Things are looking up in Columbus. The recession is fading and sales are improving. Thanks to the new signal, WWCD's ratings are up as well -- in March it posted its best overall audience numbers in at least three years, with strong showings in key demographics -- and the staff believes the community is behind them.
"We are so plugged in to this community. If we went away, people would definitely notice," says Phillips, a DJ who's been with WWCD for 18 years. "It's the personal touch that's been completely lost from radio. ... Obviously, this is a business, but we're always thinking, how can we be more involved in the community?"
It could be for naught, of course. Del Colliano is fond of a metaphor to describe good, profitable, well-run stations in the current media environment: They're like beautiful estates in the middle of a slum.
"(In radio) you can be a good operator," he says, "but the majority of the real estate is blighted by companies that don't care."
Lipsky, the radio agency head, doesn't buy into the doomsaying. Radio's not going any place; it'll just be another platform, he says, "a wonderful conduit that still keeps you connected."
At CD102.5, the staff chooses to look at the bright side.
Malloy, who started out in the promotions department, is always coming up with new ideas; the latest is a television reality show based on the station called "Life On Air." He's had a reel produced and is trying to interest a network in picking it up.
He prefers another metaphor to Del Colliano's, of big box stores and a local hardware retailer. There's no reason both can't thrive.
"I love Lowe's. I love Home Depot. They serve a purpose for me. But I also love Zettler Hardware," he says. "Because when I know exactly what I need, I know I can go to Zettler Hardware and they'll have it. And someone's going to meet me at the door and go, 'Can we help you with something?' And they walk me over to it, they show me the product, I purchase the product and I walk out happy. That's what we are. We're Zettler Hardware."
The shrine to Andyman is just a few steps from WWCD's studio -- a table lined with candles, photos and a mock check for the Andyman-a-Thon. In the center, there's a portrait of Andy Davis.
His spirit is always present: the spirit of a big-hearted man, the spirit of music radio.
Malloy remembers a time long ago. It was his first day at the station, and he was at an event, walking across a field. The ice-cream truck pulled up. Inside was Andyman.
"Get in," the DJ said. "Let's go!"
Andyman may be gone, but the station rolls on.