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ANITA DAVIS SAYS HOMECOMING NO. 3 IS FOR KEEPS

May 27, 2003 – Anita Davis put out the word a few days ago via e-mail from Georgia, where she's been hanging out for most of the last four years: "I just wanted you all to know that I am going 'home.'"
Home, they say, is where the heart is. And for Davis, that's not her native New York but her adopted St. Thomas. And in a couple of weeks she'll be returning not only to the island where she spent some 16 years in the broadcast industry in the '80s and '90s but also to the company where she had put down professional roots in the last few years before her departure: Knight Quality Stations.
"This is my third time" moving to the island, she pointed out. "As the third time is often considered the charm, and I apparently live a rather charmed life, I shall land there for the final time."
Davis first arrived on St. Thomas in 1983; after a short stay she went back to the mainland to put in a couple of years at radio stations in Ohio and Georgia. She returned in 1987 and began work at WSTA Radio. That's where she still was in 1995, when Hurricane Marilyn struck, but the winds of change were in the air.
In 1996, Radio One, recently purchased by Randy Knight and newly rebuilt on the Gregerie East shore in Crown Bay, returned to the airwaves after a long hurricane-induced hiatus. Among the new staff was Davis, who came on board as program director, producer of the Paradise Communique and Community Calendar features, and host of the Community Exchange morning talk show.
In August of 1999, citing the "24-hour nature of that work," Davis decided it was time to make a career change — not that she knew what it was going to be. (See the St. Thomas Source story "Radio host Anita Davis to depart St. Thomas".) She moved to Powder Springs, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb, to spend some time with her parents, and soon found herself on the staff of the Internet service provider EarthLink Inc.
In her leisure hours, she took up online publishing, creating Caribia Digest, a clearinghouse for just about all things musically Caribbean and more. (Want to know where Cynthia Saunders recently opened for Jon Lucien? Check out the current posting on Caribia's front page.)
In a recent cost-cutting move, Davis said in her e-mail, EarthLink decided to consolidate its Customer Excellence and Loyalty Division operations in Pasadena, California. The Atlanta division office was closed — "while I was away on a vacation paid for by the company for a job well done!" — and she was offered the choice of relocating to Pasadena with her team or being transferred to another division in Atlanta.
"The Pasadena position was front and center my first choice, as I would be able to continue the work I was doing with a team I had gotten to know," she said. But a friend on St. Thomas planted a different idea in her mind: that California is farther from Atlanta than St. Thomas is. And so, Davis wrote, "a dime was dropped, an old boss beckoned, and … I am going home."
"The way this thing fell into my lap," she said later, "I take it as a sign to stay where I feel most comfortable, and take the bitter with the sweet."
She will be back on island the second week of June to take up her duties at the KQS Caribbean Division. She will be providing "programming and project support to the three stations" — WVWI/Radio One, WWKS/Kiss-FM and WVJZ/Jamz — as well as doing "a number of administrative things, plus commercials, live talent and production."
Over the Memorial Day holiday, she's been back in Powder Springs "house-sitting and puppy-sitting" while her parents enjoy the long weekend in Charleston. She has no regrets about having spent nearly four years in the Atlanta area. "The move did me a lot of good," she says. "I learned an awful lot at EarthLink, and I was able to indulge my passion for the World Wide Web."
As a member of a group called Customer Excellence Advocates, she said, "my swan song happened to be the proposal of an internal communications initiative that was swiftly adopted by the company and is to be implemented in the beginning of June. Who knew? It is gratifying to have been able to contribute in a meaningful way to a company the size of EarthLink.
"But I have been to Pasadena, and I have been to the Virgin Islands. For me, there is no contest."

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