

Gwen

August 28th, 2012
9:30 am

What is the point? Fewer and fewer people are listening to terrestrial radio, especially for the DJs. She always tried too hard to be funny and interviewing some bad country band doesn’t exactly draw listeners.

dave metcalf

August 28th, 2012
9:36 am

It is sad to see DaveFM leave the airwaves. When DaveFM first came on the air it was like they copied my music collection and started to play all of my music. I am a huge contributor/fan to the Radio Free Lunch and hope Mara will continue to have that time slot somewhere on the dial. I for one will find her. If she leaves Atlanta, I guess I will have to find her on line.

Linda

August 28th, 2012
9:43 am

Cannot believe DaveFM is ending. I will miss Steve and Mara and Margot. But most of all, I will miss the phenomenal mix of tunes they play. Best of luck to the music folks who are losing their gigs at DaveFM.

Marsh

August 28th, 2012
9:47 am

Yes, GWEN, but everyone is not you and people that listen to radio LISTEN TO RADIO which is what this is about. And it sucks one of Atlanta’s few halfway decent stations is not only going all talk, it’s going sports talk, the lowest form of communcation. Boo.

Play music

August 28th, 2012
9:51 am

She talks too much.
now the whole station is sports talk? ugh.
how about 24hr weather talk? more useful at least.

Jo

August 28th, 2012
9:52 am

She is the only radio personality in Atlanta that is listenable. Love her personality and energy!

ez

August 28th, 2012
9:56 am

I’ll miss Dave FM. Have listened to Mara since Z-93 and will listen wherever she goes.

Bill Brasky

August 28th, 2012
10:01 am

I really don’t care about the DJs as they don’t add anything and take away from the music but man, Dave FM was absolute crap. Some people may like Tom Petty and the Police over and over again but the rest of us have taste.

Rickster

August 28th, 2012
10:02 am

I think that anti-compete clauses should be one-sided. If the station cuts you loose, you’re free to go anywhere you can find a job – unless they continue to pay you during the non-compete period. If you leave, you have to wait.

WQXI

August 28th, 2012
10:03 am

Doesn’t Gary McKee need a new co host??

Sandy Springs guy

August 28th, 2012
10:04 am

leave it to Gwen to be the lone person to go negative on a post. You are what I call the typical American these days and the root of so many problems. whine, complain & attempt to belittle someone or something. This article is about one of Atlanta’s best on air talents and what the future holds for her and local radio. If you think she is trying to hard to be funny then you clearly do not have a clue and to add the comment about a Grammy award winining act that has sold over 14 million albums is bad just confirms you are unhappy with your own life. It is her personality that everyone who listens to her and enjoys. I’ve discussed this article with co-workers and most do not even listen to Dave FM, but they’ve all heard her at one time or another and agreed she is top-notch. So stop and think before you post something negative.

Matt the Brave

August 28th, 2012
10:09 am

Seems like in Atlanta that unless you listen to country (gag), then you’re SOL right now. I’ll be honest, I like listening to sports talk, but more often than not, I’m running the dial trying to find something with good music on. For the last year, it’s been less and less.

Disbott3000

August 28th, 2012
10:12 am

Oh, God. MORE sports talk. Another station I will be able to unprogram from my car radio presets. Well, I hope she ends up somewhere because she’s great to hear, always entertaining. Good luck, Mara.

SAWB

August 28th, 2012
10:13 am

Joey

August 28th, 2012
10:13 am

I had no idea DaveFM was going away…such a shame! I love the music they play and I love Mara Davis…I’m sure she’ll find a home. She’s too good not to.

HughGrection

August 28th, 2012
10:23 am

Have to agree with Gwen. Listened when it was Z93 and tolerated Mara in the afternoon. Dave FM was not to my liking so deleted the station off my pre-sets. She tries too hard to be funny and falls short. Found her to be on the obnoxious side. Just another victim of the times and economy. She’s not alone tho in the unemployment line.

Rich Black

August 28th, 2012
10:24 am

I’ve never heard of her.

Jennifer G.

