Sunday, October 20, 2013

Legends Pack Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Awards

As many of  you know, I have not been writing the column for the past several months.  After more than 5 years, I simply needed a break.  At the request of John Long, President/Founder of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame, I am happy to bring back the column for this week only to cover the Seventh Annual Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Induction Awards.

I get a magical feeling every year when I enter the foyer area outside the ballroom where the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame is about to start its annual dinner and induction ceremony.  I become a kid in a candy store as I see Georgia radio greats standing around.  As a radio historian as well as junkie, I have read about and listened to many of these people.

Getting to shake hands and say hi to such folks as Kent Burkhart, Jim Wesley and Rhubarb Jones was worth the price of admission.   Some of the other legends in attendance on Saturday night included Steve Holman, Steve McCoy, Bob Todd, Neal Boortz, Herb Emory and Randy & Spiff, all of whom are already in the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.  They were accompanied by future Hall of Famers, such as Mara Davis, Jordan Graye, Mark Arum and Willard Arbour.

When I arrived at my assigned table, I was greeted by a very nice man who introduced himself as Tom and his brother as Paul.  I immediately realized I was at the table of the Tiger Twins and their families.  In fact, the aircheck of the Tiger Twins on was the first recording of Atlanta's WQXI that I had ever heard.

A brief reunion segment on WFOM was presented by Herb Emory and Greg McClure.  In the 1960s, WFOM was the little station that could, competing effectively for the Top-40 audience with a low-power signal in Cobb County. 

As always, the production values of the videos were superb, and the 2013 Legacy Inductees were each shown and their careers chronicled.  Deanna Brown Thomas, daughter of singer James Brown, introduced the representative of each inductee.

The inductees included Palmira Braswell, a teacher who became Macon's first female black disc jockey as Honeybee on WBML; George Crumbley, a much honored Emory grad who eventually became sales manager of WSB; Jimmy Dunaway, a Carrollton native who after working in several markets, realized his goal of working at WSB; Al Evans, Jr., who was born to a radio family and eventually purchased WVLD in Valdosta with his dad; and John Holliman, a Georgian and UGA graduate who excelled in radio news, and eventually became a reporter and anchorman at CNN.

The other Legacy inductees were Don Kordecki, who signed on WKRW-AM in Cartersville and was named Georgia Broadcaster Citizen of the Year in 1967; Royal Marshall, who became an Atlanta radio fixture as Neal Boortz's producer and hosted his own talk shows on WSB and WCNN; Leonard Postero, who created "Leonard's Losers," a football prognostication publication and radio show heard on a number of stations plus Armed Forces Radio; and Annie Lee Small, who started in radio at age 12 and eventually became WSB's first female announcer and later, with her husband, owned WYTH in Madison, Georgia.

Next came the 2013 Founders & Directors Honoree, who was James "Alley Pat" Patrick.  Alley Pat was an early black personality at WERD, WAOK, WYZE and WXAG/Athens.  When he was heard on a video, the GRHOF audience howled at his wit and admired his brilliance at selling his sponsors' products.  Now 94, Alley Pat walked on stage and showed his sense of humor was still intact.

The 2013 Elmo Ellis Spirit Award recipient was James W. Woodruff, Jr, an accomplished radio veteran whose last position was CEO of WRBL radio and TV in the Columbus market.

Randy & Spiff were very funny as the masters of ceremony for the 2013 Career Achievement Inductees.  They honored a parade of greats, starting with Tom & Paul Collins, the Tiger Twins, part of the fabled Quixie, WQXI.  They did an overnight show that attracted attention, and both went on to big careers in radio.

Steve Goss, the next inductee, was one of the mold breakers.  On-air talent in major markets typically stay for 5 years or less.  Goss came to WGST as an intern in 1978 and then spent 27 years as the midday host on sister station Peach 94.9.  His familiar voice still graces Atlanta radio as local host of NPR's Morning Edition on WABE-FM.

Kelly McCoy also defied the longevity odds, being on the air in Atlanta for 34 years.  After working at WQXI, McCoy handled afternoon drive on B98.5 for 27 years.  He has been one of my favorite voices in Atlanta radio and is known for being a super-nice person.

