FAQ-What happened at WIBC?

What happened at WIBC?

WIBC is owned by Emmis Communications (EMMS) a locally based, publicly traded company. While WIBC was down 10% it was still making money (along with another talk station in Phoenix Emmis owns) their stations in New York, Chicago and LA were down 40%. As Jeff Smulyan (Emmis CEO and founder) told me, radio revenue in Los Angeles, 2 years ago was 1.2 Billion Dollars. This year they expect it to be around 600 Million. The money the company needed to keep these stations, and the other 20 or more around the country running, was draining everything. To keep current with their lenders they had to take drastic action. Across the board, every department at all the radio stations and magazines had to cut back a certain dollar amount. Indy radio’s figure was $550,000.00. So they released the Program Director, Jon Quick, removed the Palm Trees in the lobby, changed coffee service, gave all employees in Indy a 5% pay cut and released me.

Was I surprised? Yes. Thursday March 5th 11:45 Am, I’m in my office writing jokes when I was asked to come into another office. They said, “We need to make some changes so we have to let you go. Here’s your Severance package, the company will pay the first month of COBRA. This is not performance related, just business, any questions?” Nope. And that was it. Took maybe 3 minutes. I know it wasn’t pleasant for them and I wasn’t going to change their mind, so what was there to say?

As I left the building and walked past the many people that I’d worked with for 13 years and 7 months, none of them aware of what just happened, I felt surprised, dismayed and now that I look back and have had time to really appraise my feelings, relieved.

The show that I was doing in March of 2009 was not the show I had been doing for the first 12 years or so. The ratings for my show and the stations were the best they had ever been! But it was no fun anymore. They moved Joe to mornings and I completely understood why. Matt had been gone for sometime by now and was doing a great job as Asst. PD. That left me with no one to play with, or off of. Mel was doing traffic and could join me for the first half of the program, but them she moved up stairs and that was on the days they let her come down from the newsroom to hangout. Sometimes she had to stay on the 4th floor.

The board operator they had running my show was a long time WIBC employee and did a good enough job pushing buttons but we were not on the same page on any level. It was a distraction for me (not his fault, he was just being himself) when he was in the studio. Not very conductive for a good fun show.

So after all the years and all those shows it was time to move on and find something else to-do. No hard feelings, 13 years 7 months is For Ever in the radio business. It was a great job while it lasted, and it lasted longer than I thought it would.

Bean-Mel me
Mel and I doing a Colts pregame show from the Hurst Bean Lot, fall of 2008

46 Responses to “FAQ-What happened at WIBC?”

  1. Dave, I really enjoy keeping up with you through your website, and to be honest, I didn’t even know this story! I found out 12 minutes before the show you were gone. That was a crazy and very difficult day in my radio career. I love you and wish you the best ever. I learned a lot from you and continue to… I’ll see you soon. xoxo

  2. King, Great seeing you in the month of May! Your story is incredibly similar to so many others (including my own!) The economy has sidelined bunches of great broadcasters—so sad. Best wishes in the future and I’ll see ya around town!
    Gunner

  3. I know you say you were not having fun anymore, however we all loved the the show. As a person who watches buisiness I can’t see the logic of replacing a top rated show with a very lame one. This is akin to firing all of your salesmen to gain marketshare. I really try and listen to Steve but I can’t. I really do miss you
    Doug

    • davethekingwilson Says:

      Doug,
      Thanks for the kind thoughts and words. Notes like yours make everything I did on WIBC worthwhile. Hope to be on the air again soon.
      Dave

  4. Dave,
    Congrats on the change in scenery (although 3 months later, it probably doesn’t feel like a change in scenery). A good-sized pot of my favorite memories at WIBC involved you or you involving me. Thanks a bunch. You are still The King. Thangyouverymush…

  5. I have a long commute home from Indy to Bloomington. Your show was great entertainment for my drive time. I often literally laughed out loud, and was educated along the way. I appreciate that your show was kept clean and generally out of the gutter. I try to do an impression of Turk and relate some of the hilarity he brought to the show to friends from time to time. I even called up once when you were on vacation as Turk’s brother Butch Buford. I didn’t make it on the air, but had a good laugh with the person who answered the phone. I miss your show. Thanks for the web site to keep up with you. I don’t listen to WIBC any longer. I have tuned in a couple of times, but it isn’t the same (nothing against Steve). Thanks!

