Dave Wilson: Farewell to the King

March 6, 2009
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News came last night (see story here) that Dave Wilson was among 105 full and part-time Emmis employees caught in the most recent round of layoffs.

When I arrived in Indy nearly 15 years ago, Dave "The King" Wilson was one of the guys whose voice on the radio heped me feel connected to my new home.

Local radio personalities can do that. I found him on the dial because, when it comes to radio, I gravitate toward voices rather than music. Whether listening in Indy or while on the road, I tend to search the dial for someone--almost anyone--sharing an opinion or aiming for a laugh.

Dave did both. And while I didn't always agree with him (who wants to listen to someone who you agree with all the time?), I listened.
He was an entertainer. And his years as a stand-up comic served him well. His laid back on-air approach hid the prep time required to actually write new material. His jokes may have often been groaners, but they were new groaners. 

Eventually, I became an occassional guest on his show, and I always felt welcome.

I'll admit I didn't listen much after format changes took his show (and station) to FM. But I'm still sad to see/hear him go. And I'm hoping that he finds his way back soon, if for nothing else than for his perspective on the Indy 500.

His voice will be missed.

My thoughts go out to Dave and all those impacted by the cuts.

Your thoughts? And who in the local radio pool do you still enjoy listening to?
  • Well stated, Lou. I have enjoyed Dave for years. I can't imagine the boredom listeners will endure from the expaned hours for Steve Simpson (if they have any left.) Kudos to the King for his humor, wit, and insights (especially in the racing circles he enjoys so much).
  • Lou, I appreciate your comments. I have had the opportunity to meet Dave on a few occassions with my dear friend Harley Guynn. Harley is a Pearl Harbor survivor. Dave was very gracious to Harley each time he went on the air to discuss that fateful day as well as other topics. Dave not only supported Harley, but all veterans and those brave men and women protecting our country. WIBC made a huge mistake. Wherever Dave lands, I will listen.
  • The local presence in radio is dwindling even further. Radio was best when local voices prevailed. No matter what you think of Wilson, there's not much local out there these days. It's all national banter. No one wants to go into radio or newspapers. While neither will completely die, they are not the romantic professions of past decades. I'm sorry that Indy will be lacking another local voice. More to come, I'm sure.
  • They MUST be kidding! Maybe they should replace Letterman with his producer. Tell Jeff Smulyan (owner) that if your finger hurts you're suppose to cut it off....here's one less listener - see ya!
  • I've been listening to Dave every afternoon for about 10 years, and I will miss him. I've learned so much about sports and racing in particular from him, and his joke last week about the Denny's OctoMom Breakfast Special was better than anything I've heard on late night. I will admit though that ever since Big Joe moved to mornings Dave has seemed a little lost. Mel should have been moved to his fulltime sidekick instead of just traffic, because you could tell that he liked to make her laugh. I hope another station snaps him up soon.
  • Hail to the King! Thank you Dave for my last ten years of listening!
    I'll be looking for you to pop back up soon. It wasn't the station it was you!

    Good luck to you, Big Joe and the rest of your crew!

    Yes this economy if tough, be it just got a little tougher. Too bad management can't see this error in judgement!



    PS - Take care of Turk for us! :)
  • Agreeing with Doug, that Emmis has lost one more listner. I turned to WIBC in the afternoons because of Dave. Laughing on the way home releases the tension from the day. Wishing Dave The King well and back on the air very soon!
  • The first big mistake Smulyan made was letting Jeff Pidgeon go. There went the morning show with Terrie holding the bag for the weak personalities they replaced him with. Letting The King go just did this station in. No good mornings, Rush babbling on all afternoon, and now Dave is gone.....? Good move. I just deleted 93.1 from my pre-set stations. I can get more entertainment now from my iPod and watching crazy Indy drivers play NASCAR.
  • Emmis has made a huge mistake letting Dave Wilson go. As the reigning King of afternoon drive radio, WIBC has basically sacrificed this leading rating for economy's sake and replaced him with the droning milquetoast that is Steve Simpson.

