Monday, June 7, 2010

The Quiet Storm Lives Up To Its Name

V-103 was the New York Yankees of Atlanta radio.  It was the one station that got it; the station that realized investing in talent paid off in terms of ratings and billings.  It was the station that believed personalities were as important as the music.

Have you noticed that the Quiet Storm, V-103's late night program, has become, well, awfully quiet?  That's because since longtime host Joyce Littel was let go in January, the Quiet Storm has been running jockless.  Yet it feels like the other shoe will drop at some point, especially with live personalities on all other shifts, including overnights.

The Quiet Storm, a name used by Urban stations for their slow jams show late at night, typically features a signature voice.  In her 19 years at V-103, Joyce Littel became the love-life maven of Atlanta, dispensing advice on the air and attracting a large following.  Suddenly all of that was conspicuously missing.

V-103 never provided a reason for Littel's dismissal, but it was widely assumed to be related to the big salary that she had accumulated over the years.  When she departed, a rumor surfaced that the station needed the dollars to bring Rashan Ali on board, to co-host with Ryan Cameron in afternoons as she did in mornings when Cameron worked at Hot 107-9 (WHTA-FM).  The rumor made some sense since afternoon drive is a far higher revenue-generating daypart than late night, and it came to fruition.

The move also fueled speculation that Cameron and Ali will eventually replace Frank & Wanda in mornings.  After all, Ryan Cameron's afternoon ratings were not crying for the addition of a co-host.  Keep in mind, however, that the morning rumors swirled when Cameron first jumped to V-103, and Frank Ski has signed two contracts since then, the most recent in October, 2009.  Neither the station nor Ski has divulged the length of that contract.

The Quiet Storm has been a staple of late night Urban Radio over the past 30 years.  The title has been used in virtually every market, for the show that followed the day's pressures with mellow, relaxed tempos and rhythms.  How did this nighttime mainstay originate?

The Quiet Storm name came from a song recorded by Smokey Robinson in 1975.  His soulful rendition perfectly befit the personality that was to be exuded by the radio show.  In fact, the song was used as the opening theme of the Quiet Storm on its first station.

WHUR-FM was a full-power commercial FM station donated to Washington, DC's Howard University by Post-Newsweek in 1971.  Post-Newsweek, which also owned AM, TV and the Washington Post in the market, became concerned that the Nixon Administration would frown on its heavy media concentration; and what better way to allay that concern than to hand its FM to a minority university.

With no debt, WHUR was under little ratings pressure.  Howard University installed a very progressive black music format, one that was quite different from its hit-based competitors in the market.  Washington's sophisticated African-American population made the station, which had little in the way of production values, a ratings winner.

Cathy Hughes, who would later found Radio One, served as General Manager of WHUR in 1976 and brought the Quiet Storm into existence.  She tapped a station intern, Melvin Lindsey, to host the program.  The show and Lindsey became immensely popular.  After several years, DC competitor 93 K-Y-S (WKYS-FM) hired Lindsey to compete against WHUR, but he never came close to his WHUR ratings.  Lindsey died of AIDS in 1992.

Fybush Tour Wraps Up at Tech
Scott Fybush's whirlwind Atlanta tour concludes this week with the ramblin' WREK from Georgia Tech.  The installment features both the modern studios in the Student Center and a visit to the transmitter at the west end of the campus.  The host was WREK's young chief engineer, Thomas Shanks.  Here's the link: http://fybush.com/featuredsite.html

That's it for now.  I need to get back to my new Justin Bieber album.  Thanks for reading.  I would love to hear from you at roddyfreeman@bellsouth.net.  Follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/atlantaairwaves, and we'll follow you back.

Link to Rodney Ho's AJC Radio & TV Blog: http://blogs.ajc.com/radio-tv-talk/

3 comments:

  1. I don't know considering "The Quiet Storm" is a staple of V-103. All I can say is hopefully they will bring someone back to air for the shift. I don't know who would fit for the shift though. Also you have a point about Bubby Love being on during the overnights when the late night shift is still jockless. However, I think his salary is as large as persay most full-timers at V-103.

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