Where are they now?

Back on the air with Z-93’s Jeff Wicker

By Jim Bucher

photo: (l-r) Producer Dave Redelberger, Kim Faris, and Jeff Wicker

Anybody remember Eaton, Dayton, Springfield Alive: Z-93? Bring back memories?

Well, in the ’90s, I became friends with the radio station’s morning madman, Jeff Wicker and his 1992-1995 Wicker in the Morning AM drive-time show, through his co-host, broadcasting legend Kim Faris. Jeff and I hit it off, both of us in our early 30s physically, pre-teens mentally.

Jeff not only was entertaining the masses on the radio waves, but his talents were showcased on TV, too. Or rather, TV2.

At the time, Jeff joined me on a new segment on the station called “2 On the Town.” We had a ball.

But he got the itch when bigger things beckoned, moving to Chicago to take a morning gig on an all ’70s hits station, until it changed formats to Spanish. (Jeff spoke French). We sort of lost touch until recently but picked up where we left off.

“After Chicago, in August of 1996, I took a job doing mornings on a top-40 station in Richmond, Virginia, Q94, one of the last 200,000-watt FM stations in the country,” Jeff says. “We still used the name Wicker in The Morning and did similar bits, stunts, and games like at Z93.”

Jeff got out of radio for a bit, from 2002 to 2004. During that period, he was a commercial spokesperson on radio, TV, and auditioned for any TV or movie gig that came along. That was fun, he says, but he missed radio.

“Moved to Greensboro, North Carolina in 2004 to do radio again, this time on 98.7, a station that played everything,” he says. “Did mornings there until March of 2009. Then took an afternoon job on a country station in Greensboro, WTQR, and enjoyed that until the company I was working for laid off 300 people across the country in one day.”

Yep, consolidation in radio reared its ugly head. Jeff did what we all seem to do once we’re in the business then suddenly out—a little soul-searching.

“I took a little time off and started working in the restaurant business with my brother in Charlotte, North Carolina. We sold that and within a month got a call from the radio company in Richmond, wanting to know if I’d return to do radio. I said, ‘no way,’” he says. “And so here I am, back in radio as of January 2016 on a station that is down the hall from Q94, where I worked before. I’m now doing Wicker in The Morning on WTVR Mix 98.1 and have a blast, talk about the current trends, take a lot of calls and give away tons of tickets. It feels good to be back on the air.”

In between all that, the perennial bachelor tied the knot.

“Yep, married Sarah in Dec. of 2001 and we have 3 beautiful kids: two boys, 13 and 11, and a daughter who has me wrapped around he finger, who just turned 9 on St. Patrick’s Day. Sarah says I had kids to have a new audience [to] laugh at my dumb jokes. Hey, whatever works,” Jeff says.

But his heart remains in Dayton.

“I’m from Ohio, so Dayton was a special place for me,” he says. “My favorite memories were working with Kim, and loved doing the bits with you, Buch, on Channel 2. I miss Skyline Chili, the Pine Club, and the great listeners we had on Z93. Dayton is such a great place.”

Great memories here, but the one that sticks out for Jeff, and many others, is this classic:

“People were always calling, saying ‘I’ll do anything for tickets,’ so one day, we jokingly said ‘Will you drive naked? …We offered it up on-air for Duran Duran tickets and this young lady took us up on it. She had to drive to work naked, and no one saw her naked because she sat so low in her car, but the mental picture on radio was priceless. She got pulled over in Beavercreek and had to go to court. Charges were eventually dropped, but the station had to pay court costs. Our boss at the time said, ‘That was the best money he ever spent.’ We got national attention for it. Crazy stunt!”

What’s next for Wicker?

“I would like to do some more “2 on the Towns.” Do you think Channel 2 would have us back? OK, maybe cable access is more our speed. We had so much fun creating ideas for both radio and TV. I miss that.”

Are you listening Ch. 2? I know a couple of guys.

Cheers,

Buch

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For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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