Posted Monday, December 25, 2017 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
The Atlanta radio scene saw some big departures but only minor format changes.
Here are some of the biggest stories of 2017:
Divorce shocker: V-103 morning host Ryan Cameron got divorced from his long-time wife Kysha. He has largely kept the news private except for a brief statement and she chose not to go public herself, probably for the sake of the kids.
Tom Joyner, Michael Baisden off Kiss 104.1: Soon after syndicated host Tom Joyner announced he was going to retire in two years, Kiss 104.1 decided to drop him in favor of a local show led by Art Terrell. Kiss also dumped its afternoon syndicated host Michael Baisden as well. Soon after, Radio One – which owns Joyner’s show – dumped classic hip hop at 102.9 for old school R&B, an excuse to get Joyner back in Atlanta – albeit on a far more modest signal
Ed Lover, Monie Love leaving Boom 102.9: Speaking of 102.9, the classic hip-hop station decided Lover’s morning show wasn’t working after two years. His final original show with Monie Love was December 21. DJ Nabs also left Boom in October.
Format shifts, name changes: There were no major format shifts in 2017 but Kiss tweaked its sound slightly younger while Old School 87.7 dumped 1970s oldies and became Mix 87.7, with Porsha Foxx moved to mornings. And the oddly generic sounding name of Radio 105.7 became a bit more specific by becoming Alt 87.7 for alternative rock.
Christopher Rude off 93.7/680 The Fan: Veteran radio jock and sports-talk host Rude was cut earlier this year after about 15 years at the station.
Regular Guys come and go: Larry Wachs tried to resurrect his Regular Guys show on a sports talk station The Fan 2 in July but it only lasted four months.
Improved time slot for Eric Von Haessler: Wachs’ former co-host Von Haessler’s fortunes are going better. He started the year with a one-hour show on News 95.5 and AM 750 at 11 a.m. but then swapped places with Herman Cain and is now doing a two-hour show from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Mark Zinno changes stations: Zinno left 92.9/The Game after a few snafus there but he landed a new gig in Wachs’ slot on The Fan 2 earlier this month.
Q100’s Brian Moote divorces his “X Factor” star wife: Moote, who joined the Bert Show two years ago, married an “X Factor UK” singer Katie Waissel in October, 2015 but by the end of 2016, British tabloids began speculating a split. In March, Katie made their separation public and they divorced later in the year. She is now in New York.
Melissa Carter leaves B98.5: Carter decided to depart the morning show on B98.5 after three- plus years in February. She has since joined Progressive Voices Network as a daily podcast host of “She Persisted.”
Several radio personalities suffered medical issues:
- Clark Howard: The WSB consumer talk-show host suffered from in the spring was hospitalized for a life-threatening muscle-related syndrome that may have been caused by a combination of medicines he was taking for two different medical issues. He has since recuperated.
- Cadillac Jack: The Kicks 101.5 morning host had a heart attack in February despite working toward getting healthier. He did recover and came on back on air in March.
- Tripp West: Also in February, the B98.5 host had a tumor taken out of his brain. He has been spending much of the year trying to get back to something close to normalcy but has not been healthy enough to go on air. He has since been replaced on B98.5.
- Wanda Smith: The V-103 co host in July had serious surgery which involve removing an abscess from an ovary. She was back on air by August.
- Steak Shapiro: He was off 680/The Fan for a few weeks after vocal surgery.
Kicks 101.5 personality changes: In June, Kicks had mid-day host Ali Mac and morning host. Dallas McCade swap places, joining Caddy. (McCade also became the music director.) CJ Lusk also joined the morning show but he left after three months, clearly a case of a lack of chemistry. Scott Gaines took over afternoons.
J. Anthony Brown’s switch: The comic moved over to Steve Harvey’s morning show after 20-plus years with Joyner.
Cumulus files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection: Atlanta-based Cumulus Media, weighed down by debt, filed for bankruptcy protection but had a pre-arranged plan with creditors that will reduce their debt by at least $1 billion. The company has recovered under new management with reduced turnover and better morale the past two years after poor strategic and financial moves by the Dickeys, who created Cumulus.
New afternoon host at 106.7: Brian Joyce from Chattanooga joined the station in February but his ratings have not been great. (Cheryl White and Jackie Howard lost their jobs as a result.) Jim Gossett on the Kimmer’s Newsmaker line mercilessly mocks him. In the meantime, mid-morning host Shannon Burke is doing really well and was signed to a multi-year contract.
Kristin Klingshirn marries for the first time: The Bert Show host decided to marry her long-time boyfriend Bart Mattingly so they can build a family together. She signed a five-year deal with the Bert Show in December.
Other comings and goings and changes: Former Power 96.1 host Riley Couture landed in D.C. Joyce Littel reunited with V-103’s Quiet Storm. Fish 104.7’s morning team Kevin & Taylor went into syndication in January in 60 markets. “Southside” Steve Rickman of Rock 100.5 became a daddy. Mitch Faulkner left Kiss 104.1 in December. E.T. Cali joined 92.3/96.7 The Beat from the Durtty Boyz at Hot in April. Jesse Cage joined afternoons at Rock 1005. Drex Rener, formerly of Star 94.1, joined the B98.5 morning show with Tad Lemire and Kara Wilson.
Star 94.1 van set aflame: In a strange case of vandalism, a Star 94.1 promotional van was set aflame in the parking lot of the radio station. They were never able to figure out who did it.
99X redux: The once formidable alternative rock station reunited its successful 1990s Morning X show featuring Steve Barnes, Jimmy Baron and Leslie Fram for one morning only 25 years after the station had debuted in October.
Hall of Fame: Mark Arum, traffic reporter and talk show host on WSB, was the youngest inductee in the history of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. Braves announced Don Sutton also was inducted.
R.I.P.: WSB radio reporter Jon Lewis passed in December. Tony “The Tiger” Taylor (790/WQXI-AM) died in June. Rhubarb Jones, the likable former Y106.7/Eagle 106.7 country music host, spent nine years at Kennesaw State University but died suddenly at a Wal-Mart in February.