One half of 'The Mark & Neanderpaul Show' on KSLX is signing off for good. Here's why

Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic

Mark Devine has his last song picked out.

And no, you won’t learn the title here. But you’ll find out why he needs one.

Devine, half of the popular “Mark & Neaderpaul” morning show on KSLX-FM (100.7), is leaving the air on March 31 after eight years at the station.

By choice — his choice. That’s a luxury a lot of people who work in radio aren’t afforded. A couple of bad ratings periods and they disappear suddenly and completely, like a dissident in the old Soviet Union. It’s like they never existed at all.

“It’s been a nice run,” Devine said. “There aren’t many (stations) that would allow this kind of thing to happen. It’s kind of nice to see them show that amount of trust.”

Devine was also half of the 'Tim & Mark' duo on KDKB

As for that last song, well, he will say what it isn’t.

“I’ve got a song in mind,” Devine said. “I’ll give you a hint: It’s not by Rob Zombie. Nor is it by Slipknot.”

There’s still time to keep guessing. Meanwhile, things are proceeding like they usually do at the classic-rock station. Mostly.

Mark Devine and Paul 'Neanderthal' Marshall.'

“It is funny,” Devine said. “It is a little bit freeing, for sure. On the other hand, I always took the responsibility seriously to be prepared and be ready for each day. I didn’t want to let that go downhill in the last couple of weeks. It was just important to me to maintain the quality, whatever quality there is.”

Devine laughed at that last bit (and plenty of other times during a recent interview).

“I don’t pretend that it’s high art, but it is something people enjoy. I didn’t want listeners’ expectations not to be met.”

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Retirement is 'a scary move,' Devine says

Mostly Devine sounded grateful — both for his stint at KSLX, his second outing as half of a high-profile Valley station duo. Previously, he was half of the "Tim & Mark Show" on KDKB-FM (93.3). So why leave now?

“It’s a bunch of different things,” he said. “I guess one of the things is I just wanted to have as much time to enjoy retirement as I possibly could. I really enjoy doing what I do, but the clock starts ticking at a certain point. My wife and I have always felt like we couldn’t get enough time just to enjoy ourselves — enjoy each other and enjoy ourselves.”

His wife, a school principal, plans to retire in June.

Still, you can’t be successful at something you love and not have a little trepidation about walking away from it.

“Trepidation is a great word for it,” Devine said. “It’s a scary move, it really is. I’m giving up a great spot. That’s intimidating. It’s a little scary. But my sister, my brother and my parents … loved being retired. … I think I’ll have some strange days in the first year, some days where I wonder why I made that decision. But I have pretty strong faith that it’s going to be the right decision.”

Here's what's next for Devine's partner, Neanderpaul

Mark Devine and Paul 'Neanderpaul' Marshall standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.

Of course, Devine’s decision affects his broadcast partner, Paul Marshall — Neanderpaul — as well. Marshall posted on his Facebook about his plans.

“Knowing how foolish and unsuccessful it usually is to attempt to recreate chemistry, our parent company has decided to make the smartest decision they can. They will engage in a nationwide search for an established Morning Show, plug them into the time slot, and I will continue with KSLX in Middays.”

It wasn’t exactly a shock for Marshall, Devine said.

“When Paul and I got together eight years ago, I remember saying to him originally, any contract I sign could potentially be my last,” he said. “I knew I wasn’t going to go for a long, long time with it.”

It wasn’t because it wasn’t working, Devine said.

“The show easily still has five years as a top-rated show in the market if I chose to stay. If I did that, I’d just be doing it for the money. Which is great, it’s a good reason to do things. But my heart wouldn’t be in it as it has been.”

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Devine sold real estate between radio gigs

It’s noteworthy that Devine left radio once before — and came back. When the Tim and Mark show ended in 2005, “I was burned out. Completely burned out. I decided to go in a completely different direction.”

He sold real estate. Which he enjoyed, Devine said, but “something was nagging at me, and it was because I didn’t have a creative outlet, I think. As I started getting older, into my early 50s, I said I’d like to finish my working life by going back to what I love the best.”

He interviewed with a small station in the Valley, which he declined to name.

“I could tell the guy had no interest whatsoever in me,” Devine said. “And I was thinking to myself, ‘Don’t you know who I was?’”

Devine laughed heartily at this, for the record.

When he got to his car, he checked his phone messages, and there was one from the program director at KSLX.

What Mark Devine will miss most about his radio show

Of course, Devine will miss parts of the job, like “the great, rapid-fire chemistry Paul and I have.”

There’s also the goofball nature of a morning show. For instance, one morning the two got “so much mileage out of talking about Vick’s VapoRub and how you never see that anymore. Making something out of something so silly, making a discussion out of something mundane or silly but that everybody can relate to, I think is one of the things I’ll miss the most.”

Turning those offbeat life moments into show fodder is what Devine is most likely to miss, he said.

“I think the first time something funny happens to me while I’m out, I’ll think, ‘Oh my god, that’s going to be great to talk about Monday,’” he said. “And then, 'Oh yeah, that’s right. I’m not on the air anymore.' That’ll be a little bittersweet.”

Reach Goodykoontz at Facebook: Twitter: @goodyk.

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