Which came first…? The D & D Show or The Fans?
Jeff Deminski and Bill Doyle of the former 97.1 show, affectionately known simply as the“D & D” show are determined to show their listeners a night they won’t soon forget.
Although there hasn’t been anything to listen to for the past year, on New Years, they are throwing a listener party at Snookers of Utica. From the plans unveiled so far, sounds like it will be the “mutha” of all New Years parties. It also includes a couple of live segments to be broadcast after the stroke of midnight, and yes, the band Mind Candy, headed by show producer Rudy DeSantis will help celebrate as well.
Their new show on WCSX, 94.7, officially kicks off January 5th, but they rather cleverly thought “What if we could be on the air the very second we legally could?”
A non-compete clause in their old contract at the old station prevented them from doing a show on Detroit radio for a full year. A podcast on the WCSX website, however, did give them a chance to say a few words to their fans without infringing on the old agreement.
Deminski has said of the new show, “We wouldn’t be here without the fans.”
But the fans wouldn’t be there in the first place if Jeff and Bill hadn’t worked their tails off to deliver a show listeners actually connected with. It's no different than winning (or losing) sports teams.
During their eight years of survival on 97.1, their former station, numerous show hosts came and went. No one lasted as long as D & D. When the terrestrial version of Howard Stern’s show went away, CBS invented the “Free FM” format. A variety of morning hosts were given a chance, but none survived. Only D & D survived in afternoon drive. The rest of the broadcast day was also gradually torn apart, as various hosts were fired, some supposedly simply to reduce costs. There was no shortage of talent in the other time slots, but they were never given much of a chance to prove themselves.
In the fall, a year ago, D & D invited listeners to visit the station to celebrate their 8th anniversary. There were so many, they were paraded only briefly through the studios. Ultimately, D & D wound up abruptly shifted to mornings during the final moments of their old contract.
For whatever reason, the show caught on with listeners and a “fan base” actually developed who became an important part of the show, along with the show’s producers.
Through a fan website and Yahoo group, fan support continued even during this past year the guys were off the air.
In December of 2007, D & D walked away from a new CBS contract because its duration was longer than they were prepared to work for the company.
I have tried to explain in these blogs what makes a show like this successful. In fact, it will work for other formats.
Being yourself and being creative is a big plus. D & D shared their lives with their listeners. They are real people like you might find at the neighborhood pub, as were the people involved in producing the show. Everyone who called in or in any way was heard also became a part of the show. There were sad moments, and there were deliriously hilarious moments. Any emotion that humans can feel was part of the show.
It could probably be said that the so-called “Hot Talk” format was a failure in Detroit, but not the D & D version of the format. Again, how does one survive eight years in a market doing basically the same format without acknowledging some level of success?
Detroit radio has been mediocre to poor for many years in part due to budget cutbacks, and the fact that apparently the market can no longer afford the level of talent it had been accustomed to. D & D came along from a smaller market, and simply did the best they could do on a day-in day-out basis. For whatever combination of reasons, their “working class regular guy” approach caught on and the show actually became profitable before anyone had a chance to take them OFF the air!
So who came first? D & D! Their likable on-air persona attracted regular listeners who ultimately became “fans” especially when the show went off the air.
Whenever you put someone new on a station in a new slot, there is always fallout. Obviously, that applied at WCSX.
Veteran broadcasters Jim Johnson and Lynne Woodison were shown the exit door at Greater Media. Their contract had wound down. The timing was right, but not for them.
It sucks to be in that position. I’ve been there.
My “On-Air” career eventually came to “one of” its ends when talk show veteran, Stacy Taylor was hired to replace my show in the Ann Arbor area decades ago. I wasn’t given a chance to do Stacy’s style of radio, but I unlike D & D, WAS given the chance to say “good-bye.” Stacy was ultimately fired a couple years later (as was I, doing drive time in another market). We were both replaced by syndicated shows fed by satellite. It happens.
Stacy is still on the air today in Los Angeles, having a background that included WLS in Chicago. I am doing technical maintenance and building studios.
And D & D make their triumphant return to the air doing THEIR type of radio that only they do best.
And The Fans will be there, too. You can bet on it.
Best wishes to all, and happy holidays.
- Bob Burnham
Meet the guys in person and hang out New Years at Snookers in Utica or tune in after midnight…94.7 WCSX.
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