    • davethekingwilson Says:

      Thanks Paul for listening and for the kind words. Maybe one day I’ll be back on the air, let’s hope.
      Dave

  6. John Patton Says:

    Dave,

    A truly chilling tale of what’s wrong with the radio industry. They CAN NOT and WILL NOT be able to save enough to stay in business.

    • Dave,
      I too have had a hard time staying on the afternoon show. I have turned from 93.1 more in the last 3 months than I ever did in the previous 10 years. I have warmed up to the morning show a little more but is it not the same. I hope you are back on the radio soon.

  7. Dave,

    Glad I finally found your blog! I still really miss your ‘wacky bits’ on IBC! Stever is just a boring person with a whole afternoon to himself. Big Joe is (still) saddled with Terri Stacy on the morning show. Garrison isn’t fun or particularly informative any more. Most of the once-outstanding news team is gone. Buh bye, IBC, except for Rush from 12-3. Now that Mel McMahon is gone, I’ve moved on to Q(100-5) during drive-time.

    Sudden thought: With Emmis stock at about a quarter a share, maybe if we took up a collection at the Brickyard 400, we could buy the station from Smulyan and turn things around!

  8. Bill Totten Says:

    Hey Dave,

    It was sure nice to hear your voice this morning. I used to listen every day to the Dave and Joe show. If the management at WIBC cares, I don’t listen to the afternoon show anymore. Steve is just boring.

    I heard the club closed down as well. Sure seems like life has hit you pretty hard. If you would like some prayer, please let me know what to pray for and I will pray for you.

    I wish you all the best.

    Bill Totten

  9. We go way back to our softball days @ Central State
    (just visiting right ! ) and whe you first got on the air I used to listen to you on the AM dial way over into Ohio as I was returning from Columbus every day.

    I’d always bust out as you tried to crack a smile or even a small giggle out of Lee as she was finishing her news.

    When you guys went FM, I know for most folks it was a good thing, but us trucker and all my Farmer friends up north missed Greg, Rush, and You because the FM signal
    never carried past Lafayette very well and it was pretty frustrating as Chicago station 93.1 cut in and out on you while listening.

    Maybe Stever is cheaper for them, but I can’t believe the newsy format keeps many folks around for long like you did.

    As my day (usually 12 hrs long 5 days a week) wore on and sucked more each minute, It was nice to know I could tune you in and get a nice laugh and then some.

    Have fun at the Race for Riley and Maybe before long you’ll
    turn up on aother channel.

    Hug Mel too !

  10. Dave The King
    Wow do I miss you and Big Joe and yes Matt too. Why they got rid of you I don’t understand. As soon as Rush is over I tune to another station or turn it off. Steve’s show is so boring just lousey rehash of local politics and the obvious. You made the afternoon go so fast I have sat in the car for 30 minutes or more just to finish the show before I went into the house.
    The very best of success in the future.
    ex WIBC fan
    Larry

  11. I was disturbed that I never heard any announcement from WIBC as to where you were – not even a blip on the website. You were just gone with listeners wondering what happened. I was so glad to hear you back on the air this week and get connected to your website. I have listened ever since you were on the air with WIBC and always really enjoyed your program. I too have found my radio loyalty drifting to other things in the afternoons. I wish you the best of luck in new endeavors and hope that the closing door will bring unexpected opportunities.

  12. Stephany Says:

    It was so refreshing to hear you and Mel yesterday!!!! I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed both of you on the air. What the heck are they thinking over there? It was finally good radio again. I think Mel was an underutilized talent before, and I was stunned when I learned she was gone.

    In 2005, I moved to another state & one of the things I missed most was WIBC. What a disappointment that they are mucking it up so badly now that I’m back in Indiana for good.

