Palm Coast People: A lifetime in radio brought David Ayres to Palm Coast

The lifelong broadcasting journey of David Ayres started when he was a child in Cleveland. Day and night, he listened to the stations on his little clock radio. Every show offered something else.
Yes, there was music, but there was also community there. Each DJ was raising awareness of festivals, shows, charities and local businesses. This aspect of the trade would stick with David until today.
Starting at his high school’s TV department and continuing to intern at some of those same stations, David gradually absorbed the tools of the trade. After graduating from the University of South Florida, David worked in radio stations across Florida. Tampa, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, as well as Jacksonville, before he and his wife came to Palm Coast.
At that point, he had worked under a corporate station named Clear Channel but has since rebranded into iHeart. An old coworker of his named Jim Martin had invited him to help run a radio station. Never having heard of Palm Coast, David agreed.
“What a cool little town,” was David’s first impression. It was 2008 and there were no stations or towers. David and Jim started WNZF with an AM station. Eventually, they gained an FM translator, and another FM station. It was 2009 then, and the channel was FM 92.7. It was a channel meant for cheerful music. No news, besides weather and local information. The success of this bought them another station, FM 98.7, where they play country music, and FM 100.9 as their oldies station.
Two things seem to be the key to David’s success. The first thing is the stations’ programming.
“We don’t program for ratings, we program for time spent listening,” David says. Ultimately, he wants it so a listener can have the station on all day and not hear the same song twice. The second, and arguably the more important, thing is community engagement.
All those stations David grew up on in Cleveland had events for people to come together and enjoy what the area offered. Why not here in Flagler County as well? Especially after Palm Coast had been so good for him and his family. “We came in at the right time. We were embraced by the community,” he says. As a result, David wants WNZF to be a voice for the businesses and the local clubs and organizations, for anybody and everybody.
Working with local talent to host events such as Creekside music, arts, and food festival, and the Sunset Concert and the proceeds going to charity. The Sea Turtle Hospital, Humane Society, and Grace Community Food Pantry all received support and donations from David and his stations.
What comes next for David and WNZF is the same challenge any content creation runs into: staying relevant. Growth is necessary for both the individual and the collective. Tune into any of these stations and you will hear David interviewing local business owners, charity runners, etc.
Maintaining bonds with the community offers more opportunities to give back to the town that has been a home for David and his family.
“This is a great town, and we have an obligation to keep it that way. It’s fun when you can wake up in the morning and be happy. It does not get much better than that.”