    Geez, Jeff Smulyan, if you wanted to save some money, get rid of Kravitz and Eddie lame excuse of an afternoon sports show.

    As you nicely state, Dave has been the voice of Indy for many years and will be sorely missed - not just by listeners but also by the many charities Dave supported on air and in person.

    The Indy radio-scape of on-air personalities is now reduced to the dumbed down duo of Terry/Joe on WIBC mornings, Smiley for the teens, Wank & O'Brien for the country set and the increasingly less-than-entertaining parade of comics masquerading as the Bob & Tom Show.

    Stay tuned for the ongoing demise of local radio relevance.
  • Very well stated. I also shared many years with Dave and was actually pleased when the format shifted to FM. I could then continue to listen during my commute from Kokomo after the sun went down. Dave brought a balance to the end of each day and his comedy was always family oriented. I will miss Dave and would have preferred they dropped Rush L. I will now have to find a new drive station in the afternoon. Thank you Dave for many years of pleasure. You will be missed.
  • Agree with not listening much to WIBC anymore. Jake drove me away in the morinings; Big Joe brought me back to mornings but kept me away in the afternoons since Dave's show was something totally different without Matt and Joe. Somehow the station expected the same synergy and energy but cut personalities. Love Steve, but I need more laughs after a day at work and then commuting to Hamilton Cty. And what happened to noon news? A half hour at 1130? By the time I remember to tune in, it's over. Time on Satuday is way down, too. Used to have a good afternoon line up, but certainly not interested in more crime reports in this city. That's entertaining??
  • Dave and his team provided not only great entertainment - but they also provided support to a variety of area non-profits in the form of both fundraisers and public awareness. Thanks, Dave, for your work at making Indy a great place to live.

    I'm not a fan of bashing management at Emmis for the staff reductions or format /on-air personality changes. Like The King, Emmis is a major contributor to causes in our state and across the country. I would guess that Jeff and his team are doing the best job they can to stave losses at a time when radio is simply losing relevance. Changing an industry is difficult. If anyone is up the challenge, my money's with Emmis vs. their competition.
  • This is terrible for local radio. I have listened to Dave for years and will miss the show. Guess 1070 will be the new #1 on the dial. The beginning of the end of Dave's show was when Matt left, then Joe. Talk about being set up to fail.
  • I switched to Cincy's WLW about a year ago. Great talk, but traffic reports are wierd. The King will land on his feet.
  • Emmis handled this very poorly. A news station? They seem to have missed this story. They certainly were not First, Fast, or Factual. They kept silent when they should have given tribute and recognition to Dave. They could have let him have a final show to say goodbye. Being honest and open would be far better then acting as if Dave never existed.

    Joe this morning gave a small explanation & tribute, very briefly at 5:30 am. I don't expect Emmis to now try to spin the story, they don't care about the listeners.

    It was a slap in the face to the listeners to have kept silent. But then the marketing people were airing an ad likening listeners to fish to be caught by advertisers. Yes, advertising supports the station, but don't publicly refer to us as fish, save that for the sales meetings. With such poor handling of this situation, we fish feel like we just got fried and lost our trust.
  • Unbelievable! A substantial loss for all listeners. Dave Wilson is one of the few radio personalities left who truly fine-tuned the art and made all listeners feel as if he was speaking to them personally.
  • Changing an industry is difficult. If anyone is up the challenge, my money’s with Emmis vs. their competition.

    Jason, what are you smoking?

    Smulyan took all the proceeds from selling his TV stations out in lump sum dividend and executive pay leaving nothing for radio operations.

    He is cutting local programing left and right and doesn't contribute money to local causes as he did when times were good.

    For the record, I'd gladly take your money on such a silly bet.
  • $20 million...Adam is right - they divided up the TV sales proceeds as a one-time lump sum dividend and unless I am mistaken I think Smulyan walked with $20 mil....but 'he ain't got no money for good talent'...oh man...
  • If Dave gets back on the radio - I'll certainly tune in there ... goodbye WIBC. Dave & I went home together for years ... I'm not sure I can find my way without him.
  • Change is tough -- and particularly in the world of entertainment and broadcasting, it's constant. What do you think put Dave Wilson on the air in the first place? He's a big boy (literally,) and can handle it.