    I would definitely love to be contacted if either of you end up on another station. Meanwhile, I’ll just have to enjoy the next 2 days.

  13. King,

    It was old times, listening to the King and all the good works that you have done for the community, especially Riley! I’m glad that you are back, even if it’s for just a couple of days. I had stopped listening to Steve… just too boring and nothing… no, no laughs. I was happy to listen to you yesterday and hear your laughter, how refreshing! I’m only listening these three days because I know that you are just around…. helping our community. Kudos to Emmis for giving you this opportunity to continue with your ministry. VAYA CON DIOS!

  14. Dave: I returned in April from being in Florida for 5 months and you were gone…POOF.! I Googled to see you had been let go but never heard the story until I found the website after hearing you on WIBC on Monday. I was so estastic when I heard the familiar voice I almost drove off the road. I thought WIBC had come to their senses at last but alas it was only temporary. Things started downhill at the station when Jeff Pigeon left and you were the final nail in the coffin for me. Unfortunately I don’t fall into that magic 18-49 demographic the advertisers listen to but I can’t wait till you surface again on the air.

  15. Dave, I pastored a little church in southeastern Indiana from 1992 – 1999 and listened to your program after Rush on afternoons that I could. It was a great program. . . lots of fun and good clean humor. It was one of the reasons we fell in love with Indiana.

    I am sure you will do well as you are obviously a gifted individual.

    Pastor Jim Rice
    Endicott, NY

  16. KING
    OH MAN!
    It was so good to hear you on Monday, even if for only three days. I listened everyday. Now not so much. Steve is a good news guy but not a good on air guy. Lets just say that I leave it on WIBC/Stever when I need a nap in the afternoon. What can we do to get you back on air? …get people to sign a petition…one week a year do a radio givathon to pay to have Dave on the radio. Whatever it is I am there!! You crack me up! You have my alltime favorite joke…(punchline) Why that bird is a half mile away by now!

  17. Jim in Muncie Says:

    King:
    It has been great hearing you doing the R4R. I knew I would miss you in the afternoons, but until I heard you this week, I didn’t realize the fun radio listening USED to be.

    Met you and Joe several years ago at a Sprint function and you guys were a bigger hit for me than Peyton and/or Marvin. (Not sure my son would agree)

    If I can tune the station where you land, it will become my new favorite, but if it is out of the area, I hope the stream the content! Your wit, candor and personality will light up some station somewhere. Impossible to recreate the old days with The King, Big Joe and Matthew D, but we can live with our memories of the best radio group in a long time.

  18. Welcome back King even if it is only temporary.

  19. Glenn Betourne Says:

    I cannot say it any better then what has already been said on the above e-mails.

    You had a GREAT show and I listened everyday when I was in town. It made a tough day a good one!!

    Steve does his best but indeed it is a somewhat boring show – usually not adding alot to anything which was on the news earlier either radio or newspapers

    Hopefully you will BE BACK

  20. Alan & Dawn Franklin Says:

    As with all the other bloggers on your site, we were shocked when learned you were no longer on IBC. We have a long commute in the afternoons and listening to your show made the commute actually enjoyable! We’d find ourselves laughing out loud at your jokes and watching to catch a glimpse of you in the window of the Emmis building as we passed through downtown. When we’d see you we’d say, hey, there’s Dave! When my wife tuned in to the radio this afternoon just to cruise through the stations in hopes to catch the traffic she thought she was listening to a recorded program on IBC from last year. When she realized you and Joe were really on, she called me to let me know indeed you were back on the air! Even though we really need good traffic reports for our drive home, we quit listening to IBC altogether and just do without. To us, you were THE afternnoon radio talk show. Hearing your voice this afternoon was like listening to the voice of an old friend. We wish Emmis would see their mistake and bring you back. If you’d come back… We love ya Dave! Keep up all the good work you do out there for our community.

  21. Rob Pike Says:

    Dave:

    I really miss your terrific show in the afternoons. It was great to hear you beck on the air this week. I now spend more time listening to Shawn Hannity on a competing station. Your show was a welcome break after work for my commute from Greensburg to New Palestine. Now I find out Mel is also gone! What are they trying to do – ruin a good station! It’s only as good as the talent, and they are losing it!

