The show included four news reporters, over the course of its run. David Haines (1985-1989), the program's original newsman, died on July 10, 2005. Laurie Neff, the second newsperson, is known for getting into a traffic accident with Washington DC mayor Marion Barry Dave Schreiber served as the show's third newsman until 1991 when Buzz Burbank arrived and continued in the position through the end of the Don and Mike show and on to the successor show hosted by O'Meara.
WAVA and WJFK-FM subscribe to the traffic services of fellow CBS Radio subsidiary Metro Traffic. Former Washington traffic reporters include Kim "Boomer" Anderson, Rob Carpente, Janet DeLaney, Kris Gamble, Stevie Bridgewater, and Shari Elliker (1992-1996) Elliker currently co-hosts the Broadminded radio program on XM Radio and also hosts her own show on WBAL in Baltimore, Maryland. The show also took advantage of the service's offer to allow the show to provide pseudonyms for its traffic reporter. Over the years, "Michael Hunt", "Vera Bruptly", "Lane Closure", "Jason Feces", and "Michelle Hughes" (a take-off on "Michael Hughes", WJFK's General Manager) were heard on the WJFK-FM feed of the show (not on affiliate feeds).
In keeping with the open environment on the show, phone screeners were sometimes featured on air. In addition to Joe Ardinger, Joe Rockhead, and Christine CK2 were featured. Engineers Darryl Nichols, Tony Diggs, and NRA member and gun enthusiast Wendell Hall received airtime as well.
Executives and managers at WJFK were also featured on the show. Former WJFK-FM production director, Chris Madzik, was featured frequently before he left in 1996 for Detroit. WAVA general managers Alan Goodman and Ken Stevens as well as WJFK-FM general managers Alan Leinwand and Michael Hughes were frequent targets for the show. Program directors Smoky Rivers, Jeremy Coleman, Cameron Gray, Greg Gillespie, Max Dugan, Matthew Verbin and Matt Farber received similar treatment.
Unlike other similar radio shows, the Don and Mike show did not always have an intern. But those it did have were often featured on the program. Producer Robb Spewak started as an intern. Other former interns include Jimmy the Intern, "B.O. Bob" Cesca (news intern reporting to Buzz Burbank) and, most recently, Matt the Intern (AKA Matt the Pole) who worked with the show from June-August of 2007.
WAVA debuted "The New Morning zoo" on December 11, 1985, pairing up hosts Don Geronimo and Mike O'Meara. It also featured David Haines with news, Kim Anderson (nicknamed "Boomer" or Kim "Boom Boom" Anderson) on traffic reports, and was produced by John Nolan. Nolan was later replaced by producer Frank Murphy (Radio). Whenever anything went wrong with the show, Don or Mike would shout "Fraaaank". The original format interspersed talk and comedy bits with top-40 music.
For several weeks during the summer of 1988, Geronimo and O'Meara hosted their own Washington,DC-based television series, "The Prime Time Video Zoo", which was aired on the local CBS affiliate WUSA. Airing weekly at 8pm, the show was taped with a small studio audience and featured several bits from the radio program as well as O'Meara's impressions and D.C. area personalities, with segments of Top-40 music videos.
Haines was the first show "regular" to leave for a better offer elsewhere, departing for more money at WPLJ in New York City in 1989. Haines' replacement was Laurie Neff. Dave Schreiber succeeded Neff.
Geronimo's wife was a DJ at the time of the debut of the show, using the radio name "Laura Petrie." Geronimo's young son Bart Sorce made appearances on the early stages of the show as "Bart the Weatherman."
In June 1991, WAVA was purchased by Salem Communications. At first, Salem was known primarily as a religious broadcaster. But it had a few secularly programmed stations, and indicated it might be interested in maintaining a contemporary music format on WAVA if Don & Mike would stay on as the morning show. When the duo accepted a better offer from crosstown WJFK, Salem later announced that it would be changing WAVA'a format to Christian Music & Teaching .
The program was added to the lineup of WNEW in New York, and moved to mid-days in 2001. The move was billed as an opportunity to maximize the show's potential, and promote fellow Infinity Broadcasting network program Opie and Anthony. It didn't work. The program garnered low ratings in New York. The show was #1 in Washington, DC during its last ratings book for mid-days but was removed from the WNEW lineup.
The last day in mid-days was August 21, 2002. The program returned to afternoons on September 3, 2002, in most of the markets where it had been broadcast before the move. In late 2006, the show went on an extended hiatus without explanation.
When the show started broadcasting again live on January 2, 2007, it was revealed that Don had been angry since the death of Freda, and that he felt that he had not had time to properly grieve. Don was also feeling guilty about feeling happy without Freda. For all intents and purposes Don and Mike thought that the show was done, but after a few weeks Don accepted his bosses' offer to take the rest of 2006 off, get his head together with the help of a counselor, and then return in 2007. Contrary to popular belief, a new contract was not in the negotiations for Don & Mike's return to the airwaves, and the duo still planned to close out their contract in late 2008.
On February 3, 2004 a pair of expletives spoken by Geronimo were not censored by the usual delay, resulting in a shakeup of the show. The show was subsequently suspended for two weeks. When they returned on February 20, 2004 their first show included four consecutive hours of music.
The move toward reverb has fluctuated throughout the life of the show. When Don became program director of WJFK-FM for a short time, he ordered reverb be added to the entire station, and years before that, when the duo first appeared on WJFK in October 1991, a caller asked, "Where's the reverb?" The show on WAVA-FM had used heavy reverb.
On December 16, 1994 the program broadcast live from the El Dorado Casino in Reno, Nev. In 1996, the show produced "Sex, Pies and Videotape" , a video which featured Don and Mike taking a bus full of listeners to a local nudist colony for an Olympic style event, during which all of the contestants were nude.
The show has feuded with several celebrities over the years. Leah Remini was a great friend of the show. Don and Mike have visited with Leah in her home and appeared on the King of Queens. Leah's appearances were so frequent on the show that she had an ISDN line installed in her home but Leah was unable to contribute to the show at the same level for longer periods of time. Max Baer, Jr., star of The Beverly Hillbillies, feuded with Don and Mike after they made fun of his idea to open a Beverly Hillbillies casino in Reno, Nevada. He claimed on local radio he would "spend the rest of [his] life badmouthing Don and Mike.
On August 1, 2005 Geronimo returned to the air without O'Meara, speaking frankly as Michael Sorce, about the events of the previous month. He began the segment by playing the Beach Boys 1964 hit "Don't Worry Baby", which he said was his and his wife's "special song". August 2 marked the return of the "normal" show.