The Tommy Show is no more. After its morning broadcast Tuesday, the management of WIAD, which is marketed as 94.7 Fresh FM, told hosts Tommy McFly, Jen Richer, and Kelly Collis that their popular morning show was done at the station.
Local TV and radio blogger Dave Hughes reported on his site DCRTV that he’d heard McFly and Co. were out, and both Hughes and radio-insider site All Access Music Group have reported that the station’s owner, the radio giant Entercom, may be about to change the station’s format. Neither a spokesperson nor a vice president at Entercom’s DC operation have yet returned phone calls and emails from Washingtonian seeking comment. All Access also reported that on-air personalities Dana McKay and Britt Waters were let go at the same time.
Reached by phone, McFly (government name: Thomas Pavlick) tells Washingtonian that after their show’s abrupt end he, Richer, and Collis delivered 120 cupcakes, as planned, to Mark Twain Middle School in Fairfax. That was welcome, McFly says, because “it reminds us what we do and who we do this for. I’m sitting here talking to you feeling so grateful for what we’ve been able to do over the past seven years.”
Indeed, McFly, Richer, and Collis built a substantial audience in the DC region over those years by taking an almost retail politics approach to radio. They socialized, celebrated, and grieved with their listeners, invited them in to weddings and Thanksgiving feasts, and were difficult to miss at big area events (they recently emceed Washingtonian’s Taste of Georgetown festival).
“We never treated our audience like listeners,” McFly says. “They’re family. They’ve trusted us to be with them during their most intimate parts of their day. We take that really seriously, and the people who spent time with our show are not a commodity we’re trading against, they’re real people.”
Entercom has a network of more than 200 stations across the country. In the DC market its stations include WPGC, WJFK (“The Fan”), and WLZL (“El Sol”). It merged with CBS Radio in 2017. Three years ago, a CBS Radio vice president told me the Tommy Show accounted for about a third of the station’s listenership. That said, WIAD, which broadcasts in the “Hot AC” format, wasn’t rated among the Top 10 of Washington stations by Nielsen in August.
For now, McFly says, he, Richer, and Collis plan to continue their “family” events, perhaps on a more relaxed pace, while they figure out what’s next. Fans can stay in touch with them via their Facebook page, their individual Instagram accounts, through the Tommy Show website, or on Twitter. And they have no plans to leave: “DC is our home,” McFly says. “This is where our home is; this is where our lives are.”