In the 16 months since John Andrew “Andyman” Davis drowned while vacationing with his beloved family, much has changed about the radio station he personified. But for all the exterior and interior adjustments at CD101, the station continues to exist in his image.
Davis, the longtime programming director and an influential force for music and charity, left a void when he died at age 42. Yet “The Alternative Station” carries on his values, even as its frequency, studio and ownership have changed since then.
“There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t think of him,” said Lesley James, Davis’ assistant of six years, who took over as programming director and has continued to break bands national (Fitz and the Tantrums, Company of Thieves) and local (Phantods, Nick Tolford and Company) in his absence.
Many of those bands will appear at a pair of CD101 events at LC Pavilion this week. First, the night before Thanksgiving, local musicians will play to benefit Andyman-a-thon, Davis’ annual 48-hour charity telethon that will return to the airwaves this December. Then, Tuesday, Nov. 29, Cage the Elephant will headline the 102.5 Holiday Show.
That event’s name betrays the most obvious change at CD101: the move from 101.1 to 102.5. Last year, when the opportunity arose to move to a signal four times more powerful, station management sold the 101.1 frequency to Ohio State and signed a five-year lease for 102.5 with Southeastern Ohio Broadcasting System, a Zanesville company that owns the 102.5 frequency.
The status of that lease came into question recently when Ryan Moran, the operations manager for Christian talk station WRFD, bought two URLs (FMtalk1025.com and 1025thefish.com) that suggested WRFD might be planning to jump to 102.5 FM.
CD101 President and General Manager Randy Malloy said he doesn’t know why WRFD bought those URLs. Tom Heyl, manager of the Christian station, declined to comment, while the owner of the 102.5 signal, Southeastern’s Hank Littick, did not return repeated calls.
The likely cause for any mumbo-jumbo is a change in ownership for CD101. Malloy became majority owner this year, purchasing CD101 from Roger Vaughn. The 102.5 signal was leased to Fun With Radio, Vaughn’s company. Malloy has been renegotiating the lease to replace “Fun With Radio” with Malloy’s “WWCD, Ltd.” and extend the duration of CD101’s lease to 2018. Malloy signed the new agreement Tuesday.
Another big shift was this year’s move from the Worly Building, where Shadowbox Live’s new theater would have cut substantially into CD101’s studio space. CD101 moved down Front Street to the former Swiss Chalet Party Haus; the previous studio is now World of Beer.
“It’s a little surreal to walk through,” Malloy said.
One more big change is coming: The name CD101 will be changing soon, either to “CD102.5” or “102.5, The Alternative Station.”
“It’s very hard to rebrand something that we don’t really want to rebrand,” Malloy said. However, “102.5 — that’s what we are. Let’s just call ourselves what we are and stop screwing around.”