When Jim Martin wanted to start a radio station in what was essentially a radio–if not a media–desert in Flagler County 14 years ago, he contacted David Ayres, who’d worked with him as a sales manager years before at a Punta Gorda radio station. “Where’s Palm Coast?” Ayres remembers asking Martin.
But Ayres signed on, started WNZF when there were “no radio stations, no towers, no studios, no transmitters, no nothing,” went on to launch five more radio stations run by Flagler Broadcasting’s remarkably stable staff of 20, and became, if not the voice of Palm Coast and Flagler County, at least one of Flagler’s most prominent boosters.
According to an announcement issued by the company today, Martin has named Ayres president of the company. Ayres had been its vice president and general manager since 2008. He’ll fill a role previously filled by Martin, who is taking a step back from day to day operations at the network. Martin will be chairman of the company’s board.
Ayres’s role as host of Free For All Fridays, the weekly and popular public affairs show, will not change, nor will his always-visible role at the station and in the community (he still even covers some events for the radio station). “It’s business as usual,” Ayres said, “maybe just, you know, a few more things I can make decisions on without asking him.”
“Obviously, it’s an honor to be promoted from Vice President to President,” he said. He is also among the stockholders of Flagler Broadcasting. “We have so many good things happening in the community and all the radio stations, all six of them are doing very well. So I think just keep doing better at what we do and grow with the community. That’s where my head’s at.”
Ayres, 67, is a native of Cleveland, where he grew up listening to WGAR, WERE and WMMS (the station that played a large role in Cleveland eventually landing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), and moved to Tampa, where he started his career in media, which included “spinning records” in radio and newspapers. He’s worked in Sarasota, Fort Myers and Southwest Florida. He was the promotions manager for newspapers, including the Ogden Newspaper Group, at one point sold jingles for Memphis-based Media General, traveling the country, then came back to radio.
The other stations in Flagler Broadcasting’s portfolio are Beach 92.7, KIX Country 98.7, KOOL 100.9, Beach 105.5 and St. Augustine Country 106.3.