    Jeff Smulyan can do what he wants with his stations. Radio IS evolving, it has to. It's always been a bottom line business -- more so now than ever. Not to say these are all good moves, but I assume there are reasons -- like ratings, demographics, economics.

    For my money, the local lineup on Emmis' WFNI, the new 1070, is top notch. Talented, entertaining, and engaging -- Dakich, Kravitz and Eddie are definitely big league.

    I wish WIBC the best, but they seem to be losing focus on local news, their local morning show is a wreck, and the team of Garrison and Limbaugh are just too political and negative. They must appeal to old-fart conservatives. Think about it though, who else listens to radio at that time of day?

    I hope IBC returns to its roots of local news/weather/traffic coverage (I still turn to them for that) and local talk that is informative, engaging, entertaining -- and cuts both ways politically. It makes us a better city.
  • Kravitz and Eddie are big league - CHEW. I got so sick of hearing Eddie refer to his callers as MY MAN and DOG, I can't listen anymore. You may be correct, Parkershade, about Garrison, but I assure you that Limbaugh appeals to a whole lot more than old fart conservatives. The worst part of what continues to be WIBC is Steve Simpson, by far.

    I still wish the best to a good man, a good promoter of auto racing, and a quick and much appreciated wit, DAVE, THE KING, WILSON!
  • While I'm sorry to see Dave Wilson lose his job, I NEVER thought he was funny or entertaining. I did not listen to their morning or afternoon drive time because a news station should provide that - news. While Terri, Joe and Dave are charming people the news stories were short on content and not that informative. I hope this is a change for the better. Oh, and I'm not a conservative old fart - I'm in my mid 30's and was raised listening to KMOX, a true news station at the time.

    It's sad that the WIBC employees are losing their jobs but maybe the station will focus more on news and commentary, which they claim is a basis of their station.

    Good luck to all of them.
  • It seems that the local celebrities that I truly liked in my life go off the air one by one. It started with Janie, Cowboy Bob, and Sammy Terry (and I really miss the REAL channel 4), and Stan Wood from channel 8. These were the most memorable. To this short list I add Dave Wilson.
    I will miss his little jokes about news items the most, like the time he commented on a tanker full of milk spilling on a highway, and several people gathered around it crying. Those little jokes made my afternoon drives enjoyable.
    So wherever Dave lands, that's where I'll tune in. Thanks and good luck, Dave. So long, WIBC.
  • I love to listen to Terri and Big Joe in the morning, it's what I wake up to every morning, and miss them ont he weekend, but everyone needs time off... That parkshade must be sound asleep during that time, or smoking something to think the morning show is a bust! I never cared for the afternoon counterparts, although Big Joe was enjoyable and will be missed, I thought Stever's was just a little to silly for us old fogies.
  • I also think the Dave, Joe and Matt trio was awesome. Dave and Joe was okay, but Matt was a great butt of any joke. The Show wasn't great after Joe left.

    I will miss Dave as I am an IRL fan, but Steve is a good guy, accessible, and better than Dave alone.

    We will miss you Dave.

    P.S. Wilson's makes an awesome BBQ Chicken pizza!
  • I'am shocked come on Jeff bring him back some where.I will listen to Dave 3:00
    am or ?. This is so wrong from money all the way to honor, money wins every
    time. This is terrible, 40 year listerner not sure now!
  • On the surface it seems a horrible mistake to send The King away. We should have known something was up when they moved Joe to mornings.
    Pigeon and Terry was great; as was the King, Joe,and Matt trio.

    Apparently Emmis has taken the stance that 'things can't last forever', but with their horrible change-up, the same goes for my being a listener.

    King was the more outspoken of station's air personalities in terms of Conservative ideas. I would bet that was a factor in the decision.

