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10 years to grow, 1 snip to go

WQYK's Dave McKay gives up his cherished ponytail in an event that raises $10,000 for charity.

By PAMELA DAVIS

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 11, 2001


WQYK-FM 99.5 personality Dave McKay didn't want to give up the ponytail he'd been growing for 10 years. But when Tampa Bay Buccaneer John Lynch made an on-air plea for him to cut it for charity, McKay gave in.

During the season, McKay had promised to chop off his locks if Lynch made a touchdown. Lynch didn't come through, but McKay did.

The WQYK studio was filled Friday with folks eager to see McKay squirm. Tampa Mayor Dick Greco, station advertisers and listeners were on hand to witness the event.

Lynch surprised McKay by pulling out a pair of new garden shears for the job, which aired live during the Randy and Dave Show.

"You're a good sport," Lynch told McKay after he made the cut.

"I'm an idiot," McKay replied.

The haircut raised $10,000 for the John Lynch Foundation, which sets up scholarship programs for young athletes.

* * *

Ted Kamikaze, the midday voice on WXTB-FM 97.9 (98 Rock), will turn off his microphone for good at the end of his show Monday. After 26 years in the radio business, the 41-year-old is retiring.

Kamikaze got into radio at 14 in Atlantic City. When he was 16, he drove to the station after his gym class for an afternoon shift. By the time he graduated from high school, he had his own morning show.

In 1986 he came to the Tampa Bay area to take an on-air job with classic rock station WKRL (now WXTB) and never left. Most recently, Kamikaze handled the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift and was program director at sister station WTBT-FM 103.5 (Thunder).

"This has always been my goal to devote more time to my family and myself," he said. "Radio management, while rewarding, is also time consuming. I'm still young enough to enjoy life, and I want to do that."

Kamikaze plans to remain in the area.

Replacing him at WXTB is Launa Phillips, who was on air at the station from 1998 to 1999. She's returning to the area from WVRK-FM in Columbus, Ga.

* * *

Art Bell, the former host of the syndicated Coast to Coast AM program, will return to the airwaves Feb. 5.

Bell left the show in April, citing family and legal issues. Coast to Coast AM, which airs from 1 to 6 a.m. on more than 430 stations nationwide, including WFLA-AM 970, concerns itself with UFOs, strange occurrences and other unexplained phenomena.

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