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Randy Cook ending run at WGST (UPDATED)

WGST-AM has chosen not to renew the contract of Randy Cook, who has been the morning host for the news/talk station since early 2007.

Cook’s ratings have not been good. WGST ranked 26th from 6 to 10 a.m. in May among to 25 to 54 years olds. The station is hamstrung by its weak signal before the sun rises but WGST is behind other AM stations with pre-dawn signal issues such as the Fan (The Rude Awakening), the Zone (Mayhem in the AM) and WGKA-AM (Bill Bennett).

A statement from WGST operations manager Scott Lindy:

Randy and WGST part ways very amicably. He’s pursuing other interests and WGST is doing the same. We wish Randy nothing but the best.

Should Randy Cook reunite with Spiff Carner on True Oldies 106.7?

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Cook said he saw it coming. And he seriously hopes to get back together with Spiff Carner at some point on the current oldies station True Oldies 106.7. (He has a three month noncompete.)

“We hope will happen,” he said. “It’s a possibility… I need to get back into music radio.” He said he signed a new contract with WGST last year just days before True Oldies came into existence. Bad timing.

“In the meantime, I’ve been keeping in touch” with the bosses at True Oldies, Cook said. “Some pieces have fallen into place. [Don] Imus is gone. Spiff is there.”

Cook worked hard to make a viable show on WGST. “I think I came out with a product that was listenable and informative… I tried to hone my craft and be the best interviewer I could be.” He feels whoever takes over should be more opinionated than Cook, more along the lines of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. “I knew I could only take it so far.”

He thinks True Oldies has been a relative success compared to the end of Fox’s run and Cool 105.7 thanks to the music mix. “Scott Shannon knows how to put a playlist together, one with a lot of variety. You can play Hall & Oates next to the Sherrelles and nobody is going to have a heart attack.”

In Atlanta, Cook was best known as part of the Randy & Spiff morning show from 1989 to 2007, working for stations such as Fox 97.1 (oldies), Cool 105.7 (oldies) and Peach 94.9 (soft rock), all defunct. Spiff tried to work with Randy on WGST on a news format but the execs at the time decided wisecracking Spiff didn’t fit in. So he broke Spiff’s contract in the fall of 2007 and kept Randy around.

Carner is now on True Oldies 106.7 with Fred Brooks.

Mike Stiles, who used to be Star 94’s morning producer and a morning host on Christian station J93.3, will be filling in for the time being while WGST seeks a permanent replacement.

Commenters below keep saying they want Kim “the Kimmer” Peterson back. He now lives in South Florida with a summer pad in Massachusetts. I caught up with him by phone this morning. “I’m surviving,” he said. “I could be worse off. I’m still the luckiest guy I know.”

He just talked to his show buddy Wayne “No Offense” Kitchens. “We’ve talked about putting a show back together but nobody has any money.”

He admits, “I miss the action. I miss radio. If there’s any money at all, I’d consider doing it again. It’d be fun to put the old show back together.”

165 comments Add your comment

RGB

July 8th, 2009
9:36 am

I still miss Tom Hughes. With a great ability to connect with listeners and a terrific sense of humor, he was the best.

scott

July 8th, 2009
9:36 am

JUST BRING BACK GARY MCKEE!!

Ted

July 8th, 2009
9:37 am

Huh. I had just recently switched over from WSB’s team in the morning (which is excellent, but after 15 years of listening, I was ready for something different) to Randy’s morning show. I had grown to really like it over the last couple of months. Sad to hear he’s gone.

And I wouldn’t discount the signal issues that WGST has. Out in the eastern burbs, the signal is horrible until the sun comes up.

Becky

July 8th, 2009
9:41 am

Yes, they should put Rand and Spiff back together…

Marsha

July 8th, 2009
9:44 am

Randy and Spiff together again! I’ll listen! Really miss them as a team. Great chemistry.

GWC

July 8th, 2009
9:45 am

Bring back Tom Hughes And The Kimmer!

Ozzie Virgil

July 8th, 2009
9:55 am

Amen! Bring back “The King” Tom Hughes and the Kimmer. Whoa! Look out!

Mr. WhatDoIKnow

July 8th, 2009
9:58 am

Randall Bloomquist did a lot of damage while at WGST. There are many previous loyal listeners that have long memories and could care less about what happens at that station.

ron

July 8th, 2009
10:00 am

wgst lost it when they lost Neal Boortz and Clark Howard, later Kim Peterson. they kept Rush Limbaugh, but that is all they have going now. I used to listen to WGST all day long but now I never do.

pHred

July 8th, 2009
10:01 am

WSB does not deserve Hughes and the Kimmer. Let it dry up and blow away quietly.