    Major mistake on your part, Emmis...IMO
  • I, too, believe it is a huge mistake to let The King go. I won't listen much to WIBC sincehe is gone. I hope, for our sakes, he finds another job in the Indy market.
  • I am not a long-time listener. I only started listening when WIBC moved to FM...I can't stand AM. Anyway, listening to Dave on the drive home made it more bearable and his humor was very worth tuning for. Last week, when he wasn't on, I assumed he was on vacation. This week, when he still wasn't there, I began to wonder if something else was going on. I am surprised that the station didn't announce what was going on or let listeners know that the voice they were used to hearing was no longer there. Maybe I just don't understand how radio works. Since I work in HR and have had to do my share of reductions in the past year, I understand the need to reduce and the confidentiality involved. However, a public radio station that relies so much on the voice recognition of it's personalities for listeners should be more aware of the preferences of it's listeners. Oh well, I guess I'll just go back to listening to music on the way home.

    Thanks for the laughs Dave...wish you well in all that you do!
  • Many things are changing these days. Very few for the better. Dave was man enough to take A position on issues. Steve is the new emasculated male... and the death of America.
  • The afternoon drive is borrrrring now that the King is gone. Steve puts me to sleep and that is a dangerous thing at 60mph. Emmis, you made the wrong choice again. First replacing Pigeon with airhead Jake, and now Simpson benches the King. Incredible.

    WIBC was the station I adopted when listening to Gary, Joe, and Fred. That was great radio talent. Pige and Terri were great together, as were Wilson, Big Joe, and Matt. Those combos had chemistry that made me look forward to the next show. Big Joe and Terri are good, not exciting, but good. I could do with less Garrison and Limbaugh. And Steve is less entertaining and interesting than any of the others.

    Really sorry to see the King go. Gonna miss you, Big Guy.
  • I got back from Florida & found Dave gone, ARE YOU KIDDIN ME! Steve Simpson replaces the King? and that Mel ,, Give me AIR ! Bring back the king oe loose ANOTHER listener...............
  • marret
  • I will miss Dave. THe drive home is now replaced by my trusty IPOD. As far as Terri & Joe are concerned, I will be hated for this, but Terri should go back to answering phones. Joe is a shell of his former self. Garrison should have gone. Anyone who berates his guests on the air and then wonders why some people won't appear on his show is out of touch with reality. He wins one big legal case and he becomes a radio celebrity? Please..

    I no longer listen to any Emmis station.
  • This is ANOTHER mistake by WIBC. Going to FM was a mistake. the old format on AM was a great blend of news/sports/talk. You could listen all day and never want to change the station. They have clearly converted their focus to a Sports entity and are making a lame attempt to format the FM side to local news in the afternoon. I like Steve okay, but he talks in a 5-minute circle and I just usually end up changing the channel. I travel a lot and am now going to listen to other options in the afternoon. Bottomline: Getting rid of a popular local native and replacing him with a guy who incessently talks about growing up back east is a terrible decision. I think the way they handled it is just as bad as the decision to get rid of him. I'll still listen to Garrison/Rush and Clark, but nothing else.
  • This is just wrong... the best WIBC on air personality of them all, and now he is gone. I agree he was better with Joe, and Matt, but even without them, no one locally can touch the KING! Bring him back!! I will also be gone until you do.
  • I think the station has made a mistake in letting Dave to. The station is going to definitely lose listeners-me included.
  • WIBC really screwed up by lettting Dave go. Steve Simpson is on now for what.....4 hours now? He is BORING and really annoying to listen to. He tries to make issues out of nothing and is really a dim bulb. He brings NOTHING to the afternoons on WIBC.
  • I had no idea that this had happened. I kept thinking Dave was on an extended vacation or something. Today I finally found my answer and I must say I am extremely upset with Emmis and WIBC. Dave was priceless. And to top it all off, it seems like Brian Wilkes from Fox 59 isn't doing the weather either. They were great together. They had me in tears from laughing so hard sometimes. I like Steve but it's not the same nor will it ever be. Goodbye WIBC!
  • You have got to be kidding me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Are they both gone, Dave & Mel both? It was a good change to put Big Joe on in the morning with Stacy, I could listen to them. The other hack, Jake, didn't fit well at all, IMO. But Dave & new comer Mel!?! I have been popping over there waiting for him to get back from vacation or something like that. But I cannot stand the voice and personality of Simpson and for this move by Emmis I will not be tuning into WIBC any more. Take someone behind the scenes, not the front guys on the air. Bad move! Lost a listener here! See ya Dave, get back soon, your humor and knowledge of the 500 will be missed my friend.
  • Still waiting for the King to reappear.
  • I went to Northwest High School, Dave was a senior and I was a underclassman. He was great in the school variety show. I loved him when he was on Q95 and I followed him on WIBC. I too agree that something was lost when they went to the FM format and again when Big Joe left.