Charlie Hill was doing announcements on a Warner Robins movie theater's PA system when the owner of WRPB heard him.  That led Hill to a long career in radio that culminated with being part-owner of WVMG in Cochran.

Kaedy Kiley is one of Atlanta radio's greats.  She became a household name doing afternoons on 96 Rock and then Z93.  Kiley has interviewed some of rock's biggest stars and is known for her music expertise.  After several years off the air, she took over morning drive on 97-1 The River, where she remains today.

Nelle Reagan is part of the landscape in Rome, GA, where she has been on the air for more than 50 years.  She currently hosts "Talk of the Town," late mornings on WRGA-AM.

Bill Rice was a musician at an early age.  The radio door opened for Rice when WNEG in Taccoa needed someone to host a soul music show.  Rice not only hosted the program but used his own money to buy records for the show at Turtles and Peaches.

Mike Roberts was V-103's anchor, holding down morning drive for 13 years and doubling as program director for 3 of those years.  He now owns WQMJ-FM (Magic 100) in Macon.

Mark Summers made his mark at the storied WBBQ in Augusta, first as the voice of several characters on the Buddy Carr morning show and then as the station's morning man.  He also worked at Savannah stations Y-105 and Lite 98.

Every year so far, the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame dinner and ceremony have been near perfection.  I'm already looking forward to 2014.

I would love to hear from you.  Feel free to email me at

Monday, June 24, 2013

Changes Hit Star 94 & B98.5

It seems like just yesterday when we considered Star 94 and Q100 to be direct competitors.  B98.5 was out there somewhere doing its own thing.  Then B98.5 added current material, and things began to evolve.

These days, Arbitron's PPM shows Q100 as the youngest of the 3 stations, with its women 25-49 pretty evenly dividend between 25-34 and 35-49.  Both B98.5 and Star 94 are top heavy on the 35-49 side.

B98.5 has held the upper hand over Star 94 in the battle for women during recent months.  And it has not helped Star 94 that Power 96-1 makes a decent showing in the 25-49 demo.

To my surprise, B98.5 had planned to retain the Vikki & Kelly morning show.  The station extended Kelly Stevens another year about 4 months ago, with Vikki Locke's deal set to be renewed by July 1.  However, a few weeks ago, Vikki gave notice of her resignation and will move back to Ohio to be with her ailing dad.  Station brass decided against pairing Kelly with someone new so he will be leaving morning drive on B98.5...for the second time.

While B98.5 searches for a replacement show, I do not expect the bottom to fall out.  The Cox Media Group outlet has been playing 10 songs an hour in morning drive, and the PPM will likely continue to smile upon the station.  B98.5 has been through a slew of morning shows in my time here, but ironically, I feel the duo most effective in injecting personality while staying within format confines were Kelly (Stevens) and Alpha (Trivette).

B98.5 finally filled its 7-10PM slot with Cami LeBlanc.  I think Program Director Chris Eagan discovered Cami addressing her graduating class at a middle school.  (That was a joke.)  She had been a traffic reporter for 104.7 The Fish.

The usually steadfast Star 94 has had its share of tremors in the past 2 months.  First, evening jock Orff was mysteriously canned and replaced with Sari Rose.  Then Chase Daniels, a key piece of the station's foundation, resigned and is headed to mornings in Indianapolis, where he will reunite with his former boss at Star 94 and WAPE in Jacksonville, JR Ammons.

A major accomplishment for PD Eagan is he has smoothed out B98.5's music.  When former PD Cagle shifted to "80s, 90s and now," some of the "now" songs went too far to the rhythmic side.  B98.5's current-song playlist is similar to Star 94's, and the station augments with music test winners from the 80s, 90s and 00s.

The music adjustments combined with some formatic alterations has B98.5 sounding its best in years.  Some of the formatic elements, including the top-of-the-hour ID, the sweepers and the stop-set timing, make me wonder whether Star 94 PD Scott Lindy feels like he's programming two stations.