Let’s get some stimulus money and start our own station with the King and Kimmer anchoring the broadcast team….hurp hoa! Gotta go – you’re killing me!

itsme

July 8th, 2009
10:04 am

Haven’t listened to WGST since they got rid of Tom Hughes (most knowledgeable news man in Georgia) and the Kimmer. Still miss Keith Kalland.

khoih

July 8th, 2009
10:05 am

KIMMER, WHERE ARE YOU

JDJ

July 8th, 2009
10:08 am

I’ve been in the Atlanta radio vicinity since 1959 — and it’s sad to see what those clowns have done in the last few years to a much loved, well respected station. They’ve essentially stabbed it in the heart with their own ingorance of their market, greed for the quick buck, and lack of competence. Shame on all of them. They’ve taken very good people and run them thru the wringer. WSB AND ATLANTA deserves much better!!!

Dilly Dally

July 8th, 2009
10:11 am

What do you want to bet that WGST will add the syndicated Washington Times Morning Show? Can’t see Scott Lindy spending much time or effort on WGST now that they are in the last year of the Braves contract. Unless one of those foreign language stations are killed off, WGST will languish at 640 and be run out of a broom closet. Expect nothing new from Clear Channel in Atlanta and you will not be disappointed.

And to think that Clear Channel has highly rated and local programmed talk stations in Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and even Toledo!

Sluggo

July 8th, 2009
10:12 am

WGST’s never been able to get it right. WGKA’s a better talk station.

Larry

July 8th, 2009
10:13 am

Just another AM radio right-nutcase…bring back Gary McKee…sex, drugs and rock in roll!

Paul

July 8th, 2009
10:25 am

Where’s Kimmer?? and bring back Sean Hannity – what ever happened to him? :-)

Daryl-Atlanta

July 8th, 2009
10:26 am

Though I only listen to NPR in the morning these days I do agree with “RGB” and “Scott” with there suggestions about Tom Hughes and Gary McKee who are/were both excellent as well as intelligent on air hosts. I fondly remember the 1980’sa with Gary McKee and Yetta Levitt, et al on the old WQXI and those two plus their cast of characters kept us all laughing. Too bad that WGST can’t return to the News Radio days when now CBS News anchor Forrest Sawyer ran a class act and kept us all well informed.

Paul

July 8th, 2009
10:27 am

I am one of those right wing nuts – but there are way too many wannabe’s on the radio that don’t have anything to add. they are just imitators. S, D, and R&R work for me as well.

KIMMER (& Wayne) FAN

July 8th, 2009
10:29 am

Is it true Kim “THE KIMMER” Peterson is coming back to WGST soon?

Billy Radio

July 8th, 2009
10:38 am

Rodney,

Get your facts straight, buddy! The firing of Spiff wasn’t Bloomquist’s idea. Some suit from the upper echelons of CC came in and decided he was “yucking it up” too much in the morning. Randall had to sign off on it, but the firing of Spiff was really done above his head. I worked at CC at the time all this went down. Now I’m just another disgruntled former CC employee.

Billy

All I'm Saying Is...

July 8th, 2009
10:40 am

Gary McKee was awful during his last stint on WSB-FM and overrated when he was supposedly good—bringing him back would be the worst. Tom Hughes is who they should bring back or try some of these out of work newspaper journalists.

Dave55

July 8th, 2009
10:42 am

Ditto Tom Hughes. Great style and humor.

Andrew

July 8th, 2009
10:43 am

Time for “Return of the KING!”

itpdude

July 8th, 2009
10:43 am

I have not listened to WGST since the Kimmer got canned so I didn’t even know about Randy in the morning. I’ll be honest, I do like Scott Slade in the mornings anyways. But WGST totally lost me on the drive home when they got rid of the Kimmer. Irony of ironies, I’ve actually been listening to NPR since Kimmer got canned.

Mac

July 8th, 2009
10:47 am

Ludlow Porch?

Mike

July 8th, 2009
10:48 am

Has anyone else noticed that whenever WGST fires someone, they get worse and the ratings go down?

On the other hand, is there anyone left to fire? Do they have anyone at the Atlanta office who works solely for WGST anymore? I think it’s all nationally syndicated stuff tying up a frequency now.

