Jack FM, the radio home of the top-rated Dave, Shelly & Chainsaw morning show, was heavily promoting its only big concert event of the year. The largest concert facility in town, the 20,000-capacity Cricket Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, was to host the September 14 show featuring Joe Walsh, Pat Benatar and Neil Geraldo, the Gin Blossoms, Toto, and MC Hammer. To drive home the fact the station was involved, the event was called "Jack's Big Show."
The station pumped the show in July and August with prerecorded commercials. The Dave, Shelly & Chainsaw team told its listeners that for everyone who bought a ticket, the station would provide a free ticket to active-duty military and their families. DSC interviewed the military families who won tickets on the air, promising them a chance to go to their big show for free.
But while Jack FM's name was on the event, the actual promoter was mega concert company Live Nation which owns the Cricket Amphitheater.
Ticket sales were slow, and Live Nation cancelled the show in mid-August. After pumping the show hard for a month, Jack FM never once mentioned on the air that the show was canceled.
“We mentioned on our website that due to unforseen circumstances, the show was called off,” says Jack FM program director Mike O'Riley. He admitted that ticket sales “were not keeping pace with expectations,” and that fact “absolutely” triggered Live Nation to cancel the show.
Live Nation did not cancel an identical show (with Dale Bozio of Missiing Persons added) the next day at Irvine Amphitheater.
But how could Dave Shelly and Chainsaw get all that feelgood live radio by giving out tickets to service men and women, and then not even announce the show was called off?
“All those families were contacted and given tickets to other shows,” says O'Riley.
“We took care of everybody. Every one who bought a ticket got a refund.”
But the question remains, why wouldn't Jack FM tell its listeners that Jack's Big Show was not happening?
“[Jack FM] just didn't want to admit that the very core of their being, being an effective advertising vehicle, was not there,” says one insider. “Announcing that the show was off was the right thing to do, but if they did that, it would be a stake through the heart of radio. They would be admitting they aren't effective.”
Insiders, however, say the multi-genre talent lineup of the show made it harder to sell tickets.
The management for Joe Walsh and Gin Blossoms had no comment.