Dave and Bob are not just disembodied voices to their fans. Like the revealed Wizard of Oz, they occasionally leave their hermetically sealed broadcast studio and take dozens of listeners on weeklong cruises to such exotic lands as Alaska.
"We've got our 11th cruise coming up," Dave Ciniero says. "Our last one, 244 people came along."
Inspiring their listening army with such lunacy as getting Dan Quayle to autograph a potato, Dave and Bob are popular for their on-air antics, but also because of their community involvement: Their annual talent show for the Special Olympics fills Ventura High's auditorium and Oxnard Civic Auditorium on successive nights.
"If we're not (behind the mike), they call to see if anything's wrong," Ciniero says. "There's more of a loyalty between talk-radio listeners and stations than any other format."
"The Dave & Bob Show" attracts an average of 4,800 listeners during its four hours, impressive numbers for a county as small as Ventura.
"We've had good luck as an advertising agency with talk radio," says Teri Raley, co-owner of Ventura-based Creative Images. "It has a very defined audience. In this market, the response (from an advertiser's commercial) is predictably solid. . . . 'The Dave & Bob Show' is imperative for a balanced media buy."
Bob Adams, who got his start in radio as a disc jockey in Fresno, was a news broadcaster at KVEN when Ciniero was hired to do sports 10 years ago. A station consultant noticed their on-air chemistry and they were teamed up for the morning show. But that meant a lifestyle adjustment: They wake up before most insomniacs go to bed.
"You suck coffee beans during commercials," says Ciniero, who gets up at 1 a.m. "But it gets pretty automatic."
Their cramped studio at KVEN looks like the cockpit of a 747. Visitors notice a sign that says "Danger--Radioactivity." The bearded Adams, 56, sits opposite Ciniero, 46, who wears glasses, baseball cap, Lakers T-shirt and shorts. Like veteran basketball players, they know each other's moves. Their patter is seamless even though they seldom make eye contact during the show: Adams peruses his next newscast while Ciniero deftly transfers tapes.
Dave and Bob's aim is no loftier than to tickle the funny bones of people getting ready for work. "Everything's got to be short and light and up," Ciniero says.
Raunch is not part of the act. "We have an over-35 audience," Adams says. "It would be ridiculous to try to be risque."