Monday, March 4, 2013

Fun In The Morning & Madison All Day

When I was a kid, I learned in school that James Madison was the fourth president of the United States.  So in those days, that was what the name Madison meant to me.  I have to admit I wondered how his wife Dolly had so much time to bake those treats my mom used to buy for us.

Early in my advertising career, I read about the huge ad agencies on New York's Madison Avenue and later worked there.  At the time, that's what Madison would bring to mind.  But, Madison as a first name has soared in popularity.  In fact, it was the 8th most popular female name in the country as of last May.

In the radio world, the name Madison seems to mirror the name's popularity in the real world.  Atlanta radio now has two major personalities using the Madison name.  In fact, you can listen to Madison in middays and in afternoon drive.

The newest Madison in the market is Madison James, who joined B98.5 for afternoons on February 12.  (I'm starting to think maybe I do believe in reincarnation.)  She has worked for Cox in Atlanta before, filling in at the former 95-5 The Beat.  She also did a lengthy stint in Greenville, SC and most recently handled middays at Cox's Rock 96-5 in the Richmond market.

B98.5 Program Director Chris Eagan's exuberance over landing her heightened my expectations.  During her first week, Madison sounded good but a bit self-restrained; her delivery seemed to blend with the music.  Yet I detected some potential star power in her somewhere.  I listened again last week, and she was beginning to break out and sound better.

How high is up for Madison James remains to be heard.  The other interesting aspect of this is that B98.5's mic on weekdays is, well, manned by women in all dayparts.  And yes, Mr. Kelly Stevens does co-host mornings with Vikki Locke.  In his short time in the market, Eagan has already demonstrated programming smarts and logic so I am looking at this with an open mind.

As I have expressed before, I doubt what we are hearing, as good as it is, is Eagan's final product.  I still find strange that early evenings are automated and then followed with a jock, Kara Leigh, at 10PM.

The other Madison has realized her star power and is voice-tracked in middays on 94-9 The Bull.  If NBC could do a "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?" contest, Clear Channel could certainly air a "Where in the Clear Channel system is Madison Reeves?" contest.  She is one of Clear Channel's master voice-trackers and has always sounded great.

Clear Channel could run the same contest with Angie Ward, voice-tracked evenings on The Bull.  I give Clear Channel credit for disproving a basic rule of physics, that you can't be 2 places at 1 time.

During Sari Rose's lengthy stint at Kicks 101-5, first on weekends and then in middays, I thought she sounded like a small-market jock.  Most of that was a result of her seeming lack of a controlled delivery, allowing a hick, undisciplined sound to come through.  After Rose was let go in favor of Jenn Hobby, Sari was picked up by Star 94 for weekends and swing.

What a difference a station makes.  Rose recently subbed for Star middayer Heather Branch for a couple of weeks.  I thought she sounded good.  She has a pleasant voice and loads of personality, and her delivery sounded controlled; the southern accent came through, but the hickishness did not.

Congratulations to Lance Houston, APD/MD at 94-9 The Bull, for accepting the PD position at Clear Channel ratings monster WPOC-FM in my hometown of Baltimore.  According to reports, Lance will continue his afternoon shift on The Bull via voice tracking.  Lance is not a fan of my opinions yet has been exceptionally nice to me regarding those and in other communications.  I wish Lance the best.  He's about to find out how a real crab cake tastes.

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Rodney Ho's AJC Radio & TV blog:
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