Sidney Wood, mid-day talk show at 1380/WAOK-AM host, is off the air as of Monday, April 28.
He had been in the mid-day position for a year, replacing Mo Ivory, who spent a few months with the Ryan Cameron morning show on V-103 and is now focusing on TV. He had spent about two and a half years there total.
Joyce Littel filled in today in Wood’s 10 a.m.-to-1 p.m. time slot.
Wood wouldn’t explain what happened but did confirm via text that he is out, writing cheekily, “Know anyone hiring?”
He added, “My show was doing well as a favorite of the station… I was an exemplary employee as most at CBS would testify.”
UPDATE April 29: I had lunch with Sidney today and will add more comments from him later when I have more time. But the bottom line is he didn’t agree with management’s decision to can him but he agreed with bosses Jean Ross and Rick Caffey not to say what it was that led to his departure. The most interesting thing I learned was how little he was compensated for his work. He wouldn’t say how much he was paid on the record but it’s fair to say he was not a salaried worker but an hourly worker who only received compensation for his 15 hours a week on the air, not the time prepping for said show. This tells you that WAOK is certainly NOT the much larger V-103, where at least four personalities are likely paid well in the six figures. If anything, WAOK gave him a chance to hone his ability to be a talk show host and he feels confident he can move forward and find another gig. He spent most of his years as a music jock, first doing R&B, then gospel.
I left a message with Rick Caffey, the WAOK boss, but he typically doesn’t comment about personnel issues anyway.
“I like his show,” said Helen Butler, who runs the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda. “Sometimes, he’s provocative and takes the opposite view of the majority of people.”
A fan who emailed me about the change, Shelease Dowdy, wrote in an email that he’s “very motivating and uplifting…holding people accountable for themselves and encouraging listeners to make changes in their lives to benefit them.” He would talk about health issues every Monday and financial issues every Wednesday, she noted.
According to his bio still on WAOK, which was taken down not long after I posted this blog entry, “Sidney is the president of New Covenant Communications, LLC, a firm which provides marketing and media services to ministries and those targeting the valuable faith-based marketplace.” He is also a member of The Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta and World Changers Church International. His bio also noted he is a cancer survivor going back 10 years.
Wood was known on V-103 in the 1990s under the name Kenny Diamond and was the music director for a time. He resigned after he admitted to payola.
Morning host Lorraine Jacques-White left WAOK in December after 15 years with no explanation. Her slot has not been filled permanently though there are rumors the syndicated Roland Martin show could potentially take over.
Speaking of Littel, she left V-103 in 2010 when the station decided to go jockless during the Quiet Storm late night show. But she recently began doing some weekend work for the station. I’m trying to get more information about her status at CBS Radio, which owns both V-103 and WAOK (as well as 92.9/The Game.)
Littel previously spent 19 years at V-103 and kept good relations with the station even after her departure. Over the years, she would promote her popular “Passion & Poetry” annual shows on V-103.
Terry Bello, who came to V-103 three years ago, was a programmer and fill-in jock. Bello, who recently beat a long battle with cancer, left amicably though he felt he wasn’t used to the best of his ability.
“I’m officially done” with V-103, he said. “Nothing personal. They have so much talent there, so many superstars, they have a hard time utilizing them all.”
He spent two decades in Atlanta including nine years at Star 94 and is now in New York City seeking a new gig.