    Your exit has been very gracious, but I hope you return someday.

    All the best,
    Rob Pike
    New Palestine, Indiana

  22. I’m one of those guys that pushes a lawn mower for several hours a day–everyday. I can only imagine what people must have thought when they drove by and saw me smiling or laughing out loud as I mowed back and forth. You, Joe, and Matt really made the day go by quickly. Your release by Emmis is a real “head scratcher”. I look forward to the day when I can once again hear you. Take care King….

  23. Dave, in October of last year, I was laid off from the Delphi after 27 years. I know exactly how you feel. The path that Emmis took sounds exactly like Delphi, (you know what kind of shape they are in) cutting off money making shows to prop up stations that are in the toilet is as stupid as it gets. I hope that this week’s return to the air and the comments that ibc gets will be enough for them to realize that they screwed up.

  24. Greg Jordan Says:

    Dave, it has been nearly two years since I moved from Indiana back to my home in Alabama. I spent 11 years in Indiana. During that time, I commuted from Brazil, IN to Indy. I always looked forward to the drive home with Dave “The King” Wilson. Today, I am sitting in my office. I thought, “Hey, it’s about time for Dave to come on.” I went to WIBC’s website and no Dave. I did a quick search thinking, oh no, God forbid that some terrible has happened. Then I saw the news. I was shocked. Your show made WIBC to me. My wife and I have been considering moving back to Indiana. Now, there will be no fun on the drive home.

  25. Dave
    It was great to hear you this week. I miss your show with Big Joe, he is good in the morning but you guys were hilarious. Best of luck in the future.

  26. I have listened to you since you were “The King” on WFBQ with Bob and Tom. When you came over to WIBC I followed and had listened since that time. I still listen to WIBC in the afternoon show but seldom do I laugh out loud or tell someone of a joke I heard while listening to the current show.
    I have listened to WIBC since WAY BACK with Gary Todd and before that even. If it wasn’t for Garrison and Rush I probably wouldn’t listen at all.
    I like the morning show OK but Terri and Joe are not the fit like Joe was on your show. It has been screwed up since Jeff P. left.
    I even wondered what happened to Mel since I have not heard here recently. I must have missed the explanation on WIBC. No! Wait! It might have been like your departure where they never formally even mentioned what happened.
    I remember a character you had very early on with WIBC and the name was funny. Excuse me for the spelling. The name was “Madame Ballzich”
    You almost got away with it. I guess you have to push the envelope to find where it is. I miss Turk!! I don’t venture to the Drink and Duck because if I see him there I will end up with him in jail. He seems to be a bad influence.
    Thanks for the many years of enjoyment you have brought to Indy!!! Hope to hear you soon somewhere on a more regular basis. It is sad to to what you do as well or in your case better than anyone does and yet not be properly appreciated by the employer due to some arbitrary bottom line adjustment.
    Thanks,
    Phil
    ps. Thanks for the race for Riley and all that encompasses!

    • davethekingwilson Says:

      Phil,
      Thank you for all the kind words. Your memory of some of the bits I did is especially nice since it shows you really paid attention and enjoyed the piece. As for the race 4 riley, I will tell you, as this has not been made public yet, that last year we raised $185,000 so far this year we are over $212,000!!!
      Thanks for your support and taking the time to write
      Dave

  27. It was nice to see you at ky this weekend. Had a lot of time to see a lot of people since it was a slow track day. but what a great race. Maybe you and big john my former ja advisor from wnap and piggon can start up your own radio station in noblesville. Remember that tour bus driver at the speedway is open. Just don’t let turk drive and you do the talking

