Monday, February 14, 2011

V Is For Void

V-103 (WVEE-FM) has always been the station that got it; the station that realized investing in the product can pay off big in ratings, billings and prestige.  It's always had huge talent.  Its current roster of Frank Ski, Wanda Smith, Ryan Cameron and Greg Street makes it the New York Yankees of Atlanta radio.  It's involved in the community, and it has a monster signal.  Despite predictions to the contrary, the People's station is still #1 in the People Meter era.  V-103 is one of the most storied and respected Urban stations in radio history.

I've been wondering, however, whether complacency plus the lure of saving money has caused V-103 to erode in quality just a bit.  It's been 8 months since Elle Duncan jumped from middays to the morning show, and no midday replacement has been named.  Ramona Debreaux, Sytonnia, Shay Moore and Osie the Dark Secret have been rotating in the slot.  And even singer Al B. Sure took at crack at the primo opening.

After giving the matter considerable thought, I'm proud to say I've figured out the thinking of V-103 Program Director Reggie Rouse.  Reggie is obviously a huge baseball fan.  Think about this: He made V-103 the New York Yankees of Atlanta radio.  He likes the platoon system and has taken it to a whole new level.  Instead of 2 players sharing a spot, Reggie uses 5 people.

Note to V-103 Market Manager Rick Caffey: Buy Reggie some Braves tickets so he can get his baseball fix.  The #1 station in market #7 should have a midday personality.  I have heard Reggie is hesitant to put Romona, my favorite of the group, in the slot because of her years in middays across town at Hot 107-9 (WHTA-FM).   If that's true, which it might not be, it should not be an issue; virtually no one would think of it.  Sytonnia and Shay Moore also would be suitable.  Both have a sound tinged with the uniqueness that has been a hallmark of V-103.

My least favorite is Osei the Dark Secret, who was rumored to have won the spot a couple of months ago.  In my opinion, Osei does not have talent commensurate with a full-time shift on V-103, but he's a Reggie Rouse favorite.  Osei started as Reggie's intern years ago at WPGC in Washington.

A year has passed since relationship maven Joyce Littel was released as host of V-103's Quiet Storm after 17 stellar years on the job.  And still to this day, the 10PM-2AM shift is jockless and runs automated.  The Quiet Storm is without a host in some other markets, but this is V-103 in Atlanta.  Al B. Sure, who pinch hit for Reggie in middays, was reportedly hired for the late night shift several months ago but never appeared.  Granted, Al B. Sure is flexible and can work "night and day."  At a CBS Radio luncheon last year, Reggie Rouse told me that he "certainly hopes" to have a live human in the slot.

The absence of a regular host during 8 of 24 hours is taking the bloom off the rose for the legendary station.  That V-103 has not been voice tracked or corporately programmed has set it apart in this age of consolidation.  The bottom line is the People's Station needs some people.

Denny Radio Sees Daylight
Punxsutawney Phil may not have seen his shadow, but Denny Schaffer, who hosts on Talk 920 (WGKA-AM) from 9-11:30PM, saw daylight last Friday.  Syndicated Salem talker Dennis Prager, who usually fills noon-3, had the day off so Denny was handed the mic.

Schaffer was excellent as he interacted with callers and guests.  And he has substantial broadcast talent.  I wish Denny Radio were always on in the daytime.  Salem's business model, however, is to use its AM talk stations to gain clearance for the company's talk product, which includes Prager, Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt.  Providing clearance for its network in the Atlanta market takes precedence over achieving local ratings and billings success.

I'm guessing local Salem management is wishing along with me.  The national Salem talk hosts are solid.  I find them a cut above the big national political talkers in terms of intellect and demeanor.  But Salem/Atlanta management probably could program WGKA to more local success if given the opportunity.

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1 comment:

  1. I agree man. V-103 management has been hesitant in their decisions as of late because there was the rumor that another "EEOC" suit would be filed if another male is added on air full-time instead of a female personality. The fillers of the middays with the exception of Osei being added on-air full time would prevent such suit. However, stranger things have occurred considering the placement of Elle Duncan on air instead of Ramona DeBreaux back in 2009. I've always seen Osei as a late night jock whom is better suited for the "Quiet Storm", a time slot that is similar to the former "Love Talk & Slow Jams" / "The Coolout" show on WPGC in Washington DC. He did pretty well when he anchored it originally back in the mid-1990s with co-host Justine Love and again from 2007-2009 solo. I feel that Reggie Rouse is playing too safe because the ratings are on top, but it's better to make the decision when there is an opportunity to adjust rather than as a reaction to potential challengers.