Radio & TV Talk

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Star 94.1 promo van goes up in flames

This was Tuesday, June 13, 2017 by Rodney Ho/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

A Star 94.1 promotions van went up in flames Monday night in the parking lot of the radio station in Vinings. The front of the van is now basically a hunk of gray-tinged, melted metal.

"Someone REALLY hates me and Jenn," wrote Jeff Dauler, morning co-host for the pop station, on his Instagram page after  snapping photos of the now useless van.

Why the fire started is not clear but the fire department said it might have been electrical and related to the engine, said Mike Fowler, general manager for Star. The van hadn't been driven all day Monday. In fact, it had been 27 hours since anybody at the station had used it. That alone makes him suspicious it might have been foul play.

Fowler has been in the radio business for more than 30 years. He's never seen anything like this happen. He's had a promo van stolen and wrecked but never gone up in smoke..

Dauler on air this morning said he saw someone in the vicinity at 5 a.m. coming on the show Monday morning but then forgot about it. Unfortunately, the radio building has no cameras set on the parking lot so there was no way to know if there were any arson-happy suspects wandering around.

When the fire was first noticed at 6;15 p.m. Monday by a security guard, two employees managed to a nearby second promo van out of harm's way. By the time the fire department showed up, this fired-up van was a lost cause. Fowler did note that the Jeff and Jenn morning show decal on the wrapped van did survive but virtually nothing inside did. Promotional materials and a high-end sound system for remote events were burned up.

Insurance will cover replacing the van though Star will have to pay for new stereo equipment.

Dauler said people are having fun taking photos with the burned out van:"I want to put it on a flatbed and haul it to events. It's getting so much attention!"

Fowler said he was having car trouble on his way home and almost went back to the office to use that van to drive home instead. But that obviously would not have worked out so well.

"This one," he mused, "is for the record books. Now I can say I had a van go up in flames without anybody driving it." ...

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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.