[../../../_private/magazine_tmp.htm]KFMB FM Wishes Upon a 'Star'

Kim Morrison

 

 

 

 

Shawn Ireland and
Donna Davis

 

 

 

Dave Smiley

BY BEN STURTEVANT

B100 (KFMB FM 100.7), as San Diegans knew it, died May 16. In its place, after a three-week "great radio experiment," is Star 100.7 with a nearly all-female DJ lineup and an "adult Top 40" format.
B100, the once top-rated adult contemporary station, never recovered from losing the popular morning team of Jeff and Jer to its bitter crosstown rival Q106 last spring. Ratings plummeted, longtime DJs got pink slips and confusion reigned supreme.
"The station had put all its money in the morning show and neglected everything else," program director Tom Gjerdrum said. "They were looking for a replacement for Jeff and Jer. John [Lander] and Jools [Brandt] were not a replacement."
Operations manager Tracy Johnson and Gjerdrum figured adjusting the format would be simpler than finding a high-profile morning team.
"Tracy and I looked at it a while," Gjerdrum said of the morning show. "After a while, it's like shooting a dead horse. There are no big-name morning shows available. Everyone's locked into four- and five-year contracts. We wanted to try something different.
"We're not under the gun to turn this station around by the end of '94. It's a two-year plan, maybe more."
The new 100.7 morning team, a pair of Midwestern women, "Shawn and Donna," (Shawn Ireland and Donna Davis) are relieved Star management isn't putting all the pressure on them to reverse the station's fortunes.
"A metamorphosis of the station is occurring," Davis said. "We're absolutely excited. It's a big venture. We're having a good time, and we don't feel like we have to [be immediate superstars] tomorrow."
The wisecracking Ireland agreed.
"There's no pressure - beyond the fact they won't give us permanent parking spaces," she said.
The duo had never worked together prior to their Star stint. Both, however, have been successful morning personalities. Ireland hails from Columbus, Ohio, and graduated from Ohio State. She said she "bleeds scarlet and gray" (the school's colors). She was most recently a top-rated morning host with WNCI in Columbus.
Davis, a native of Chicago, came from WKZW in Peoria, Ill. where she co-hosted the area's No. 1 morning show. She is a big fan of Indiana University, one of Ohio State's Big 10 rivals, but figures she and Ireland will get along anyway.
"They just put us together," Davis said. "We met each other once, and right away you know who you can work with and who you can't. It's chemistry."
Her sidekick's analysis?
"It's women's intuition," Ireland said.
Speaking of women, the Star went out of its way to find female disc jockeys. Other than 23-year-old Dave Smiley, the Star's afternoon drive DJ (3 to 7 p.m.) and another Q106 defector, the rest of the weekday lineup is comprised of women. Kim Morrison follows "Shawn and Donna" from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. After Smiley is Dominica (7 p.m. to midnight). China More, who helped produce the Rick Dees morning show for KIIS in Los Angeles, is the overnight DJ (midnight to 5:30 a.m.).
With the new personalities comes a new format - adult top 40. The music, while more upbeat, doesn't seem to be a radical departure from what B100 played.
"[Adult contemporary] is softer," Gjerdrum said. "In [adult top 40], you can play a lot of newer artists and more hits; it's a little more narrowly defined."
Typical adult top 40 artists include: Mariah Carey, Sting, Elton John, Whitney Houston, Phil Collins, Gin Blossoms, Jade and Janet Jackson.
"It's upbeat and active; it gets you going in the morning," Davis said.
It took KFMB three weeks to decide on the format.
In May, the station began testing new formats on listeners who were invited to call in and offer their opinions on the air. The promotion was dubbed "San Diego's great radio experiment." Formats tested included: '70s disco, country, alternative, classic rock, Elvis songs, MTV dance and Disney music.
Listeners had plenty to say about the experiment.
"We've learned a lot from the audience," Gjerdrum said. "We got so much more input than we expected. We had to change the [answering machine] tapes all the time."
Not surprisingly, some of KFMB's rivals were critical of the "experiment."
"I think it's a joke," Q106 program director Greg Stevens said at the time. "It's a ploy for attention."
Maybe so, but attention is precisely what the languishing station needs.

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