B98.5, Q100 and Star 94 all vie for the market's women in the money demos, with B98.5 presently winning, Q100 not far behind, and Star 94 in a little slump.  As I think about the respective playlists of the three stations, I have to conclude that Star 94's is the most conservative and borders on boring.

I like the aura of "the mom's station" that Star 94 has created.  Along with its positioning of "today's hits without the rap," however, I wonder if Star has gone too far to avoid any hint of Rhythmic.  The today portion of B98.5's playlist seems adventurous compared to Star's.

Going back a couple of years, I remember trying to figure out why Star 94 was not playing David Guetta's Without You.  Yes, it's a Rhythmic leaning song but nowhere near offensive to a mainstream female audience.  And there are other upbeat songs that I feel would be acceptable to Star's listeners, such as Don't You Worry Child by Swedish House Mafia.

There is Usher--and I realize the name alone conjures up thoughts of Rhythmic and Hip-Hop.  But I see nothing in DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love that would sour Star listeners.  I remember the station, which then leaned more toward CHR, played Usher's first hit, Yeah, back in the mid-2000s.  Another boat that I think Star 94 is missing is Hall of Fame by The Script.  Okay, I know the song contains rap, which Star says it doesn't play, but it's not rap rap, if you know what I mean.  And Star already plays the Irish group's Breakeven in its recurrents.

B98.5 has a huge advantage in that it's widely perceived as the station to play in offices, stores and restaurants, producing a significant PPM windfall.  Star 94's playlist is similar to other Hot ACs, but I feel its music needs to pop a little more to compete with B98.5.  I do recognize that Star 94 Program Director Scott Lindy and Music Director Michael Chase see music research to which I am not privy.

Thanks for reading.  I would love to hear from you at  Follow us on Twitter at, and we'll follow you back.

Link to Rodney Ho's AJC Radio & TV blog:

Monday, June 17, 2013

It's All About The Music For Power 96-1

Power 96-1 (WWPW-FM) burst onto the scene last August with an abundance of promise.  Atlanta had been without a real CHR station since Q100 slipped into the hands of Cumulus several years ago.

Q100 was a pretender according to CHR purists; it was trying to have its cake and eat it too by leaving out Rhythmic product and adding material designed to snag people at the demo's upper end.  A huge hole seemed to be there for playing all the hits and only all the hits.

Power 96-1 seemed hamstrung from the start.  It carried the syndicated Elvis Duran morning show, which does well for Clear Channel in a lot of markets.  But Q100 has the Bert Show, one of the best in the country and one that's spent years cultivating a loyal audience.  Power also had On-Air with Ryan Seacrest, carried by many leading CHR's around the U.S.  It appeared Clear Channel thought Power would come in and roll over Q100, but the two syndicated shows back-to-back were not a good omen.

Power surged into the ratings elite really fast; CHR listeners are known for moving to the newest flavor.  In Total Persons 6+, it hit the top 10 and broke a 4 share.  Since then, the station, which has been criticized as too Rhythmic, leaving out important hits and playing its powers a gazillion times, has settled down in the 3's, out of the top 10 stations.  Meanwhile, Q100, the station it was going to bury, has its highest ratings in quite a while.

The Power 96-1 brain trust recently decided the station needed a point of difference, and that would be the music.  WWPW started repeatedly playing "another song you won't hear on regular Atlanta radio," whatever that means.  It also touted songs that Power played first, at least according to the station.

A few Saturdays ago, I punched the Power 96-1 button in my car and quickly heard an intro for a song "you won't hear on Q100."  Power quickly aired several more of these sweepers mentioning the Cumulus CHR giant.  I listened the following day and occasionally caught Q100 references, but they were few and far between.  But Power was incessantly playing the "you won't hear on regular Atlanta radio" and "heard it first" intros.

I started to think about what I was hearing.  Power 96-1 said Q100 was not playing Selena Gomez, but Q100 was playing Selena Gomez.  Same with Demi Levato.

Then I heard an even stranger claim.  It went something like, "Power 96-1 plays this new music:" Jennifer Lopez/Pittbull Live it Up hook; "and:" Ed Sheeran Lego House hook.  Interestingly, however, neither song was or had been in rotation on the station.  In fact, given Power's Rhythmic lean, I am not surprised the station stayed away from Ed Sheeran.  But why did Power claim to be playing it, especially since the song conveys a music image different from Power 96-1's?

