Column: Play-by-rules Roselli sweetheart of radio

A few years ago, I tried to talk Dayna Roselli into jaywalking across Tropicana Avenue so we could get some pizza. She kept telling me she didn’t want to break any jaywalking laws.

Dayna also never answers my calls when she is driving, because that would be a traffic law no-no.

When I tease her about these things, she laughs at how straight-laced she is.

“I’ve only been pulled over once in my life. He actually tried not to give me a ticket. But,” Dayna says, “I’m such a rule follower, I was like, ‘Just give it to me, ha-ha.’”

This is the Dayna Roselli I know — a kind-hearted, happy-go-lucky broadcaster who got stupidly fired from KLAS-TV, Channel 8, in June 2012, even though I saw her cover more entertainment events on the Strip than other TV anchors.

“People would say, ‘When do you sleep?’” she says. “Because it seemed like I was everywhere, 24 hours a day.”

KLAS dumped Dayna, breaking the hearts of TV viewers across the city, after her morning co-anchor Dave McCann left town for a job in Utah.

Dayna was more than popular. She was beloved. That made her appeal very valuable, if you want to get business about it.

But she still doesn’t know why she was fired.

“They told me I did great work, and they loved me, but it was just a decision they were making. I didn’t do anything wrong,” she says then laughs, “I didn’t break any rules!”

What’s worse is KLAS made Dayna sign a one-year noncompete contract.

“With the noncompete, not only can you not work in TV, but you also can’t work in radio, closed circuit or Internet,” Dayna says.

“So that’s why I started a blog and really embraced Twitter even more than I did before. That was my only outlet to report news and share ideas with people.”

Dayna’s Twitter account exploded. She won the Las Vegas Weekly’s reader poll for best Twitter page.

She co-hosted official events, such as Style With A Cause and Vegas Beauty Unbound: Battle of the Strands hair stylist competition in the Joint. She lived off her savings.

But her noncompete is over, so she has started co-hosting news and views 6-9 a.m. weekdays with Joe Gillespie on KXNT-FM, 100.5. She loves radio.

“I like starting people’s day.”

Usually when TV people get fired, they leave town for a job.

“I have had opportunities out of the city — many.”

Dayna, now in Vegas for nine years, turned down out-of-state jobs (except for a fill-in shift at the national Reelz channel).

She didn’t want to leave Vegas. She loves it here like I love it here, like Oscar Goodman loves it here. She’s one of us.

She never badmouths Channel 8.

“You have to move on, and take the high road, and try not to be bitter about it, but look at it as another opportunity.”

Fans post photos on her Facebook page of their radios tuned to her station. They say things, like, “It’s great to hear you back on the air. I can hear your smile.”

“I’ve received some really long emails from people about what I’ve meant to them,” Dayna says.

“I actually get tears in my eyes sometimes, because I can’t believe I had an impact on someone. And then you realize, ‘Well, this is why I do it.’”

Doug Elfman’s column appears on Page 3A in the main section on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.