  28. Chris Gaalema Says:

    Dave,
    I was sooo angry at WIBC when they replaced David Catt, (was that his name?) with some bonehead named Dave the King Wilson 13 plus years ago. I got over it though and soon became a loyal listener to your afternoon program. Radio is funny, even though you don’t know us, we think of you as our friend. You, Joe and Matt as well as the numerous guest comedians you had on, made mine and wife’s day for these many years. You are the one that put a smile our face or a laugh in our gut while driving home every afternoon from teaching positions in IPS. When your program suddenly disappeared I felt betrayed by WIBC, an all too familiar feeling with the loss of Pidg and Big John in the mornings. I lodged several complaints with WIBC (including with Matt Hiblin who was quite sympathetic) and warned them that this decision will loose a lot of loyal listeners and revenue. They have lost mine anyway. I now spend most of my listening time at 101.9 and although I enjoy the music, my afternoon smile just isn’t back yet. I wish you well in your future endeavors’ and I do hope that you return to local broadcasting in the very near future. Call Pidg…maybe he can get you a gig on 101.9!!
    Chris Gaalema

  29. Hi – Well this is the first time I have seen this. I travel alot and don’t always catch the show. I became suspicious after a while when all I kept hearing was the Stever. I thought maybe you were on vacation. But then there was no Mel and after a few months of putting 2 + 2 together I figured something like this was up. Its a complete shame and an absolute travesty of a mockery or something negative like that. I’m 42 with a family of 7 kids. I am a relatively new Hoosier of only 5 yrs coming from the Land over to the Left (…it used to just be the Land of Lincoln when I was a kid!) Anyway I caught your show and just loved it! I wanted friends and family to move here just to be able to listen to you! Take care and God Bless! Hey do you know what happened to the Jenna lady on FOX 59? Thats two people from that show that just disappeared without a trace – its kind of spooky. The airwaves in this town seem to form a Bermuda triangle of broadcasting death it seems…sheesh. I really miss Uncle Larr’ too!

  30. Bob Williams Says:

    Hi Dave,
    Hope this finds you well. Can’t tell you how glad I was to find your web site today and find out what happened to you. I don’t listen to WIBC anymore, miss ya too much. You were great, and made the trip home every afternoon a lot more tolerable. Still can’t believe they treated you like they did. I keep listening to Bob and Tom hoping you’ll be on some day. Wishing you much success.

  31. Dick Hoeping Says:

    Dave,
    I was a middle school teacher for 36 years, retiring in 2006. I listened to WIBC every morning as I got ready for work, and every afternoon as soon as my duties were finished. There were many personalities, formats, and management decisions during that time. I must say that during all of that time I connected with your personality and your show more than any other. I felt like I had lost family as Matt, Joe, and finally you, were gone. I looked forward to tuning in each day to forget my troubles and ease the stress and tension that built up during a typical day. Retirement was supposed to make it easier for me to listen to the entire show every day, but that is not the case now. I am among the many who wonder how they let someone as popular and as valuable to the station as you go.
    Good luck in whatever you decide to do, and I’ll look forward to hearing you on the race broadcasts.

  32. Hey King…
    I remember the first time I heard you on B & T. That was great.

    Then I heard you on WIBC, one period early on you would talk to ‘Amy’ and get her all riled up, and finally with big Joe and Matt, and that was even better.

    I am sure you will continue with success and your next endeavor will be the best… because as you would always say:
    ‘It’s great to be alive, and living in Indiana’.

    Take care!

  33. Dave,
    While I am no longer in Indianapolis, I was a die-hard listener from 1995 until 2002. It is December 19, 1995 and I have relocated to Indy from Houston, TX to start a new job. There was a big snow storm and about 18″ of snow was on the ground. I was deicing the rental car for the drive back to the hotel, and I was digging around on the radio looing for a news station.
    I tuned to WIBC and heard Dave saying, “The Mike Tyson speaking engagement at the Indianopolis chapter of the National Organization for Women has been cancelled. No reschedule date has been announced.”
    I was hooked immediately, and to this day I still laugh when I think about that.

