Word's been circulating throughout the local radio community today that Greg Davis, who has been general manager at WRR-FM (101.1) since 1993, has been fired. That's not true, according to WRR employees to whom I spoke today. Instead, they say, he is retiring effective May 6. He announced his decision to the station's staff yesterday.
I've left several messages for Davis this afternoon, and WRR has also sent him an e-mail letting him know we've got some questions. Calls have also been placed to the City Manager's Office for comment.
Update at 2:26 p.m.: Maria Muñoz-Blanco, director of the city's Office of Cultural Affairs and his direct superior, tells Unfair Park she won't say too much about Davis's retirement: "It's a personnel matter, so I'd rather not give you the details," she says when asked when Davis told her she was leaving. This is what she will say:
"I've worked with Greg for the last four years, and the one thing that's always amazed me is the incredible passion he has for WRR. ... I never think about retirement as a surprise. There are a lot of city staffers who have been working for the city for a long time, and you hear, every now and then, about retirement. But I hadn't heard it from Greg before, and he's someone I identify so closely with WRR it's still hard to get my head around it. But he's young enough he can enjoy life. I'll miss our monthly meetings where we catch up on stuff."
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Forest Tucker, the assistant city manager who oversees the Office of Cultural Affairs, tells Unfair Park that Davis told him he was retiring last Thursday. Tucker says he'll visit with City Manager Mary Suhm -- who's in San Jose this very moment meeting with police chief Robert Davis, a candidate to replace David Kunkle -- next week to discuss finding Davis's replacement and "what we'll do in the interim."
There was a time -- like in '96, when we ran this piece -- when Davis was under fire for embellishing his resume, getting promoted over someone more qualified (prompting a discrimination lawsuit against the city), receiving exorbitant raises in a short time and for what then-Observer-er Holly Mullen called his "rocky stewardship of the station." That was two years after he started -- when the city (yet again) was considering selling the classical station.
Four years ago, round about the time the city was (yet again) knocking around the idea of selling WRR, there were folks once again calling for Davis's ouster. That, like many things, confused Jim Amadeus Schutze, who wrote way back in August 2006: "When do they take the laser dot off Greg Davis' forehead? As general manager at WRR, he's done nothing but make money for the city."
And for himself: In September 2008, the City Auditor's Office released a report that said Davis had yet to pay back $89,683 in commissions the auditor said he'd been overpaid years earlier. At which point the city auditor just threw up his hands and told the City Manager's Office, Hey, you run WRR the way you want to run it.