Do you miss Dave FM since its death last fall?
Plenty of people do. But not enough that any existing radio company that owns an FM signal in Atlanta is willing to revive the adult rock format.
Margot Chobanian, former music director and ultimately assistant program director for Dave FM who stayed with the station from its launch in 2004 until its demise last fall, has launched an Web alternative for people who still want a mix of music featuring Avett Brothers, Alabama Shakes, Muse and Fun. (You might remember her professional radio name as Margot Smith.)
Called EAV Radio, it's named after her home the past 10 years: East Atlanta Village.
Margot says she wants this station to eventually become a for-profit operation, with advertisers and marketing events, as well as paid jocks. For now, it's all volunteers.
She has been running the station online for three months in low-key form but is holding an official launch party Friday in East Atlanta at The Midway Pub at 552 Flat Shoals, Ave. from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. She'll have prizes to give away, too. ("Labels are still sending me product," she said.)
She will start voicetracking a mid-day show Monday, March 4.
The station features more independent and current music than Dave FM, reflecting Margot's tastes. "Dave could have been a little more experimental," she said. "Not as much John Mayer, U2 and the Police... There is a lot of stuff people may have forgotten they liked or you think they'll like... There are people with a sense of adventure who don't want to get it from Pandora or their iPod."
With 4,000 songs in her database, she focuses on songs from 1995 to today, except for two specialty programs. On Saturday night, from 9 p.m. to midnight, she hosts a 1980s-focused alternative rock dance show called "180 Minutes," a play off the classic MTV show "120 Minutes." And she revived "Acoustic Sunrise" on Sunday mornings, a regular feature on Dave FM (and before that, a similar version on 99X that harkens back to the mid-1990s.).
She said "Acoustic Sunrise" is the most popular show on her station so far, though she gets the most regulars between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays.
She also wants the station to feel local: "If you listen to many stations here, you can take them out of Atlanta and put them in another city and you'd never know the difference."
Margot, 46, originally thought about leaving radio after more than two decades and go to school to become a vet tech. "But I'm not ready to give up music," she said. Her husband Steven Snider, who is an assistant solicitor general in Clayton County, supported her move. "He functions as an operations manager," she said. Her sister in law Meg Snider designed the logo. Her friend Mike Perdue helped build out her web site.
She is self financing without outside investors but is hoping to model her station after the Birmingham Mountain Radio, a successful on-line radio station with a similar format.
Margot appreciates that CBS Radio, which killed Dave FM for sports talk, is allowing her to try this venture while continuing to work at what replaced Dave FM, 92.9/The Game, as a producer for Jamie Dukes and Jerome Jurenovich.
"I lucked out," she said. "They're both really nice guys."
At Dave, she worked under three different program directors, none who was able to lift the station into the upper reaches of the ratings for any consistent amount of time. The music would veer at times to more classic rock, then less classic rock. They'd play more currents, then less currents. They tweaked the slogans and changed morning shows multiple times. "When we found something that worked, we'd do it to death," she said. (Think Adele.) Ultimately, the ratings took such a dive last year, the writing was on the wall. CBS wanted sports talk on the FM dial. Dave took the hit.
"Rock isn't dying," she said. The people meter system Arbitron uses "is killing rock. They have trouble finding the right samples."
And again, she gives credit to GM Rick Caffey and her current employer CBS: "They gave Dave a good run for eight years."
Here's EAV Radio's current most played songs:
LUMINEERS STUBBORN LOVE 31
DAWES FROM A WINDOW SEAT 31
ALABAMA SHAKES HANG LOOSE 28
OF MONSTERS & MEN MOUNTAIN SOUND 28
AVETT BROTHERS FEBRUARY SEVEN 28
MUMFORD & SONS LOVER OF THE LIGHT 28
CALEXICO MAYBE ON MONDAY 27
FUN CARRY ON 25
THE MOWGLI’S SAN FRANCISCO 24
FRIGHTENED RABBIT THE WOODPILE 24
JAKE BUGG TWO FINGERS 24
CHARLIE MARS HOW I ROLL 21
DEPECHE MODE HEAVEN 21
MUSE PANIC STATION 21
KOPECKY FAMILY BAND HEARTBEAT 21
VILLAGERS NOTHING ARRIVED 21
NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS JUBILEE STREET 21
JOHNNY MARR UPSTARTS 21
AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT TIMELESS 21
EMELI SANDE NEXT TO ME 21
SALLIE FORD & THE… PARTY KIDS 21
IMAGINE DRAGONS DEMONS 21