October 3, 2008

Bob FM Sunday Show Gets New Host, Hours


By Jeff Maisey


The sun has set on Hunter Hughes' stint as host of the eclectic "Sunrise on Sundays" program heard weekly from 6 to 10 a.m. on WPYA Bob FM. On-air personality Holly Williams will take over the show, which will reduced by two hours, 7 to 9 a.m.

Hughes was informed of the station's decision on Monday, the day after he hosted and broadcast live from the third annual Sunrise to Sunset Acoustic Festival at Town Point Park. The festival was a promotional partnership between Festevents and the radio show.

"Sunrise" began in the early 1990s and was part of The Coast before the station changed format and became the country-flavored Kick FM. When Kick was given the boot by station owner Bob Sinclair, "Sunrise" was brought back to the 93.7 frequency under the newly formed Bob FM brand.

Hughes, an on-again, off-again host of the show, was given a degree of freedom to select the music. He is the news operations manager with WAVY-10 and has no other part-time commitments with Bob FM or other Sinclair radio stations.

Hughes mixed big-name acoustic-based recording artists with obscure acts. Its format was a bit different from the Bob FM philosophy, where a variety of stylistic hits are played in a seemingly random order.

"We would talk to Hunter on a regular basis and say, 'Hunter, play a little more familiar music,'" said Sinclair. "Put some Dave Matthews or Beatles in from time to time.'"

"I did," said Hughes. "I can show you my playlist from last week."

In fact, the station's online archives from Sept. 14 confirm that Hughes played tunes from Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Fleetwood Mac, Norah Jones and Neil Young. Go back another week and the song selection included pieces from Sting, James Taylor and Sheryl Crow.

He said he included such artists as the anchors in an "eclectic mix of acoustic gumbo."

He also invited local acoustic music acts to perform a short set live over the airwaves. At the music festival, Hughes said he was personally touched when several people told him they set their alarm clocks to his show so they could awake relaxed.

"I'm sad for all those people who will wake up Sunday morning and not hear it," he said.

Expect to hear familiar soft rock hits on this Sunday's "Sunrise."

Country Lure

According to Todd Washburn, his Norfolk-based label Lure Records sees a bright future in country music. Lure recently released "Texas Sweetheart" from Sarah Gayle Taylor. The 21-year-old Taylor is originally from Texas but moved to Virginia Beach to attend Regent University. Her first single, "I Miss You," and most of the album, was written by New York er Gary Portnoy, who wrote the theme music for the TV show "Cheers."

Financial backing

Symphonicity, the symphony orchestra of Virginia Beach, which performs six concerts a year at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, has received a $50,000 endowment from the estate of Christine Bosher.

The skinny on Force

Steve Athey, who owns Skinnie's Records in Norfolk, has put together a new hard rocking cover band called Force. Formed in August, the trio, which features Athey on guitar, Scott Vining on bass and vocals, and Rick Rockman on drums, will make its debut Saturday at Clutch Bar & Grill (120 General Booth Blvd., Virginia Beach, 8:30 p.m., free admission). Their set list leans heavily on AC/DC, Metallica and Van Halen. May the Force be with you, headbangers.

Symphony for the holidays

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of JoAnn Falletta, plans to record and release a CD of holiday-themed music. It follows the 20-track "Favorite Holiday Classics" album that the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, also under Falletta's direction, released last month. In fact, according to VSO publicist Donna Hudgins, several of the musical selections will be the same.

Jeff Maisey, (757) 222-3934, [email protected]

'Sunrise' changing

Hunter Hughes was notified Monday that he will no longer host "Sunrise on Sundays" on 93.7 FM.

Country Lure

Norfolk-based label Lure Records recently released "Texas Sweetheart" from 21-year-old Sarah Gayle Taylor.

Originally published by BY JEFF MAISEY.

(c) 2008 Virginian - Pilot. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.