Save East Side Dave!
I've been a longtime supporter of satellite radio. I signed up for XM shortly after the service commenced, and due to a few formats that weren't on that platform I added Sirius a year or so later. Yes, the inside of my vehicle is a mess, especially when one of my iPods is added. For quite some time, I could not have been happier with both of these companies. I'm (obviously) not an easy to person to please when it comes to music, but I was blown away on an almost daily basis by the selection, particularly the tracks aired on the garage band and indie rock channels. In recent years, though, I haven't been so pleased. Once the two companies merged, the music channels began to be run like terrestrial radio. The punk channel was eliminated, and the playlists seemed to shrink more and more every month. Yet there was still plenty of material to make the service worthwhile. Between the two formats, I could listen to any baseball, basketball, or football game of my choice. Most of my listening, however, was on one channel. XM202 is the showcase for the Opie and Anthony Show, which dominated my listening time for the first couple of years. As I tired of their "shock jockery", I found myself drawn to another show on that same channel. The Ron and Fez show featured much of the same uncensored, (at times) uncouth humor of O&A, but combined it with serious discussions of music, movies, religion, and politics. A good portion of my attraction to the show came from the actions of Dave McDonald, aka East Side Dave. This was a man living a dream. Fans always fantasize about becoming a part of the organization they follow, and Dave did just that. He was an ardent listener, dating back to Ron and Fez's days on New York commercial radio. The show has always had a strong connection with their fans, utilizing live events and the ronfez.net message board to stay in touch. It was through these activities that the show first noticed this goofy, pale-skinned redhead. In the fall of 2005, Dave's dream became a reality as he was hired to be a producer on the show. At the time, he was one of four producers. During the next couple of years, two of the other producers (Pitzy and Earl Douglas) left the show, but SiriusXM refrained from replacing them. Besides having his workload as a producer doubled, Dave also began seeing more and more mic time. Ron obviously recognized some talent, and while all producers are included in the daily broadcast, Dave's segments became more elaborate and took up more and more airtime. His dual role as "The Midnight Rider" may be the greatest radio stunt I've ever heard, and after proposing to my good friend Casey Elan on the air, Ron convinced him to forget about the small, quiet wedding they had planned in favor of a big party broadcast from the Hard Rock Cafe on Times Square.
Throughout the last two years, Dave's presence continued to increase, particularly due to the lesser role of Fez Whatley. Two heart attacks and various personal problems caused Fez to quite often go almost entire shows without speaking, so Ron generally used Dave as his on-air foil. Dave also brought in great segments such as "Board Gossip", which showcased the inane conversations that populated the various message boards that surrounded both Ron & Fez and Opie & Anthony. He continued to create new characters, such as the "Bearded Joker", sportscaster "Guy Guyerson", and even had Tony Soprano's family tattooed on his back after losing an on-air bet.
Why am I telling this story? Despite the fact that his official workload as a producer doubled, along with his growing on-air presence (not to mention his new Saturday evening show with O&A producer Sam Roberts), Dave had never received a raise. Now married with two kids, Dave even moved out of New York into central Jersey to save money. This move caused him to spend almost four hours per day busing to and from the SiriusXM studios. A few months ago, Dave took his need for a raise to his bosses. After months with no notice, Dave finally set a date where he would have to quit. The day passed with no raise, and now he's out of work. Not only are Dave and his family suffering, but so is the Ron and Fez Show fan base. Fez is still silent for a good portion of the show, and Ron now only has lone producer Pepper Hicks to respond to his babbling. Angered by how Dave was treated, a number of fans have commenced a "Save ESD" campaign. Besides "twitter bombing" SiriusXM, we have also been sending emails to SiriusXM execs. Please join us. Add "eastsidedave" on twitter, use #savedave, #saveesd, or #davepound as hash tags on twitter, or send an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please help us out, as Dave's silliness helps keep me sane during my long days at work. -- Post From My iPad