3/12: Dunwoody HS grad Jason Pullman joins Kristen Gates as morning hosts at 94.9/The Bull

Former Atlantan and Dunwoody grad Jason Pullman joined Kristen Gates at 94.9/The Bull, taking over for Cletus T. Judd, starting Friday morning at 5 a.m.

Pullman is an active “voice over” talent, meaning you’ll hear him doing promos for shows such as CBS’s “New Adventures of Old Christine” and “Two and a Half Men.” Listen to samples of his work on his site www.jasonpullman.com.

His last radio gig was on Star 98.7 in Los Angeles from 2003-05. He took over for fellow Dunwoody grad Ryan Seacrest (now on 102.7/KIIS FM). In a strange coincidence, Pullman went to high school with Seacrest. He graduated in 1991, two years before the “Idol” host. That makes Pullman about 35 years old.

The Bull has dubbed the show “Caffeinated Radio.” At 5:12 a.m., the pair introduced themselves in a modest fashion. “Neither of us has slept,” Pullman said.

“We’re punchy,” Gates said. “We have Pop Tarts and Diet Pepsi.” (Kristen– Diet Pepsi? In a Coke town? Really?)

“I have done this before but I’m nervous,” Pullman said. He said he got into Atlanta two weeks ago and was going to start the previous Monday but said there were some unspecified “snags” that delayed his arrival on air.

Kristen joked it off by saying she was still recovering from the NASCAR race. Pullman then segued into a promotion that brings listeners to a Keith Urban mini-concert in Chicago. Two minutes of gab and they went into a Keith Urban song.

Scott Lindy, the new program director for 94.9/The Bull (who joined after Judd was cut last fall), said he loves Pullman because Pullman is “a study of the human condition.”

“He’s a guy who will ride MARTA and talk to strangers,” Lindy said. “He wants to talk to everybody. He’s not narrowcast.” [Indeed, in the first hour, he played a call to a Waffle House where he “solicited” listeners and got someone who did not listen to country and mistook his reference to Keith Urban as Steve Irwin, the late Australian “crocodile hunter.” He then did a quick Irwin imitation.]

Lindy said Pullman was prepping for Friday’s show and unavailable for comment. I’ll catch up to him later.

Linday is also psyched to keep Kristen Gates, who built a strong following at Kicks 101.5 before she was let go a year ago during the “Leap Day Massacre.”

She’s a mom and provides that perspetive, he said. In comparison,
“Jason’s a single guy, a good looking guy. When I had the two of them in a room, I knew we had something. He has a younger perspective, a little edgier. He has energy you don’t always come across in country radio. We’re placing the needle a little younger than Kicks. We have a hipper attitude. We want to reflect that.”

To a caller who said he was a “baby doll” based on his photo on the Web site, Kristen semi-joked, “He’s cute and he smells good, too.”

Although Pullman has been out of country radio for at least six years (he did country radio in St. Louis), Lindy said he’s a big fan. He especially loves North Georgia’s own Zac Brown band. During his second stop set at about 5:20 a.m., he took a caller and told a story about how he had a friend who said he would provide Pullman free tix to a recent Zac Brown concert but the guy failed. So he ended up cooling his heels at will call for 30 minutes until someone sold him a spare ticket.

“Jason’s the quickest wit you’ll find in radio or in person,” Lindy effused. “He gets the country listener. And he’s from here.”

He showed flashes of the wit early on. When Kristen joked with a listener that he had been prison while away from Atlanta, he said, “I only dropped the soap once.” And during a bit of lame celebrity news in which Keith Urban supposedly was at a party and used a Magic Eight Ball that predicted his latest single would NOT go No. 1 (when in fact “Sweet Thing” would go No. 1), Pullman cracked, “They were drunk.”

Jason is also former classmates with actor Kip Pardue, who also went to Dunwoody High School.

How much breathing room Linday will give Pullman remains to be seen. But Lindy says he doesn’t script his jocks. He wants to give them a shot to be personalities. But since the station is pushing “more music,” don’t expect huge gobs of talk, especially in the beginning. In fact, that’s what Pullman said on the air at 5:23 a.m.: “We’re still playing a lot of music but we’ll have a little bit of entertainment between the songs.”

Their first celebrity news break at 5:35 a.m. took about three minutes, featuring news about Anna Nicole Smith charges and Sesame Street laying off 20% of staff.

“At last they were not involved in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme,” Pullman said.

“They say Bert and Ernie are safe,” Kristen joked.

Speaking of the bad economy, I listened to the first hour at 5 a.m. and there was a complete lack of advertising for the first 45 minutes. Then again, it was 5 a.m. The Bull did do two short three-minute commercial breaks at 5:45 a.m. and 5:59 a.m., followed by a longer six-minute break at about 6:14 a.m. Advertisers include Joanne Fabrics, the AJC Auto show , Amberen (something to stop hot flashes) and Just Brakes.

He is far different from his predecessor Cletus T. Judd, who failed to bring in ratings despite a heavy advertising campaign a year ago and was ousted in the fall. No Southern accent and no redneck aspirations. And Pullman’s first couple of hours show far more promise than that of the short-lived Zakk Tyler on Dave FM last year. Pullman seems amiable, with a fine radio voice. He also knows how to keep things moving and has rapport with Gates. We’ll see if he can draw people away from the established Cadillac Jack and Dallas McCade over at Kicks.


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