And then, lucky me.  I was treated to an "A-Town Exclusive," except I am not sure which A-Town was being referred to.  Albany?  Augusta?  The song was Mariah Carey's #Beautiful, which was also being played on Q100 but with less spins.  On Monday of last week, the AJC's Rodney Ho tweeted, "No idea why Power 96-1 is calling Blurred Lines an ATL Exclusive because I just heard it a few minutes earlier on Q100!"

Power 96-1 does take chances on new Rhythmic-leaning music but does not play acts such as Fall Out Boy and Ariana Grande.  And it does not help Power that CHR has swung back toward straight-ahead pop material in recent months.

It's not that Q100 is the ideal CHR.  It's taken the station an eternity to add some major hits, including Don't You Worry Child, The A Team, Thrift Shop and others.  Such markets as Charlotte, Orlando, Nashville and Jacksonville have CHR's that are far superior musically to those in Atlanta.  Whether Q100's music will change with playlist decisions moving away from Jan Jeffries is hard to say.  If it did not, I would not blame Q100 one bit given its ratings.  And I am not sure song selection for the company will affect a station's music clock.

So we sit at an interesting juncture, with two CHR's having virtually identical signals from the same transmitter site.  My guess is Clear Channel expected more in the way of ratings at this point.  Its former Rhythmic CHR Wild 105.7 was getting good numbers with a poor signal and a Rhythmic orientation.  Yet Power 96-1's current music direction is not winning, especially when combined with the burden of hours of syndication.  And is making fictitious claims to set the station apart musically helping or hurting?

With Jan Jeffries, the man who takes the blame for the conservative playlists at Cumulus CHR's, out of the music selection picture, will Q100 cut off Power by moving more to the CHR center?  As always, the war for Atlanta's young women continues to be interesting.

Thanks for reading.  I would love to hear from you at  Follow us on Twitter at, and we'll follow you back.

Link to Rodney Ho's AJC Radio & TV blog:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Quixie & Atlanta's Rich Top-40 Legacy

I caught this radio obsession disease at a young age, while I was in junior high school.  In those days, Billboard, the famous music industry magazine, covered radio in a big way.  When I found that out, I would do almost anything to get my hands on a copy of Billboard.  I started learning about markets across the U.S. with an emphasis on my favorite format, Top 40.

One of the markets covered was of course Atlanta, and one week Billboard showed the lineup at WQXI-AM, Quixie in Dixie.  Paul Drew was listed as the evening personality.  When I saw a picture of Drew, he did not look like I would have expected; in other words, some attractive young guy with wild hair.  Drew wore a coat and tie, and also a dress hat.  I also learned about Kent Burkhart, then the General Manager, and followed his career to head of Pacific & Southern, and then to one of the most successful consultants in radio history.

I never actually heard Quixie until the Cruisin' Series was released in the 1970s.  Each Cruisin' vinyl was a recreation of a show on a major Top-40 station.  One of the Cruisin' discs featured Dr. Don Rose on WQXI.  By that time, I was well familiar with Rose because he was the morning star on WFIL in Philadelphia.

Around 1967, I remember reading in Billboard that Paul Drew was leaving Quixie to install Bill Drake's Top-40 format, which was taking the country by storm, at Detroit's CKLW.  But I was not aware at the time that Drake and Drew had become friends and fellow radio strategists when they both worked at WAKE-AM in Atlanta.

I also followed Drew's career, which soared to tremendous heights.  I recognized that he had one of radio's best programming minds.  His recent passing made me think about WQXI and the impact that it had on this market.

In recent years, I have heard numerous Quixie airchecks on  Atlanta did not have a lot of stations, but Quixie still sounded great.  And while a large number of stations would seem to have prodded each competitor to bring its A game, I suppose the low number of choices and the mass appeal of Top 40 in those days motivated WQXI to go after the market's real giant, WSB, sometimes successfully.