  34. Hey king, I miss hearing you in the afternoons. You made my drives home from work much more enjoyable. I remember hearing you banter with Lee Danoon when coming back from the news.
    At the time I thought it was the oddest thing, because for so many years the news people were so serious. I never heard the news people at WIBC laugh until you came along. The biggest shock was when I heard Joe Wambach laughing with you. I always pictured him as a real serious guy.
    I think you were the first one to start doing that, and now it’s a standard.
    WIBC has lost a lot of good talent in the last few years.

    • davethekingwilson Says:

      Thanks Tom,
      Ya the news people didn’t want to appear to be bias so they were generally pretty stoic, I got them a few times:)
      Thanks for the kind note.

      Dave

  35. Hiya Dave. As the guy who coined the term “Staysni-Slacks” and did a few minute stint on your show with the Big Joe, you know how bummed out I was when first they moved him to mornings, and then they did the unthinkable.

    I want to let you know that you treated me and my friend Nate with nothing but complete respect and professional courtesy even though we were just a couple of goofy kids — the drinking game I wrote for the show was silly amateur stuff, but after you read it and had a giggle, you made me feel like a million bucks. You also made my wife and her Little Shop of Horrors gang from Civic Theater feel like superstars when they were on your show. You had a way of doing that for all your guests that will always be remembered in this town — you actually *listened* to what they had to say and highlighted the most fun aspects of their visit.

    You know my wife and I befriended Peggy while you guys ran One Liners, and it was an incredibly sad day for us when it shut down, but it wasn’t nearly as sad as the day Stever came on the air awkwardly referring to the program as…”The Big Show with Steve Simpson.” I felt betrayed, shocked, angry, and indredibly let down.

    I know you’ve been friends with Bob and Tom for a long time — regretfully I wasn’t around during your heyday with them on the old show, but I sincerely hope when your gag order or whatever they call it expires that they can hook you up with a killer gig on FBQ, maybe even the national program — you’re more than funny enough.

    Anyway, I could go on all day, but I mainly came on here to say I miss your show and that I’m gonna try to get out and see you on Saturday and I wish you the best of luck.

    Sincerely,
    S. Michael “Jaws” Simms

    • davethekingwilson Says:

      Michael,

      Thanks you for the very kind note and for all your support and friendship over the years. Sorry you missed the show Saturday, we had a lot of fun! Next time for sure. Thanks again.
      Dave

  36. Dr. Richard Cranium Says:

    Listening to Steve Simpson is like watching paint dry.

    I thought about starting a call in spoof to WIBC as a devoted listener and shout “Long live the King!” each time but I figured the delay would kill it.

    None the less…

    What happened to Colonel Gerardi?

    Long Live the King!

  37. Rick in Indy Says:

    King – I find myself thinking exactly the same things most of these prior posts say. Miss your afternoon show, I always looked forward to it, used to try to call in occasionally. I don’t listen nearly as much now, and wouldn’t try to call in to the current show — the current show has a thing where people say “hate the show” and it’s taken as a compliment… I know in my case — and I suspect in the case of many callers who say that — it would not really be a compliment. I’m hoping to hear you on the air again soon. Thanks and best wishes to you.

  38. While I knew the basics of how you were let go from WIBC, I didn’t research it until now. Truly sucks. I was laid off in September 2009 for economic reasons and I know how it hurts. As a Greenwood native, I was sad to see Wilsons Restaurant go. I heard that you were looking to sell because you were too busy with other projects. Some friends of mine actually investigated purchasing it, but the deal never happened. No matter. You are continually missed.

    From 1989 to 1999, I worked at a local commercial photo lab and produced promo pics for the Bob & Tom show. I still have Dave “The King” Wilson 8×10 glossies stored away. Maybe some day I can get an autograph on one?

    Now that it’s May yet again, I know you will be missed even more. I loved your show during May. You and Donald. Nothing better for the race fan.

  39. M. Coleman Says:

    I too was let go from my job of 13 years in 2008 due to the company’s “downsizing”. No warning at all. The writing on the wall was like yours. They had Engledow pull all the plants and they discontinued the coffee service. It was a quick meeting as well. I had known these people for years. They couldn’t look me in the eye. In a way they did me a favor though. I am with a much smaller firm now that I absolutely love. Keep up the good work King!

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