Marty Riemer, the well known and well supported announcer, DJ and host for many West Seattle events is headed back to The Mountain 103.7 FM on Monday, Jan. 24 after being let go in September, 2009. The announcement of his return drew an "overwhelming response" on Jan. 17.
Marty Riemer returns to The Mountain 103.7 FM on a tide of fan support
Marty Riemer, the well known announcer, DJ and West Seattle resident is headed back to The Mountain. KMTT, 103.7 FM his radio home for more than 12 years. Station management finally heard the call of Riemer's league of listeners and are bringing him back to broadcasting after unceremoniously dumping him in September 2009.
Riemer said he had no idea this might happen, even though he was aware of the fervent hope his many fans had expressed.
"It was a three month courting process," Riemer explained, "and my first reaction was, 'they want to make nice, it's just a way for them to bury the bad blood.' That's what I originally thought. Then first time we got together we had lunch and talked about random things in the world…and I said 'O.K. there you go it's nothing about a job. Then the second time it was two managers that got together with me over lunch and at that point I said, 'Somethings up."
At that meeting he heard something else he didn't expect. An apology. When they let he and his broadcast partner Jodi Brothers go they were literally and suddenly escorted out of the station by a guard.
"They said they were sorry about how they handled that," Riemer said, "and that's kind of what I needed to say 'O.K. fine, let's put it behind us,' and the backside of that is that they probably meant 'We're sorry that Facebook exists too," referring to the thousands who maintained their interest and support of Riemer and Brothers after they mounted their West Seattle based basement podcast. The West Seattle Herald profiled their podcast last June.
Riemer won't back on in the morning though.
He made his name in part through the comedic "5:20 funny" usually a brief comedy recording that made his show unique in local radio. Apparently station management remembered this. "They were very gracious through the whole process and made it clear they were interested in me going back to afternoons. I never even contemplated afternoons. I thought that if they ever talked work it would be mornings because that's what I was doing before. I like mornings because it's stimulating and the connection you have with your audience is really intimate because you're like waking up in bed with them, quite frequently."
But he's extremely pleased to be going back to afternoon drive time. "Lifestyle wise, now with two kids, and I've grown rather fond of spending time with them, an afternoon shift is much easier." Riemer's show will be from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm weekdays on 103.7 FM and he's locked in for a three year contract. He starts Monday, Jan. 24.
When he went on the air on Jan. 17 to announce he was coming back he was surprised. "Nothing in this town is completely positive, but the on air reaction was overwhelmingly positive. If there's one thing that comes out of this it's that people really had my back. I got the job back not because anyone at that radio station thinks I'm magnificent on the air. It's because there was a lot of pressure put on them by the audience. It's humbling. It's like I'm not worthy (…) It has moved me this entire year. When we were first fired it was overwhelming the response and I thought that's really nice and made a point of answering every person who sent me a message (…) I thought after three months that was all going to fade away."
He also thought, given the way radio can be, that they believed people would get over it and forget.
That didn't happen.
"When the audience was given a chance to speak their piece they consistently said, 'Bring Marty back' and then when The Mountain opened up their website and Facebook and asked people what they wanted, oh my gosh, they got bombarded."
Another theme arose from that feedback. People wanted The Mountain to freshen up the music. "They were kind of the concierge to music, a trusted source for new music."
The outpouring of support has meant a lot to Riemer. "It seriously brings tears to my eyes because I didn't do anything to deserve that," he said, "but I enjoyed my listeners, I really did."
His quick wit and sense of humor have meant a lot to many people, providing a familiar and funny break from having to sit through Seattle's famously bad traffic. "I never thought that (…) I could lighten some people's load. I never thought I would make a difference in someone's life. The whole thing leaves me somewhat speechless."
Riemer plans to continue his 9:30 am podcasts at MartyRiemer.com and at times will blend elements of his air shift with the web show, plus he expects to have a little better access to musicians as they come through town on tours. But the podcast has a different kind of focus. "Everyone has a story and we like to feature people who don't get media exposure (…) artists for example that The Mountain might not put on the main channel, I'm very interested in putting on the podcast."
His podcast and previous broadcast partner Jodi Brothers is coming back to radio too, She's joining the Bob Rivers show, which will start airing April 1, on KJR 95.7 FM, as the show's news person. For the time being Riemer will fly the podcast solo or bring in guest talent to co-host occasionally. "It makes me laugh to say that Jodi is joining an oldies station," he said.
Coming back to radio was a big decision for Riemer. "My wife rode the low points with me and she was like 'I don't want you going back into that unhealthy environment,' but they have made it clear that environment wise and music wise, they've been incredibly gracious, so slowly but surely my wife has finally said, 'I think this is the right decision.'"