Nothing personal: Hot on the trail of the elusive DreX
Eureka! At long last I finally caught up with the man they call DreX. I can report that he is alive and well and still living in Chicago. But not much more than that.
From January 2003 to December 2010, Kevin Buchar hosted mornings on Clear Channel’s Top 40 WKSC-FM (103.5). On the air, he was known as DreX (a name that evolved from his first radio job when a program director inexplicably dubbed him Mandrex the Magician.) Throughout his eight-year run on Kiss FM, he was among Chicago’s most popular personalities among listeners between 18 and 34 — especially women.
Although his contract had been renewed the previous year, DreX’s show abruptly ended one day at the end of 2010. Without a word of comment from him or any of his bosses, he disappeared, leaving fans to wonder what really happened and whether they’ll ever get to hear him again.
“I feel it was a huge blow to radio when his show was suddenly (and really without much explanation) disbanded,” a reader named Jennifer Quinn wrote to me recently. “I thought the diversity and themes reflected on his show were really representative of a new generation of radio listeners . . . Even if he cannot talk about what happened, it would be nice for us fans to know how he is doing, what he is up to, and what are his plans.”
So I picked up the phone the other day and called him:
“Hi, this is Robert Feder calling. Is this DreX?”
“It is, Bob. How are you?”
“I’m fine. Do you have a minute?”
“I’m not allowed to talk to you.”
“Then let’s talk off the record.”
“No, no. I have to end the conversation. I’m not allowed to speak.”
“Did I do something to offend you?”
“No, no. No, sir. Nothing personal. I have to end the call. Bob, I have to.”
“So I can’t even tell you why I’m calling you?”
“I don’t understand. You don’t even know why I’m calling."
“I can’t comment. I can’t comment. When I can, we will chat.”
“But you don’t know why I’m calling.”
“I don’t know why you’re calling, but I’m still not allowed to talk to you. You can call my agent. But I can’t talk to you.”
“I’ll call him right now. Thank you.”
“And again, it’s not you.”
“Got it. Thanks.”
I did call his agent (a man so charmless and unengaging that I will not identify him by name). I told him I wished to speak to DreX to find out how he’s doing so that I could report back to fans who’d inquired about him.
The agent said he could not allow a conversation to take place. “I don’t want it to be construed as a violation of his agreement,” he said, explaining that his client was barred from talking to the press while still under contract to Clear Channel.
So I proposed a compromise: How about securing a written response to a few of the innocuous questions that the reader, Jennifer Quinn, had asked?
The agent said he would “think about it” and that I should call him back. A few days later, I did. He never returned my call.
So for now, all we have to go on are occasional Facebook messages from DreX, such as his tribute to Whitney Houston (“Whitney. My dear Whitney. My heart is broken.”), his musings on the weather (“I'm SO sick of the media blabbering about how wonderful it is that we keep having Florida weather! If I wanted Florida weather I would live in that God awful sweat hole!!”), and this note he posted on Christmas Eve:
“I just wanted to send all of my fellow beloved Chicago industry friends and broadcasters a message of love and respect. To work in America’s greatest city is a privilege and honor. I wish you all the most God blessed happiest of holidays. Plus a very happy 2012. For now, I’ll just leave it at that. I love you Chi town. dXoX.”