Through tragedy and change, Columbus radio station CD101 has been rocking the alternative airwaves since 1990.
“The reality is, the show must go on,” said Randy Malloy, general manager of CD101, referring to the death earlier this year of one of the station’s most loved and recognized personalities.
John Andrew “Andyman” Davis was an on-air personality at CD101 from 1991 until July 18, 2010, when he drowned in a lake while vacationing with his family in Michigan. He was voted Columbus’ favorite DJ on multiple occasions, according to the CD101 website.
Davis’ wife, Molly Davis, requested that officials forgo an autopsy on her husband, but he likely drowned after suffering a heart attack.
“The sudden loss of Andy this summer, about four months ago, was obviously a great shock to everybody here at the radio station,” Malloy said. “We’re continuing on with the radio station normally, as he would have wanted to do, and as we must do.”
Previous midday DJ Lesley James has taken Davis’ spot in the afternoon, and Brian Phillips has moved into James’ old spot. Nate Ellis has been promoted to the director of marketing and promotions in an attempt to replace Davis.
“The thing about Andy Davis, the man, is that he was like the magnetic North of the Columbus music scene, meaning he had a gravitational pull and brought together so many bands,” said Joe Oestreich, member of the band Watershed. “Andy was a pro, but he wasn’t a jaded industry dude … and in the radio industry, you don’t see many people like that anymore.”
More recently, CD101 has changed its frequency to 102.5, with WOSU purchasing the previous frequency of 101.1 for $5.7 million to provide an all-classical music station for Columbus.
“We’ll be CD101 at 102.5. It’s a different call signal, but it’s the same attitude, the same people. We’ll still play the same music. We’ll still break alternative bands that haven’t been heard before,” Malloy said.
But even with all the alterations, both on air and behind the scenes, Malloy is confident there won’t be any “drastic changes.”
“The hope is it won’t change anything. We’re still us. Our philosophy is etched in stone. We’ve been doing this for about 20 years now, and CD101 will continue to be that entity,” Malloy said.
Adam Horn, 23, disagrees. A Columbus resident who has listened to CD101 for about five years, he said he is upset that the station is playing more mainstream music and fewer local bands.
“We play what fits with our audience. We play what sounds good. We have a team of people who listen to the music, that’s their jobs, so they listen to the music and evaluate what works,” Malloy said. “We definitely play a lot of independent bands and independent music, definitely more so than even close to anything else in this city.”
Regardless of music choice, the station’s presence as a promoter for local charities hasn’t changed.
Tonight at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, bands are joining for charity with the support of CD101. A third of the proceeds from ticket sales at the door, along with all proceed from merchandise sales, will go to the Andy Davis Memorial Fund. The rest will go to another of the station’s fundraising projects, called CD101 for the Kids Charities.
“The radio station is helping to promote this, but Quinn Fallon, who was Andy’s business partner as well as the leading member of X-Rated Cowboys, has been the spearhead of this event,” Malloy said. “The local musicians have come together out of the love for Andy and for what he did for the local community musically. They are what is driving this.”
In June 1999, Davis and Fallon began organizing annual benefit concerts, setting up bands to perform and raise money for central Ohio families in need. In 2003, they moved the charity performances to the LC Pavilion.
“If someone was going to do this, I felt I owed it to (Davis) to do it right,” Fallon said. “I knew which bands Andy was fans of … and everybody was on board with the idea that we owed it to Andy to celebrate the things that were very important to him, to honor his legacy.”
Fallon’s collection of bands for tonight’s performance is based on Davis’ musical taste.
Andy “didn’t worry about cliques, he just liked what he liked, and so the cool thing about this show is it really honors Andy as a person and Andy’s taste in music — bringing together all these different bands,” Oestreich said.
Fallon’s band X-Rated Cowboys will be playing along with Oestreich’s band, Watershed. Also performing are Howlin Maggie, The Toll, Willie Phoenix Band and Earwig.
“The artists are the real heroes here,” Malloy said. “They are really doing the work.”
Doors open at 6 p.m., and tickets are $20 at the LC Pavilion.