As expected, Cindy & Ray are moving to mornings on Star 94 after a successful five-plus years in the afternoons, according to program director J.R. Ammons. They replace the Morning Mess, who were let go after 14 months last week.
Start date is March 23.
In recent years, Cindy & Ray had the strongest ratings at Star, beating both Steve & Vikki (when they were at Star) and the Morning Mess.
Star’s ratings in general have flagged in recent months (as Q100’s star has risen under the new “people meter” measurement technology). And even Cindy & Ray’s numbers were relatively weak in January, the most recent ratings available.
Among 25 to 54 year olds, Cindy & Ray ranked 11th (the top 10 stations in that demo: V-103 & Ryan, WSB-AM, Kiss, Q & B98.5 tied for fifth, Grown Folks, Praise, Kicks, Dave and Project tied for 9th)
Among 18 to 49 year olds, Cindy & Ray ranked 9th, behind V-103, Kiss, WSB-AM, Q100, Project, 95.5/The Beat, Hot 107.9 and Praise.
Cindy Simmons and Ray Mariner entered the market amid much skepticism in 2003 because personality-focused afternoon shows are much less common than comparable morning shows. Top 40 stations tend to play more music in the afternoons. But the talk-laden show worked. Cindy & Ray dish plenty about pop culture news, with some relationship talk sprinkled in. After Steve & Vikki left in late 2007, there was speculation that Cindy & Ray would take over mornings.
But Star in late 2007 decided it didn’t want to disrupt two different time slots and kept Cindy & Ray as is. Unfortunately for Star, the Morning Mess didn’t match up with the station’s older demographic and that morning show was cut last week after a relatively short stint. Ironically, once the Mess cut back on the juvenile stunts, ratings had started to improve. But it sounded like the Mess team wasn’t happy either and left without any real complaint.
“I was surprised they didn’t do that before,” said Cindy & Ray’s agent Norm Schrutt, of the move. Cindy & Ray “are very comfortable with it. The company will make some adjustments to the show they are very happy with.” The only thing they will have to add to the morning show is more hard news. (He also represents the Morning Mess. He’s currently helping them find a new gig.)
His thoughts on competing against the Bert Show & Steve & Vikki: “Bert has an awful lot of audience and I’m sure Cindy & Ray are geared to that. I believe Steve & Vikki may find some of that audience coming back to Star.”
Who will be taking over afternoons? No word yet. Mid-day guy Tripp West had been told a few weeks back his job would be over soon but maybe this will enable him to stick around.