    Dave was honest, sincere and always fun to listen too, even if you did not agree with all his ideas. He had the courage to express them.

    What a great icon. He was Indianpolis. He will be missed, not only by his listeners but all the indiviuals/charities he supported both publicly and privately. Lastly he will be missed by me. I remember Dave from the 1970's. I am not quite ready to call it quits with Dave. Good Luck! Dave, I know you will land on your feet and hope to hear your voice and jokes soon.

    Cheryl (Fellow Space Pioneer)
  • If this was a contractual money issue, Emmis should have tried to find other alternatives. Many other non-local shows could have gone and been unnoticed. It appears to be a poor adminstrative decision that will no doubt cost WIBC many listeners as they struggle to make the new FM lineup work. I for one am gone.
  • Though I enjoyed having the show on in the afternoons, I did find it becoming a bit long in the tooth. I know Dave is very well liked and has a long career here, but honestly if felt that half the time he was rummaging through papers to think of the next question to ask and never really heard what was being said. I'm somewhat happy to not hear oh, for crying out loud as a response to just about everything being said by a guest. Maybe this will be an opportunity for something new and improved to take it's place. I appreciate Dave and his work and wish him all the best.
  • DAVE THE KING kept me going every afternoon while I prepared dinner. I had no clue what happened to him until I searched him out on the internet this morning. No offense to the gentleman who has taken his place but HE'S BORING! Nothing that Emmis does suprises me! I will not even turn the radio on at 3:00 again!

    Something to ponder:

    'To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.' When God takes something from your grasp, He's not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive somethin better. 'The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.'

    Best of luck to you Dave! You will be greatly missed!

  • I have grown up a WIBC listener for over 35 years. While we in Greenwood are finally able to pick it up after sundown, there really is no reason to listen. Other than Garrison's show, there is no need to listen to it anymore. I do jump to WFNI to hear Dakich's show and the INDY RACING segments, but other than that, the Emmis Group has tanked their line ups across the board.
    The King was enjoyable in the afternoons, but now the 3:00 drive time is a yawner. I have turned it off completely.
    Mr. Smulyan, thank you for killing Indy radio.
  • I too have stopped listening to WIBC after 25 years of being here in Indy. If money was an issue they could have VERY easily sindicated the show and provided extra income for Emmis. This was not a well thought out action.
  • Bye, Dave. Our family has listened to WIBC for decades. When I was young, I'd make fun of mom for listening but when I switched on WIBC and made it my only station about 6 years ago, I couldn't get enough!

    Dave's show was the best when it was Dave, Joe, and Matt. I always thought Joe was a little hard to take but the mix was perfect. Then Matt got promoted and it was Dave & Joe Show or something. It started getting harder to listen but at least Dave was there. I had to have that show on in the afternoon drive home from Fishers to the west side. Was wondering what happened to Dave and just found out that he was let go. That goes to show that the decision maker is out of touch with his/her own listening audience.

    Steve Simpson is a good part of shows but is unbearable to me to listen to him for more than a few moments. And where the hell is Wilksy?! The weather guy now is loud and I miss the banter with Dave and Brian.

    As far as mornings go it's hard not to like Teri but Joe is not a good fit. He sounds like he's desparate to keep his job at this point and I can't blame him but again as an almost stand alone personality, he's the wrong fit for the morning, in my opinion.

    Mel-Mel keeps me listening at this point. If there is to be any saving the station's wonderful reputation, then bring back Dave Wilson, park Joe with him and put Mel on in the mornings with Teri and perhaps a couple features with a male during the show do keep it mixed up and let Steve come in now and again for limited time.

