Despite strong ratings, Scotty K loses morning spot on Power 96.1

Riley Couture (left), producer Bret Mega and Scotty Kay (right) at their first Stuff the Bus toy drive in December, 2014. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

Riley Couture (left), producer Bret Mega and Scotty K (right) at their first Stuff the Bus toy drive in December, 2014. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Sunday, February 28, 2016

Top 40 station Power 96.1, on the heels of its best month ever in ratings since its launch in 2012, has dumped its two-year-old morning show featuring Scotty K and Riley Couture, along with producer Bret Mega. Couture will stay on in some different configuration for now.

The station has already stripped the show off its website, an obvious sign the team is gone.

But why is a different story. I’ve been covering radio in this market for 15 years and there has been a fair share of head-scratching moves. This one qualifies as one – at least from my purview. The only semi-logical theory is Power will focus on music in the mornings in response to changes at other pop stations in town, including the pending arrival of Jeff Dauler and Jenn Hobby on Star 94 March 3.

Who will replace Scotty K?

“We haven’t made any announcements yet, but will let you know,” wrote Justin Schaflander, regional president for IHeartMedia Atlanta.

Schaflander confirmed that Riley is staying with the station in mornings for now but didn’t confirm whether she will be there long term. (She was on by herself Friday and didn’t reference Scotty K at all because IHeartMedia tends to do it that way. People disappear and there is no explanation offered.)

Power as a whole is on a roll. Its audience has been growing steadily the past two years and last month, it beat B98.5 and Q100 in overall audience, finishing fourth with a 5.7 share, its strongest performance to date. It almost beat Q100 25-54 and won 18-34 handily among the four pop stations with a 7.8 sahre.

And the morning show – which has been very aggressive on social media targeting millennials – has been a key to its success. The show finished fifth place last month overall, according to Nielsen Audio ratings data. Among 18 to 34 year olds, Scotty K and Riley finished second with an 8.5 share behind only the Bert Show on Q100 (9.7), beating Ryan Cameron and Wanda Smith on V-103 (8.2) and Rickey Smiley on Hot 107.9 (7.4).

I reached out to Mega. Scotty K (who also goes by Scotty Kay) did agree with me via Messenger that the whole situation “sounds crazy.”

Both have continued to post on Instagram and Twitter over the weekend but have made zero reference to their work status. Riley – who had a son not too long ago – has not said anything publicly that I can ascertain.

All three came to Atlanta from other markets in 2014. It often takes two years for morning shows – especially those with no known names – to gain a foothold in a market. They seemed to be doing so but clearly someone upstairs at IHeartMedia thought otherwise.

As I mentioned earlier, Star 94 is introducing its new Jeff and Jenn morning show Thursday. The Bert Show recently added Brian Moote to replace Dauler. And B98.5 just let go Jeff Elliott in favor of newcomer Tad Lemire to work with Melissa Carter.


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