So Citadel, which owns True Oldies and Don Imus’ syndication deal, found a new home for the veteran morning talk-show host: 1160/WCFO-AM starting Monday April 13.
True Oldies will bring Spiff Carner and Fred Brooks, currently in afternoons, to mornings.
“I’m going over the instruction manual with the alarm clock,” Spiff cracked. “I haven’t used it since 2007.” That was when he was let go from WGST-AM, where his former morning show partner Randy Cook remains as morning host. (Randy & Spiff were a mainstay in the Atlanta market for about 18 years in Atlanta on three different radio stations.)
“I’m excited,” Spiff said, more seriously. “I’ve always enjoyed doing mornings. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a lot of fun. The music here is the best of any oldies station I’ve been with.”
Indeed, ratings are on the upswing for True Oldies. The station made the top 10 in February, its best performance in its year-old life. And it’s been years since an oldies station has been in the top 10 at all in Atlanta. Don Imus, though, has had relatively weaker ratings than the station as a whole so his departure should help True Oldies. (He ranked 22nd among 25 to 54 year olds in January, 17th in February, according to Arbitron figures.)
Earlier this year, the station began cutting back Imus and mixing in music, a compromise to try to keep some of the oldies listeners around.
Jeff Davis, manager at modest-rated WCFO, is juggling his lineup to accommodate Imus. Mancow, current morning show moves to 3 to 7 p.m. starting Monday. Jerry Doyle, current on in evenings moves to 1 to 3 p.m. Dr. Laura gets bumped to nights from 9 to 11 p.m. Dennis Miller moves from 4 to 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Laura Ingraham, by far WCFO’s strongest show, stays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Davis said Dr. Laura, despite her track record, was a tough sell to advertisers on a station that skews heavily male. Even Laura Ingraham’s listening audience, he said, is mostly guys.
He said WCFO has a limited marketing budget so he hopes just the fact Imus had been on a major FM signal for a year will help WCFO get listeners. “Imus belongs on AM,” Davis said. “It’s a win win for both stations.”