We all complain about Atlanta radio. But since I arrived here in 1994, Atlanta radio has had some greats on the air. Some are icons because of their talent, others because of their resiliency or longevity.
I'm taking a risk by doing this because it's all coming from my memory; I'm bound to miss someone. Also, the personalities on the list were in their prime in 1994 or the years following. I do not have the knowledge to salute those who were big in the 70s or 80s.
Here are my choices in no particular order except from the left to the right of the FM band and then on to AM:
Mara Davis - Mara is the personality's personality. She is engaging, interesting and funny. She was able to stretch WZGC's formatic limits in middays to accommodate her act, and it was a highly entertaining one. In the era of the PPM, finding another perfect platform will be difficult.
Art Mehring - Art was not always "Mad Man." In the late 90's, he was the morning sports reporter on Z93, and he has very successfully reinvented himself doing traffic for Clear Channel. His radio career goes back to the 80s in Memphis.
Steve & Vikki - Steve McCoy and Vikki Locke were such a team on Star 94 for 17 years that when they were no longer on, it was hard to believe. They were one of the most well-oiled morning shows this market ever heard, and both are true talents and professionals.
Craig Hunt - Craig was one of the market's most talented jocks ever. He was so smooth and handled afternoon drive on Star 94 just about flawlessly. After a 10-year run for Craig, Star 94 made a decision to go with a 2-host show, Cindy & Ray. But Craig was immediately hired by one of Star's sister stations in Denver, KYGO-FM. Craig is still doing radio at Country station U.S. 103.5 in Tampa.
Rob Stadler - Rob has been News Director at 94.1 since the 94Q days and is the station's only constant from then until today. He still sounds great delivering the news in the morning, and it's a testament to Star 94 management that they recognize his value in this day and age of running lean.
Sandy Weaver - Sandy is one of the most talented people to grace the radio. She was amazing as the late evening personality at Washington's Q107 during the glory days. She moved to Atlanta in 1994 after IBM relocated her husband here and has worked at Peach/Lite 94-9, Kicks 101-5, Eagle 106.7 and B98.5. She is still on the air as Moby's co-host on his syndicated show.
Dale O'Brien - When I came to Atlanta, Dale was doing mornings on B98.5 with Trevor Johns. Out of all the morning shows that followed him on that station, I have never heard anyone who did it as well and sounded as good as Dale. I have listened to him on airchecks doing Top 40 at Z93, and he sounded just as terrific.
Kelly McCoy - Over the years, B98.5 has seen a lot of changes. But no matter the turmoil elsewhere on the station, most notably in mornings, Kelly was a steady presence in afternoon drive for 27 years. He has a great voice and fit in so well at the Cox AC.
Jordan Graye - Jordan is not the stereotypical AC jock and sounds great. She has anchored B98.5's most-listened-to daypart since 1994 with the exception of a couple of years at the turn of the new millenium.
That's all the room we have for Part 1. Our list of icons will continue in next week's Atlanta Airwave Action.
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Rodney Ho's AJC Radio & TV blog: http://blogs.ajc.com/radio-tv-talk/.
Atlanta Radio Insider: http://atlradioinsider.blogspot.com/.