When I first saw WQXI's little transmitter site on Cheshire Bridge Road, a bit of cognitive dissonance set in.  Yet what was really hard to grasp was how that little signal, especially at night when it was a highly-directional 1,000 watts, was able to dominate this market's youth as it did.  I suppose it was a combination of the market being much less spread out combined with it being the era before the FCC allowed so many additional stations, resulting in interference much closer than previously.

I arrived in Atlanta in 1994, more than a decade after FM took over.  Yet Quixie's size and influence had been so great, that being in advertising and writing about radio has resulted in my crossing paths with many people who were part of that legendary station.  I have become either friends or acquaintances, or have done business with them.  And I have met others at the annual Georgia Radio Hall of Fame banquet.

Top-40 these days, also called Contemporary Hit Radio, is not the same format it was in the WQXI era.  In those years, it was mass appeal, playing the Beatles and Frank Sinatra in the same hour. Top-40 stations sometimes had 50% or more of the market's share of listening.  Top-40 still plays the hits, but the proliferation of FM music stations and fragmentation of music has forced formats to serve niches.  As a result, Top-40, which has always served the young, now skews very young and female.

In this day of the PPM, with which ratings are driven by cume, historically a strength for Top-40, the format has seen a resurgence.  The roots of today's CHR are embedded in the great AM Top-40 stations of the 60's and 70's, and Atlanta had one of the best.

Thanks for reading.  I would love to hear from you at  Follow us on Twitter at, and we'll follow you back.

Rodney Ho's AJC Radio & TV blog:
Atlanta Radio Insider:

Monday, June 3, 2013

Atlanta's Radio Icons - 1994 To Now - Part 4

Welcome to part 4 of our series on Atlanta's Radio Icons from 1994 until now.  In part 3, we completed naming 31 of Atlanta's best, all from the FM band.  This week, we wrap things up with our honorees from the AM side.

Scott Slade - Scott cut his radio teeth on the Top-40 format, programming and jocking at WAYS in Charlotte and WAPE in Jacksonville.  His first job at WSB was doing traffic, and for more than 20 years, he has been anchoring Atlanta's Morning News.  Over that time, Scott has developed into one of the best in the business, with a terrific voice and relaxed delivery.  He always sounds totally in command.  Of course, you could hear him just about anywhere from Channel 30 to your neighborhood Kroger store.

Neal Boortz - Recently retired after a long career in Talk radio, Neal understood what buttons to push to get emotion out of his listeners and callers.  A self-professed Libertarian, his audience was sometimes surprised by his points-of-view.  He really put himself into his show every morning and built a syndicated network.  Neal's radio career began in the 70s at the former Ring Radio.  He then moved to WGST before WSB lured him away in 1992.

Mike Kavanagh - Mike's authoritative news voice boomed out over WSB's airwaves during two stints over many years.  For a short time in the late 90s, he moved to WCNN-AM, which was then a Talk station in a Cox LMA with Dickey Broadcasting.  Mike was also a practicing financial adviser, expertise he brought to WSB on Atlanta's Morning News and a Sunday morning call-in show.  Mike passed away in 2008.

Clark Howard - Clark is not a natural radio talent, but he has excelled on the radio.  He has the trust of the public and is revered for his advice on consumer matters.  He also has authored books and owns his show, which is syndicated to markets across the U.S.  He recently added being a regular on an HLN evening show every weekday to his repertoire..

Captain Herb Emory - Captain Herb has the perfect sound to lead News/Talk WSB's traffic team.  He's authoritative and good humored, and he makes it sound so easy.  And he's been at it for a long time.  Years ago, he worked for Quixie.

Kirk Melhuish - Kirk is a vital component in News/Talk WSB.  He knows weather, and Atlanta knows he's the consummate expert.  His familiar voice is not typical of a newscaster so he complements the rest of the airstaff nicely.  Somehow, I had imagined Kirk as a very serious person without a sense of humor.  But that notion was quickly dispelled when Kirk delivered his acceptance speech at the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame in 2010.

Tom Hughes - Tom is now retired but anchored Atlanta's First News in the days when WGST was giving WSB a run for the money.  He mixed his effective anchoring skills with some very creative humor.

