This year isn't even 48 hours old as of this writing, and radio news is hopping: First, long-running soul station KKDA/730 AM flips to Korean, then word gets out about DFW radio legend Ron Chapman suffering a stroke last month.
And then a reader alerted me Wednesday morning that The Gene and Julie Show, which had been the morning show on KVIL/103.7 FM, had been removed from the website -- never a good sign.
Took a whole to get confirmation, but sure enough, the show, featuring married DJs Gene and Julie Gates, is no more, a station spokeswoman confirms. Gene and Julie had held the morning-show slot in 2005; they had previously aired in DFW on the by now long-defunct soft-rock incarnation of KBFB/97.9 FM.
When they launched on KVIL in 2005, I predicted that they would have a tough go -- but they were the first morning show to gain traction on KVIL since Chapman ended his long tenure there in 2000.
Tony Zazza, who has been handling the midday shift, will be the temporary morning-show host, the station spokeswoman says. Recall that Zazza has morning-show experience: He handled the morning shift at KDMX/102.9 FM from 2005 to 2009.
As far as why Gene and Julie are no longer with the station -- don't have an answer for that yet. The station, which as usual was the first DFW station to go to an all-Christmas format during the waning months of 2012, just came out of a strong holiday ratings period -- although according to Arbitron, it didn't topple KHKS/106.1 FM from the No. 1 spot it has held for 12 months (and for every non-holiday ratings period since 2008).
Additional messages are out to the station, as well as to the Gateses. UPDATE: Just heard from Gene and Julie, who said in a statement "Right before Christmas, we were disappointed to learn from our new boss that we would no longer be working at 103.7 Lite FM as they are 'going in a different direction.' " (Ah, the dreaded "different direction.") The Gates confirm that they will continue working on Battuto Italian Kitchen in north Dallas.
"Ron Chapman and the legendary talent that were on the air before us built something amazing when launching KVIL some 40 years ago, and we did our best to take great care of her while we were there," the statement adds. "Being given the opportunity to work there makes us feel in some small way a part of that magic. We will always love this town, and we will always love KVIL."
To read the full text of their statement, go here.