Honesty on radio can be shocking -- especially on Sunday morning.
Mary Davis found that out on March 12, when the normally calm community service director of WGR-AM 550 let loose with a bolt of honesty rarely heard in this market during her Sunday morning radio program at 7 a.m., when radio draws few listeners.
Ms. Davis usually espouses a liberal and reasoned tone during her show. On March 12, she seemed combative and irritable to callers. She went into a long tirade about food stamp cutbacks that ended a long, heated argument with a caller.
Some callers wondered why Ms. Davis was acting so out of character.
That's when Davis, said -- on the air -- it was due to a meeting she had with WGR General Manager Jim Meltzer, who told her not to be "Mary Sunshine anymore" and to act a lot meaner.
"Jim Meltzer said to me, 'Don't be little Mary Sunshine anymore, you might be better being Mary the Bitch,' " Ms. Davis said in a telephone interview on Thursday.
Meltzer said he did not hear the Sunday morning show and refused comment. When asked if he indeed gave Davis such advice, Meltzer replied: "On a Sunday morning show?"
Ms. Davis repeated, at least three times during a telephone interview, that Meltzer did indeed use those exact words in his conversation with her.
TUNING IN: Some of Buffalo's best known radio personalities will take part in the "Radio Reading Service Telethon" from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday on Channel 29. Among the radio personalities participating include Dave May, Janet Snyder and Jon Summers. Proceeds benefit the Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service, which broadcasts the reading of newspapers, magazines and other print material for blind and vision-handicapped people. . . . Jim Pastrick, veteran Buffalo radio producer, has been named program director/operations manager of WGR. "My immediate plan is to stabilize this situation," said Pastrick, 44. WGR has rehired Jeff Morrison as a sports reporter and also named Darian Chapman as the station's sports director. . . . Kevin Keenan, of WBEN-AM 930, claims that Darren Neaverth was incorrect in a letter published by The Buffalo News claiming that WHTT-FM 104.1 morning show was "No. 1" in its time slot. "WHTT is not No. 1 morning in the adults 35-54 category," Keenan wrote. Keenan sent a copy of Arbitron ratings that showed Neaverth's show behind WBEN and WYRK-FM 106.5 in morning ratings in the 35-54 category. Apparently the style of humor regularly used by Danny Neaverth Sr., along with Darren and Danny Jr., isn't working when it comes to overall ratings. Arbitron ratings show WHTT's overall morning ratings for a 12-plus audience have plunged during the last four Arbitron rating periods, from 8.3 to 7.3 to its current 6.6. The message is clear: Danny, clean up your act. . . . Clarification: Speaking of WHTT, the station claims that it was Dan Neaverth Jr., not Danny Neaverth Sr. -- as The Buffalo News said -- who made a sexist remark mocking the name of Erie County Comptroller Nancy A. Naples. Neaverth Sr., however, talked with Dan Jr. when the remark was mentioned on the air during the WHTT-FM morning show. Neaverth Sr. laughed about it and joined in a comedy routine making fun of Naples' name.