SYRACUSE -- Dave Frisina, who was suddenly fired last week from TK99/105 (WTKW/WTKV) after eight years with the classic rocker, says he's going to stay active in his efforts to promote the local music scene. "The only thing that's changing is I'm not on the radio right now," he tells the Syracuse NewTimes, in an article published today.
In the Syracuse NewTimes article -- which you can read online or pick up for free at dozens of locations around Syracuse for the next week -- Frisina says he'll continue to support local musicians however he can. He says he also has plans to travel -- since it's the first time in 30 years he's had the chance to get away from work for more than a single week at a time.
As you read here last week, Frisina's reputation with local music goes much deeper than the 8 years he spent at TK99. From the time he graduated from SUNY Cortland in 1977 until 2003, he worked across town at 95X (WAQX), where he launched Soundcheck, a weekly show devoted purely to music from local artists. He took the show along with him when he moved to TK99. Galaxy Communications, the Syracuse-based owner of TK99 (and Utica station 96.9 WOUR, where Frisina was also heard), declined to comment on the reason for Frisina's dismissal.
The newspaper refers to Frisina's firing as "2011's biggest WTF moment in Syracuse radio news," even bigger than Jim Reith's dismissal from WSYR in October. Reporter Jessica Novak also took note of various protest movements on the internet, "including un-liking the [TK99] Facebook page and removing the station from preset radio dial options."
To their credit, Galaxy has been allowing fans to speak their minds right on the station's own Facebook page. Plenty of comments were posted after VP/Programming Mimi Griswold announced Frisina was removed from the lineup. In a situation where many companies might prefer to quickly delete any negative comments, Galaxy has only asked listeners to refrain from name-calling; they don't appear to be censoring comments, even those which contain language which wouldn't be allowed on the radio.
Ed Levine and TK99 got rid of the wrong person. They should have replaced the program director, who dosen't even know the meaning of Classic Rock! She also has no familiarity of anything before 1980. Ask about a band that's just a little off the worn out path from the late seventies and she will say "Oh, that was before my time." She seems to have no interest in educating herself in that era. (Isn't that her job?) This individual insists on shoving the same songs down the listeners' throats every single day. Sometimes, you can even set your watch to them because some of them are even played at the same time EVERY DAY!
Then on Fridays they make like they're doing you a big favor, by letting people call in to request a song. But most of the time, they don't sctually play your request, because "It's not in our regular rotation." I thought the slogan was "You say it, we play it"? apparently not so. One time, when Dave was off, they didn't even take any requests that day, but pretended that they were.
Their excuse is that supposedly 80% of their requests (on Friday) are for the same songs that they play everyday. That is very hard to believe. But even if that were true, It seems they play almost none of the other 20%.
I have been trying to request a song that they have in their library for six years. Yet they only play it when they do their A-Z (playing everything in their library).
A listener used to be able to request a song any day of the week. Not so anymore.
And it's no wonder you can't get through on the phone most of the time anymore when you have a DJ who's forced to be working two frequencies simultaneously. How's a guy supposed to answer a call from a listener from two stations at the same time?! Dave Frisina was basically being asked to do the work of two people at the same time because management was too cheap to hire another DJ! If I was in that position, I wouldn't like it at all. I would want to be compensated adequately if I did so.
It's attitudes and cheapskate strategies like this that make satellite radio more appealing all the time. If I was a DJ, I could blow TK99 away with my own personal music library, compared with what they normally play every day. I really have to wonder how grating that is to have to play and listen to the same songs day after day year after year. Sometimes never playing more than the first or second most popular songs of a particular artist. While giving other artists, like Queen, more airplay than they ever received in their heyday.
I wish Dave Frisina well. He is one of the finest gentlemen you would ever want to meet. I know that with his talent, knowledge and experience, he will land an even better gig.
I hadn't listened to TK99 enough lately to know it was that awful. By the looks of it, Citadel has a good shot at succeeding with the rock format, at least enough to cause changes here. Maybe they can hire Frisina while they're at it.
So far as I know, though, WTKW and WOUR acted like one station, playing the same things, the only difference being the commercials each tailored to their market. In that sense they're not much different than how WTKW has it's primary frequency and the repeater for the city.