Kim Peterson - The Kimmer was Tom Hughes' counterpart on WGST in afternoon drive.  He delivered information but also entertained.  He had his audience in stitches on many a day.

Christopher Rude - Chris is on the list of FM icons, based on his lengthy run at 96 Rock.  Of course, he now anchors mornings on 680 The Fan.

Beau Bock - Beau has long been associated with sports broadcasting in Atlanta.  Turner Broadcasting and the old Top-40 Z93 were his early stomping grounds.  At the start of 790 The Zone in 1997, Beau was the man tasked by original owner Andrew Saltzman to write the station's business plan.  And Beau anchored the morning show with Steak Shapiro for years.  After retiring, Beau returned to the Zone about a year ago to host a Sunday morning show and do commentaries as "The Dean."  He knows sports as well as anyone and is still top notch at conveying his points of view.

Steak Shapiro - Everyone has his or her own taste, and Steak's style is not my preference.  However, there is no way that I could deny Steak is an icon in this market.  He was one of the original owners, along with Andrew Saltzman, of 790 The Zone parent Big League Broadcasting.  And he has anchored mornings on the station from day one.  Now he has branched out into TV, hosting a restaurant show on CBS 46.

Dimino & Cellini - Chris Dimino & Nick Cellini now work alongside Steak Shapiro on 790 The Zone's Mayhem in the AM.  Chris and Nick have also been paired in other dayparts.  They have tremendous longevity in the market.  Chris has also worked at 680 The Fan and even done weekend shows on WSB radio.  Nick went in my mind from being Vince's brother to being one of the sharpest wits in Sports Radio.  The duo does some of the best Sports Talk in the business as well as analysis for WGCL-TV.

That ends our list of Atlanta's Radio icons from 1994 to today.

Recapping all of our honorees, they are as follows: Mara Davis, Art Mehring, Steve & Vikki, Craig Hunt, Rob Stadler, Sandy Weaver, Dale O'Brien, Kelly McCoy, Jordan Graye, Christopher Rude, Willard, Kaedy Kiely, The Regular Guys, Emperor Searcy, The Morning X, Steve Craig, Randy & Spiff, JJ Jackson, Bert Weiss, Moby, Cadillac Jack, Mike Roberts, Frank Ski, Leslie Fram, Ryan Cameron, Larry Tinsley, Kevin & Taylor, Art Terrell, Rhubarb Jones, Si-Man, Crash Clark, Scott Slade, Neal Boortz, Mike Kavanagh, Clark Howard, Captain Herb Emory, Tom Hughes, Kim Peterson, Beau Bock, Steak Shapiro, Chris Dimino and Nick Cellini.

Many of the above greats have already been inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame, including Steve McCoy & Vikki Locke, JJ Jackson, Moby, Randy Cook & Spiff Carner, Scott Slade, Neal Boortz, Clark Howard, Mike Kavanagh, Kirk Melhuish, Rhubarb Jones, Captain Herb Emory and Tom Hughes.  Three others have been nominated for a Career Achievement Award at this fall's ceremony.  They are Kelly McCoy, Kaedy Kiely and Mike Roberts.

Thanks for reading.  I would love to hear from you at  Follow us on Twitter at, and we'll follow you back.

Rodney Ho's AJC Radio & TV blog:
Atlanta Radio Insider:

Monday, May 27, 2013

Atlanta's Radio Icons - 1994 To Now - Part 3

In the past 2 weeks, we have recognized 20 Atlanta radio greats as icons.  In part 3, we name the last 11 from the FM band:

Moby - Moby (aka James Carney) was once a top-rated morning man on Rock stations in Dallas and Houston.  He was hired in 1991 by Kicks 101.5 and changed his act to Country.  He adjusted to the format quickly and led Kicks to its highest morning ratings ever.  Ten years later when, according to rumor, Moby's down-home schtick (i.e. "Mornin, peaches") was embarrassing the GM around his neighbors, Moby's contract was not renewed.  Then after a brief stint at Classic Rock Z93, Moby made lemonade out of a lemon by creating a syndicated morning show for small markets.