    Ulimately the paying sponsors will decide if it is working or not so if you truly want to see Dave back, let them know! I already have and while I got simply a thanks for contacting us (which is fine), the more people who speak out the better.
  • Oh, by the way, I'm going to grab an HD radio and fiddle around with it for a while till I find a new favorite station. Wake up Emmis... please.
  • Dave is the best - he has wit, charm, and a true talent for making something
    out of nothing. His interviews with ordinary people were a delight - he made
    people laugh and that's a gift few people possess. I understand having to make
    tough and sometimes unpopular decisions, it's a part of business - however, in
    my opinion, this decision was a poor one. Business is not about saving money
    it's about making money - speaking of making money, I wonder how ad sales
    are going since Dave the King has left the building.

    Anyway - on the upside - I've personally discovered that there's music on the
    radio - who knew? Thanks for the memories Dave - take care and good luck.
  • This is how mis-management demonstrates itself. As Emmis watches its stock dive nearly 90%, the cut the entertainment to cut expenses. Here's a hint guys; if you want your stock to be worth more than 33 cents per share, keep your entertainers. Without listeners your advertisers have no reason to hang around. Terri has always been the bright spot in the morning but Pigeon was the anchor. Dave Wilson carried the water for the station and followed Limbaugh (which is a tough act to follow). His stupid jokes, his interactions with Joe and Matt were the best. Will miss them all. Bring back Bouncin' Bill Bailey!!!!
  • WOW!!! I have been waiting for Dave to come back, thinking he was gone due to illness, racing or??? Finally resorting to an internet search to see what is up! WIBC, hate to see you slide into another dark phase like this.. Hope you can recover. I concur with others, that Dave deserved the highest accolades, and a great sendoff! This is an example of poor taste for a station of your excellence. I guess it's time to take my ipod with me for the afternoon drive, as it's so long, WIBC. Another lifelong listener is gone!
  • Of all the people they could have fired, The Indy Icon Dave the King Wilson? Geezus. WTF is the IBC management thinking? Another testimony to blue suited management bunnys with their heads up their asses. He was the only freakin' reason I listened to IBC on my way to work everyday at 3pm.

    Now it's just freeze-dried bullshit. I'm gonna take it off my dial. Jiminy Christmas. And I had to look online to see why he was gone.

    Thanks IBC for being so damn customer sensitive. Some of us pay for your advertising.
  • I've quit listening to WIBC since the King Is Gone. I'm sorry but the Steve Simpson is
    show is really very weak. He just doesn't get it. I've tried listening he is boring. I o I've switched to 1070 AM with Eddie White and sports radio.
    In fact, I used to listen the morning show because I like big Joe and Terri but now
    I never turn on 93.1. If suits from 93.1 read this you just lost a retiree who
    listens all day to the radio as I work in the garage. I even got a high powered
    antenna to pick up AM radio. You loose! I still remember Dave Wilson's 1st
    day on WIBC when he got all the call from the little old ladies that didn't like his
    topic. He played them back the next day.
  • Every year when I'm in town for the 500 I listened to WIBC. Dave Wilson, Pat Sullivan and the others was the reason. With Wilson gone, I won't be listening--of course, for an out-of-towner, that has no impact on the radio station's bosses. But I want everyone to
    know that Dave will really be missed by this guy.
  • When I realized the reason I wasn't hearing Dave The King Wilson on the radio anymore I wasn't a happy camper. I loved his afternoon radio show team that made my drive home so entertaining each day. Too bad he still doesn't have One Liners on the south side still going. Hopefully he's having a blast in his early retirement and that he'll be back on the air waves sometime soon.
  • I got hooked on WIBC with Jeff and Stacy in the AM and the King in the afternoon, now listen to their rival stations and won't go back to WIBC another reason why downsizing by dollars only makes no sense. Steve Simpson is a
  • Faithful listener for many years..can't believe the way they handled this. I am sure there is a back story here, but nonetheless I am sorry I no longer have Dave during my hour and a half comute in the evening. I have started listening to other stations am and pm.

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