The news came down yesterday: DJ Merritt, who has helmed the long-running and much-revered three-hour, Saturday night, EDM-focused show "Edgeclub" on KDGE-102.1 FM The Edge since 1994, was told that last Saturday night's episode of the show will be its last.
"There was no warning," says Merritt, who just this year was voted as the Best DJ in Dallas in our 22nd annual Dallas Observer Music Awards. "I'm in shock a little bit. It's something I've done every single week for the last 16 years of my life. So, yeah, things are gonna be different."
According to Merritt, the show's midnight to 3 a.m. slot will be replaced by a mandated, national, Clear Channel-provided "alt-rock programming block." Calls into Edge program director Vince Richards to confirm the replacement show have not yet been returned.
Ratings for "Edgefest," as far as Merritt's aware, haven't dipped of late. In the late '90s, the show's listenership soared, Merritt says, earning a 16 ratings share in its demographic, and rotating between the Nos. 2 and 3 slots in its market. The show launched in 1990 with host Alex Luke, was then handed over to DJ Jeff K for a short run in the early '90s, and became Merritt's regular duty starting in October of '94.
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This doesn't mean the end of Merritt DJing on the Edge, however: He'll remain on the station, continuing his regular noon to 6 p.m. slot on Sunday afternoons.
And, for what it's worth, he plans to fight to keep "Edgeclub" on the air, perhaps in another, and maybe earlier, timeslot -- assuming he can mobilize his show's fanbase to encourage the station to change their minds.
"We're gonna hope," the DJ says. "But, as of right now, we're off the air."
And late-night drives home from area bars will never be the same.