Cadillac Jack - Cadillac Jack came to the market directly from Myrtle Beach in 1994.  His first handled evenings on Kicks 101.5 and then moved to afternoon drive on sister station Y106.7.  Then it was back to Kicks in afternoons and finally to mornings, which he now co-hosts with Dallas McCade.  He has a unique sound that fits Country radio to a tee, and comes across as a family man and nice person.

Mike Roberts - Mike held down mornings on V-103 for 13 years, working alongside Carol Blackmon.  He has loads of radio talent, including voice, inflection and timing.  He was widely known and respected across the community.  Mike can still be heard as the voice of Macon's Majic 100, which he owns.

Frank Ski - Frank replaced Mike Roberts in mornings on V-103 around 1998.  While he may not have the natural radio talent of Mike, he was a good fit, especially with the changing direction of Urban music.  Frank dedicated himself to the show and his audience, and became a fixture in the community.  Last fall, he made the decision to leave V-103 in the hope of getting a national platform.

Ryan Cameron - Ryan was a comedy club performer when he started on V-103 in evenings in the early 90s.  As he polished his radio act, he moved to Radio One's WKYS-FM in Washington DC, returning to Atlanta in 1996 for mornings at Hot 97-5 and then 107-9, where he remained for almost 10 years.  Then it was back to V-103 for a morning show in afternoons, so to speak, and then on to morning drive this year.  Ryan just oozes with talent, and V-103's morning show has not missed a beat.

Larry Tinsley  - Larry has owned the most important daypart for Gospel, Sunday mornings, for decades.  He has been on V-103 for about 20 years and was on the radio in Atlanta long before that.  Among persons 25-54 on Sundays from 6AM to noon, he is #1 with twice the audience of the two stations tied for #2, Kiss 104 and 104.7 The Fish.  Larry has 2 and two-thirds times the audience on Sunday mornings as Praise 102.5, the only Atlanta station with a full-time Gospel format.

Kevin & Taylor - Kevin Avery and Taylor Scott have been the only morning show that 104.7 The Fish has had in its 12-year history.  The show, while holding true to the station's Christian tenor, is of major market caliber and mass appeal, and competes with the market's leaders in ratings.

Art Terrell - Art became known to Atlanta listeners in the early days of Hot 97-5 during the mid-90s.  He has held down afternoon drive on Kiss 104 for several years, with a great voice and charismatic personality.

Rhubarb Jones - Rhubarb came from Montgomery many years ago and became Atlanta's first big Country morning star on Y106.7, where he remained until 2008.  He is well-known and respected for his radio work as well as his charitable activities.  Still a dedicated radio advocate, Rhubarb teaches communications at Kennesaw State University.

Crash Clark - Chris Crash Clark has been a mainstay of Atlanta radio for many years.  He has reported traffic on many stations and altered his delivery--and sometimes his name--on each.  But he always sounds like he doesn't take life too seriously.  Several years ago, he was a 99X employee and got into a little misadventure at a station promotion in a bar.  PD Leslie Fram was not humored and fired Crash.  After a period of exile in Boston with former 99X personality Toucher, Crash came back to Atlanta and joined CBS Radio, where he now does traffic as Crash D on V-103.

Si-Man - Silas Si-Man Alexander has been one of Atlanta radio's most resilient members.  He was in middays on V-103 in the late 90s when David Dickey, then running Kiss, brought him over for afternoon drive.  Si-Man fit in well and was sounding great when he had the opportunity to do a morning show on what was then Majic 102.5.  The lure of doing mornings attracted Si, but the station's small signal (equivalent to 6,000 watts) was not competitive with V-103 and Kiss.  When 102.5's partial transition to Talk occurred, Si shifted to evenings, and then moved over to the 107.5/97.5 signals 4 years ago.  He is still sounding terrific, and his famous "Si-Man BAby" cry remains in full effect.

That wraps up part 3 of our 4-part series.  Next week, we will reveal the last 11 Atlanta radio icons, all from the AM side.

Thanks for reading.  I would love to hear from you at  Follow us on Twitter at, and we'll follow you back.