August 28th, 2012
10:25 am

LOVE Mara. I thought her interview with Kristian Bush was EXCELLENT! I felt lucky to be commuting in the middle of the day that day.

Treetop Flyer

August 28th, 2012
10:31 am

Dave FM was the ONLY station worth a damn on Atlanta radio. I guess I’ll finally give in and get satellite now. Can’t stand the other crap on the local FM dial.

Mara is 43 !?!?!?!?...

August 28th, 2012
10:34 am

…time flies when you’re having fun…gosh, I am old…

DScha

August 28th, 2012
10:36 am

Barry Blakely

August 28th, 2012
10:37 am

I’m not sure I buy the idea that local radio talent is in short supply. Just look at Randy & Spiff and their following. Now, if you actually mean that the local stations are too cheap, stupid or both, to actually pay for the talent we want to hear…then that’s another question. Then station owners cannot understand why Atlanta doesn’t listen.

Kathryn

August 28th, 2012
10:39 am

Will really miss you Mara. I hope another local station picks you up. What about a Mara and Monet show? Would love to hear that.

Motocross Survivor

August 28th, 2012
10:41 am

Well liked? I find her annoying, and avoid her. I’m sure some relative in the business can help out.

Motocross Survivor

August 28th, 2012
10:42 am

“Doesn’t Gary McKee need a new co host??”

Bingo.

TYB Beach Bum

August 28th, 2012
10:45 am

I hope their new format crashes and burns. ATL really doesn’t need another sports talk show. What is needed is a station that plays great music like 92.9 currently does.

Frank Roberts

August 28th, 2012
10:46 am

GUYS, NOBODY CAN CRITIQUE ANYTHING. JUST READ SANDY SPRING GUYS POST ABOUT BEING NEGATIVE AND HE WILL EXPLAIN TO YOU WHY IT IS BAD AND YOU SHOULD JUST ACCEPT EVERYTHING AND NOT TRY TO IMPROVE THINGS. THAT WAY WE CAN KEEP ATLANTA LIKE IT IS, LIKE IT IS 1956.

Drew

August 28th, 2012
10:47 am

Wow…had no idea Dave FM was going off air. Only good station in Atlanta. We were loyal listeners…

ChazInATL

August 28th, 2012
10:50 am

LOVE Mara! Atlanta is long overdue for a REAL radio station. Shame it will most likely never have one. Hate to see you go Mara – - you DESERVE better!

Calling It Like It Is

August 28th, 2012
11:02 am

Way to stir up controversy yet again. All you have to do is to mention Atlanta radio and the flood gates open. That tells you that this market just plain sucks for a top 10 radio market. Let’s not forget the other talent there as well. Steve (who knows his music. Period…) and Margot ( who definitely has an ear for music). Mara is better fit at The River, whereas Steve and Margo would be more inline with Project or Rock 100.5. 99x has a weak signal and isn’t that relevant in today’s day and age. CBS made a BAD BAD decision to flip to Sports Talk. Oldies is exactly that…old. The old AOR format needs to come back. Give the jocks and audience a little more input on what is being played instead of a computer generated playlist that only rotates the same 10 songs over and over.

Rod

August 28th, 2012
11:08 am

formatically??

TT

August 28th, 2012
11:08 am

Where ever she goes….I will follow!!!!

TT

August 28th, 2012
11:11 am

…… and I do not listen to Sports Talk so the #1 radio button in my car will soon be reset.

pb

August 28th, 2012
11:11 am

Mara did talk a lot between songs on Dave FM, but that is part of her appeal. Some do find her a bit obnoxious and not funny. But I thought she was different and kind of refreshing. She did pretty well in a male dominated industry. Maybe she will find a new home on Atlanta FM radio.

lkjlkj

August 28th, 2012
11:16 am

Rodney, any idea if they’ve signed anyone yet for the sports talk? I’m especially curious about afternoons — going against Chuck & Chernoff and Archer & Bell is going to be a really tough task, even with the signal. I wonder if 790 will eventually go away & much of there talent will end up there.