Posted: 12:23 pm Wednesday, May 7th, 2014
By Rodney Ho
All News 106.7’s program director and news director Jennifer Perry is leaving after 16 months in her post.
Randall Bloomquist, who runs Cumulus Media’s news/talk division, said she’s leaving for a job outside of radio. (I’ve reached out to her via email and FB to see what she is up to next.)
Perry was known for many years as an afternoon anchor on WGST-AM from 2004 to 2012. She joined All News in January, 2013.
The station – originally all news – is going through a transformation. Last fall, Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson joined the noon to 3 p.m. shift to do a talk show. Then Cumulus announced the Braves would join the station, taking a major slice of airtime during the baseball season.
On Monday, May 12, All News is adding a second talk show – Michael Graham from 9 a.m. to noon. Bloomquist said there would be no immediate changes to news staffing beyond Perry’s departure.
Bloomquist declined to say anything to me about Graham beyond what was in the original press release. (“Michael Graham is a next-generation talk radio talent—smart, opinionated and very funny. His show will be an entertaining and inclusive conversation about the things that are truly important and interesting to his Atlanta area audience.”)
He was Graham’s boss at WMAL in the mid-2000s, where Graham got into a flap with the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations over comments about Muslims.
Graham has done stand-up comedy, GOP political consulting and talk radio in Charlotte, Richmond, D.C. and most recently, Boston. He has never been on air in Atlanta before.
In the press release, Graham said, “I’m not a radio host—I’m a radio FAN. I love being part of exciting, entertaining conversations and Cumulus is going to bring those conversations to fans like me. The fact that I get to be on the other side of the mic just lets me enjoy it even more.”
Graham added: “Growing up in rural South Carolina, I was taught ‘If you can’t say something nice… drink!’ Having never learned to hold my tongue or my liquor, radio in Atlanta is likely to get interesting very quickly.”
John Dickey, who runs programming for Cumulus, wouldn’t say if All News would keep the “All News” moniker now that it’s no longer actually all news. “A slogan is just a slogan,” he said. “It’s not a question of what you call yourself. It’s a question of people listening and enjoying the station.”
(After I posted this, I heard rumors that they are going to change the name to NewsRadio 106.7. That would make more sense. The url http://www.newsradio1067.com was picked up by Cumulus on May 6.)
He said the station had plans to add talk elements from day one, when it debuted in May, 2012. “Our game plan was to get in and establish ourselves as a very credible news and information source.”
He hopes 106.7 will be a counter-balance to News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB by offering locally-based talk. WSB airs syndicated talk during the day. He said he remains committed to all news during the drive-time hours, morning and afternoon, when people have more demand for news, traffic and weather.
Dickey added that Graham is “in town, excited and ready to go.” The station has been pulling in around a 1.5 rating in recent months, ranking them about 20th place.