Rodney Ho's AJC Radio & TV blog:
Atlanta Radio Insider:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Atlanta's Radio Icons - 1994 To Now - Part 2

Atlanta radio has had so many greats in the almost 20 years that I've lived here.  Last week's edition revealed 10 of these icons.  We now continue our list: 

Christopher Rude - Chris is a talented radio pro with a great voice and personality.  After many spectacular years in AM and then PM drive on 96 Rock, he changed formats to Sports Talk and adapted exceptionally well.  He's been anchoring mornings at 680 The Fan for 10 years.

Willard - Willard joined 96 Rock in its infancy in 1974 and did middays through 1999.  Then he was picked up by Z93, first as morning show producer and then as talent.  When Z93 ended and Dave-FM started, Willard moved seamlessly into sales.  He now lives the good life in the North Georgia mountains.

Kaedy Kiely - Kaedy was a superstar at 96 Rock in afternoons during the station's heyday.  She opted to leave for Z93 after Chris Rude and Willard were released at the end of 1998.  For the past few years, she has masterfully handled mornings at 97-1 The River and adapted beautifully to the station's limited talk time.

The Regular Guys - Larry Wachs and Eric Von Haessler, along with sidekick Southside Steve Rickman, have been in the Atlanta market since 1998.  They worked for Clear Channel twice, at 96 Rock and for a brief time at WGST.  Both tenures ended in misadventures, but Cumulus hired them when Rock 100.5 launched in 2008.  Some say the show is not as funny or edgy as it once was, but its longevity speaks for itself.

Emperor Searcy - For Dewayne Searcy, his radio career is second in importance to being a record producer.  But he has been a constant in afternoon drive on Hot 107-9 for 18 years except for a brief foray on the morning show.  He has a consistent and commanding air presence that serves him well.

The Morning X - Amazingly, the morning show that consisted of Steve Barnes, Jimmy Baron and Leslie Fram has been gone for almost 10 years.  Yet it's still remembered as the anchor of one of Alternative radio's most innovative and successful stations, 99X.  Barnes, who incidentally was the first person ever to unfriend me on Facebook, and Jimmy both later did mornings on 92-9 Dave FM, and are now pursuing other careers.  Leslie was hired by her former boss at 99X, Brian Philips, who today is President of CMT.  Leslie serves as CMT's SVP of Music Strategy.

Steve Craig - Steve was first on the air in Atlanta at the old Power 99 and then stayed when the station became 99X.  The "House of Retro Pleasure" during his midday shift became a huge fan favorite.  After a stint at New York's WRXP-FM working for Leslie Fram, Steve, who is a veritable music encyclopedia, replaced his former 99X cohort Jimmy Baron in mornings on Dave-FM.  After Dave-FM died, Steve joined 97-1 The River for weekends and fill.

Randy & Spiff - Randy Cook and Spiff Carner were a solid foundation for Oldies station Fox 97 during its years in Atlanta.  And when oldies moved, these guys moved with the format, to Kool 105.7 and then Atlanta's Greatest Hits 106.7.  They also did morning stints on Lite 94-9 and WGST-AM.  Randy was one of those real radio guys, and Spiff, well, was on the radio.  They had excellent chemistry and made mornings fun for a lot of years.

JJ Jackson - JJ did the afternoon drive show on Fox 97, and his love and knowledge of music were evident.  His disc jockey background goes back to the 80s on the legendary Quixie, and the great stations on which he plied his craft include CKLW-AM/Detroit, another legend.  After years in radio, JJ is enjoying a new career that incorporates his second love, cooking.

Bert Weiss - After co-hosting with legendary morning hosts Kidd Kraddick in Dallas and Jack Diamond in DC, Bert felt he was ready to play lead fiddle.  He was brought to the attention of Brian Philips, who hired Bert for mornings at Q100 when it signed on in 2001.  Bert quickly proved he was right about being ready.  His show has been a huge hit, bringing in big ratings and billings.  The Bert Show is now syndicated in several markets.

That's it for this week.  But more icons are coming in our next edition.  Stay tuned.

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