by Alisa Clancy
When Dave Ramirez was a kid, he used to tune in to Dr. Don Rose on 610 KFRC in the Bay Area. “I would record his shows on cassettes,” Dave says, “Then I’d go back and dub my voice in. He just made me laugh!” “Hellloooo, Helllloooo AGAIN!” Dave must have caught that radio bug really early on and brought it to life here on KCSM! Dave’s been broadcasting here, first on Jazz After Hours and then as co-host with Mal Sharpe on Back on Basin Street for the last ten years. He has the dubious distinction of starting his first on-air shift on Halloween, 1998, and remembers his first tune was, “Untitled Blues,” by Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis. “I faint.” And when the first back-announce because I was sweating, light-headed, and so nervous I thought I would faint.” And when there’s no one in the studio besides you, no one can hear you scream – well, except the 200,000 listeners!
Dave Ramirez was born in 1971 and raised here in San Francisco. “My parents had a pretty extensive record collection, 50s and 60s; Doo Wop, Surfer, Pop. But we also heard Javier Solis, Vincente Fernandez and Miguel Aceves Mejia. Santana was big at our house, too!” Dave listened to a lot of music: jazz, classical, country, 80’s pop, rap, alternative rock, and he played trumpet for about three years. “One of these days I’m gonna get that thing out again,” he swears.
Even with all that broadcasting training here at the College of San Mateo, Dave was really unprepared for being “unprepared,” with Mal Sharpe. “Mal is the most challenging. Getting cues from him – he’d look at me those first couple shifts with that, ‘Ok-let’s-go’ look and I’d just stare at him. I wondered how long I’d last before he’d dump me outta there! I honestly don’t know how long we’ve been together, five, six years, I don’t think Mal could tell you either. But, it works, it’s amazing, he gets people talking, laughing, and so comfortable – yeah, comfortable being uncomfortable!”
Most of the announcer/programmers here a KCSM have regular day jobs and Dave Ramirez is no exception. Dave’s been a supervisor at Costco for eighteen years and he and his wife Stacey have a young son, Evan, who’s keeping him pretty busy. “Yep, lots’ of gigs from hell running back and forth from Costco, to the station, back home, back to Costco, pouring rain, power outage – that’s just one night I’m thinking of. But you know what? I get to talk to people all over the world, play music that I love and I’m on air – and I don’t have to dub my voice someone else’s anymore!
Dave Ramirez is host of Evening Jazz every Monday night/Early Tuesday morning from 10pm-2pm and co-host of Back of Basin Street with Mal Sharpe, Sunday’s 9pm-11pm.