Posted In: Tampa Bay
David Wagenvoord aka Downtown Dave passed away early Monday morning (4/21/14). He had been battling cancer for some time, he fought hard, but couldn’t beat it. He is survived by his wife Lola, and children from a previous marriage.
I got to know Dave in the last few years of his life while helping with engineering duties at WTAN. Dave didn’t have to be kind to me, but he always was. He never had a cross word for me, even when I made tremendous blunders. He lived through and thrived during terrestrial radio’s heyday, and years later when other stations were having trouble keeping the lights on, Dave & Lola’s stations were still profitable. If any good comes from his passing, I hope it will be that people will remember there is still live, local, and independent radio on the dial in Tampa. I can only hope that the station will remain on the air into the future to honor his legacy.
For those who don’t know 1340 WTAN is a 1000 watt Class C AM radio station in Downtown Clearwater. As memory serves me, it first signed on the air back in 1948, and has been operational ever since. Dave and Lola acquired the station back in the 80’s, briefly leased it out in the early 90’s, reacquired it shortly thereafter, and have been running it ever since. The format is a potpourri of local brokered talk, syndicated shows, and beautiful music. If you have never tuned in, it is worth a listen. At it’s worst, it is entertaining. At it’s best it is radio-gold.
R.I.P. Dave, I truly wish I had spent more time talking to you. I get a sick feeling in my stomach every time I pass your office now.
Even before their new ownership in the 80’s, I’d long been a WTAN fan, and had followed their ratings for the longest time. For the longest while, WTAN had both earphones tied behind their back with that signal and somehow shrugged and got through it all.
I have to search through lots of cassettes and reels now — long story ; neighbours’ fire — but I know I have some WTAN from late 1969 or early 1970. My first-ever vacation, as a kid DJ from Long Island, was to Clearwater around that time. Their studio and their tower, right there overlooking the idyllic Gulf, remains one heck of a radio memory.
God bless, Downtown Dave.
Sorry to hear about the passing of downtown Dave and condolences to his wife, family, co-workers and friends, including Cedric.
His obituary was the lead obituary in today’s (Sunday 27 Apr 2014) St. Petersburg**/Tampa Bay Times……. link below:
Here’s hoping that WTAN can remain fertile ground for local talent getting their start in radio or for those, getting a 2nd chance or re-start in radio.
** sorry about using the “S” word…… St. Petersburg……, I know the Times doesn’t find the “S” word printable for the most part! 🙁Anonymous OnNovember 17, 2015 at 11:34 pm #143372
I worked for Dave & Lola from 2000-2005. Dave was like a dad to me. He will never be forgotten by this radio pro!
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