If you don’t recognize today’s FACE from her picture, you likely know the sound of her voice. Mara Davis’s voice has been filling the Atlanta airwaves since 1994, when she joined Atlanta’s former rock station Z93 as a midday host. Most known for her popular “Out to Lunch” hour and “Radio Free Lunch,” Mara is now tasting her way through Atlanta’s food scene as the co-host of Atlanta Eats TV and the host of Atlanta Eats Radio.
How did you get started in radio?
After working at the college radio station and loving it, my mom encouraged me to get a radio internship. Once I did, I was hooked. My first real job was as the receptionist for the station where I interned (what then was WZOU in Boston). From there I went to Rochester, NY, for my first full-time on-air job. This eventually led me to Atlanta to work at Z93, which became Dave FM.
We miss your midday show on the radio, especially “Out to Lunch.” Radio stations in Atlanta seem to change over quite a bit. Is that typical?
Aw, thanks. “Out To Lunch” and “Radio Free Lunch” defined who I am as a radio personality in Atlanta. Taking calls and making jokes while bringing people together through music is just the best. I truly miss the people the most.
Radio is changing everywhere, not just in Atlanta. You’re hearing less personality and more jukebox-style automation or syndication. I’m hopeful that eventually this will change, but who knows? For now I’m thankful to have had the experience working at the same station for 18 years.
You are still on the radio weekly with your show “Atlanta Eats Radio,” but do you miss the music aspect of radio?
I still get to talk music with Steve Goss on the great WABE 90.1 FM. “Mara’s Music Mix” is on every Friday morning at 6:35 and 8:35, and it’s an honor to be affiliated with NPR’s “Morning Edition.” I miss talking music daily, but “Atlanta Eats Radio” is so much fun. Interviewing people and digging into the stories behind the food is a dream gig. I would love to do it every day. We’re all connected through food, regardless of age, class, race, sex or demographic.
What five songs would be on your party playlist?
This list is constantly changing, but right now it would be “Blue Moon” by Beck, “From a Window Seat” by Dawes, “Windows are Rolled Down” by Amos Lee, “Right as Rain” by Adele and “The Way We Move” by Langhorne Slim. It’s so hard to pick just five!
With your job with Atlanta Eats, you are lucky to enjoy meals throughout the city. Do you also like to cook?
NO! I’m ridiculously lucky that my husband, Mike, is an incredible cook. It works perfectly because I love grocery shopping and don’t mind cleaning up.
If you suddenly had to move and could eat three last restaurant meals in Atlanta, where would you go for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
What might people be surprised to learn about you?
That I was a shy, introverted kid. Summer camp changed my life and brought me out of my shell.
How do you stay energized while keeping such a busy schedule?
Managing my 8-year-old son, getting a good night’s sleep and remembering not to sweat the small stuff.
What do you do in your spare time?
Binge-watch TV shows, read magazines and news. Social media in general. Try new restaurants and discover new music when I can stay up past 10 p.m.
Who is the favorite guest of all time you have interviewed?
This is such a tough question, there are so many! I’ll say Adele because I talked to her before she really was Adele. No makeup, no PR team — just a plain and simple gal on a tour bus. I wanted to be best friends with her.
What is your favorite piece of advice?
Be nice to your interns, they could be your boss someday.
What is a really memorable meal you have had recently?
Sobban Korean Southern Diner in Decatur, AL. Truly unique, delicious and fun. Kimchi never tasted so good.
What is your favorite cocktail around town?
Martini at the Highland Tap.
If you could change one thing about Atlanta, what would it be?
Better public transportation and radio.
What are three of your favorite things right now?
- Flywheel spin class. I hate working out, but I love it there.
- Meringue Boutique. No matter what I’m wearing from them, people always ask where it’s from.
- Emily Giffin‘s The One And Only. Emily is a friend, so she sent me an advance copy of the book (out 5/20). It’s her best yet and will be the chick-lit read of the summer.
What have you planned for summer?
My husband and I are planning a trip to NYC while our son is at camp. Can’t wait!
What are three things you cannot live without, excluding faith, family and friends?
- Brogie, my Sheltie mix.
- Strong coffee in the morning.
- “The Howard Stern Show.” I am probably his biggest fan and never miss a show. Bababooey.
Thank you, Mara! Mara appears on “Atlanta Eats TV” every Saturday and Sunday morning at 10:30 on Peachtree TV, and on “Atlanta Eats Radio” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 640 WGST. www.maradavis.com
And, thanks to Cat Maxwell for capturing these beautiful photos of Mara!