2003 marks the 25th year that Dave Frisina has been ‘turning it up’ at 95X. Mike Parrish, managing director of the industry trade publication Friday Morning Quarterback, recently talked with Frisina about his longevity, a shift in direction for the station, and his thoughts on when the S.U. Orangemen might win a national title…Q&A: WAQX’s Dave Frisina
by Mike Parrish
WAQX/Syracuse APD Dave Frisina is one of the few people in radio that can say he has spent his entire career with one station. Moving north from Long Island to central New York in 1978, he started doing weekends for “95X.” Twenty-five years and many management changes later, Frisina is still on the 95X airwaves, where he has handled everything from station mascot to overnights to a tenure as PD.
What has been keeping Frisina busy most recently is helping oversee a change at the Citadel rocker that will mean a focus on more currents and recurrents, moving 95X forward out of its Mainstream Rock roots and into an Active Rock direction. While still a work in progress, Frisina says they will have fully transformed the music and imaging in time for the spring book. Regardless of direction, citizens of central New York will still be tuning into 95.7 FM and hearing 95X ask them to do the same thing they have for the past quarter century – Turn It Up!
How has 95X survived 25 years of changes in Rock ‘N Roll trends?
We meet our audience’s expectations, balance our music library with compatible currents, adjust to market changes, remain highly visible in the community and know all the appropriate cliches.
What events do you have planned for 95X’s 25th anniversary?
A quiet romantic dinner, then into the jacuzzi. Actually, we’re planning on an extended, multi-pronged spectacular extravaganza to fully capture the magnitude of remaining in format for a quarter of a century! Or, whatever we can put together with trade.
How do you balance your airshift and programming duties?
As APD, I have a five hour show six days a week, host an hour-long local music show Sunday nights, voice-track a five hour afternoon drive show weekdays for [sister Classic Rock] WIII/Ithaca, plus I’m responsible for 95X station imaging. Then, twice a week, there are music meetings with PD Bob O’Dell. Overall, get in early and learn how to juggle.
What is your take on the radio/record industry relationship in 2003?
Keep the lines of communication open and remember that one hand washes another.
What is the defining Rock ‘N Roll moment of your career?
Living on site and broadcasting my show each day from Woodstock ’99 was interesting. Overall, the vast majority of media reports were slanted, misinformed, and, in some cases, blatantly deceptive. Being able to have the access to properly convey the musical experiences, festival environment and personal observations was a professional rush. It was a huge contrast in atmosphere and technical support from the ’94 version where I was calling in reports from a cell-phone in a pup tent behind the South Stage, which held its own ‘special’ memories.
What new artists do you see breaking out in 2003?
I’m particularly partial to a band called Simplelife (fronted by Mike Frisina). Otherwise, Socialburn seems to be developing a good buzz, Taproot is poised to take it to the next level and Audioslave will continue to be a total no-brainer.
What are the best and worst things about Syracuse?
Best: Syracuse University basketball and lacrosse, cost of living, and local music scene.
Worst: “Wind chill factor” and “lake effect snow.”
Will the Orangemen ever win a college hoops title?
If they did, I’d have nothing to look forward to. But through my orange-colored glasses, they are a year away from a real shot.
Reprinted from January 24, 2003. Copyright 2003 Friday Morning Quarterback Album Report, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. For subscription information, contact (856) 424-6873 or visit www.fmqb.com.