Maybe they should find the people who were in charge when they tossed out “Planet Radio” and get them to overhaul the station again.

Glenn

July 8th, 2009
10:48 am

Bring back Tom Hughes. He is the best.

Ex-Clear Channel Employee in Atlanta

July 8th, 2009
10:49 am

Randy has likely been expecting this move for at least a year. It’s just been a matter of time.

Anyway, Bloomquist was a fool not to keep Randy and Spiff together. Randy Cook is a great guy and a wonderful host, but the chemistry he had with Spiff was magic.

Clear Channel has the proverbial “black thumb” when it comes to Atlanta radio. Everything it touches dies. When I worked at ClearChannel Atlanta as a sales exec, I was shocked at the severely defective decision-making that was evident there. Here in Atlanta ClearChannel has a corner on the market in Hispanic radio marketing, and yet they still treat the spanish-language stations like red-headed stepchildren. Their racist and ignorant attitudes have let a lot of good talented sales professionals escape to other media outlets, which has dried up the profit potential of the Hispanic stations.

I couldn’t leave that mess fast enough. Glad I was able to do it on my own, and not by being thrown out, like my boss and his boss and everyone else I worked for did.

Good luck, Randy, you’re a great guy and you’ll land on your feet very soon!

"OBAMA SUPPORTER" $upporter (aka Taxpayer)

July 8th, 2009
10:56 am

WGST was, hands down, THE BEST radio station in Atlanta just a few ago.

However, after the station chased away Tom Hughes and terminated Kimmer, it went downhill in a hurry. I went from never turning off that station during the day to finding it unlistenable once Kimmer departed. I can still listen to Rush through a number of alternative methods such as online.

Randall Bloomquist, may he burn in the Eternal Flames of [Heck], is the reason why I got XM when he ruined WGST.

We Love You, Pre-2006 WGST !!!!

We Miss You, Kimmer !!!!

Ozzie Virgil

July 8th, 2009
10:59 am

Don’t forget to bring back Pete “The Snake” Davis !

scott

July 8th, 2009
11:02 am

The demise of WGST was leaving the FM signal, letting Tom Hughes go ( the best morning news host in probably the country)Kimmer and Snake Davis. Then the news department was gutted and other than Rush no reason to listen. Many of us forgave them with the planet radion stunt. The listeners of WGST were loyal and many were anti-WSB. I have only listened to Rush on WGST and have crossed them off my list. I will grab a traffic report in the morning from WSB and go to Mayhem and Fox of Sirius.

Atlanta Native

July 8th, 2009
11:02 am

Re-unite or not, Spiff is the weakest part of any partnership. I was occasionally listening to oldies in the morning – then I heard Spiff. That ended right there. Randy should not hook his horse to that wagon again – just a Eric should sever all ties with Larry the next time Larry gets the Regular Guys suspended/fired/whatever.

I loved Kimmer, I miss Kimmer, but he was done.

JJ

July 8th, 2009
11:02 am

This is why I no longer listen to Atlanta radio. iPods are the best invention ever!!!!

I can listen to what I want when I want, and the best part, NO COMMERCIALS…..

Atlanta Native

July 8th, 2009
11:03 am

Darryl, I have been listening to NPR for the last several weeks. It is in depth, but generally without substance.

Chris

July 8th, 2009
11:13 am

I never liked the Kimmer. But Dave Ramsey is the worst. “Pay off your credit cards and pay off your mortgage”. What a one-note scold.

Adam

July 8th, 2009
11:14 am

Most of these comments are spot on. The only time I listen to GST is when Rush is on. It it to be the only station I ever listened. Some poor decisions have been made in the last few years. From a great station to a non player

Piso Mojado

July 8th, 2009
11:14 am

You right wing-nuts, God bless ya. Spend the whole day listening to people who tell you how to think. No wonder your party is in such a state of disarray. You people wouldn’t have an original idea if it fell out of the sky and landed on your moose.

Listening to WSB in the morning is painful. It’s like listening to one big commercial, with snippets of information thrown in. The sports segment can’t be more than 30 seconds long. Except for the traffic updates, which are wonderful, how can anyone listen to more than one 1/2 hour show? From 5 AM – 8:30 AM, every 1/2 hour segment is identical to the last.

Mike

July 8th, 2009
11:18 am

Thanks for the update. I didn’t even know WGST was still on the air…..

Doug Carrow

July 8th, 2009
11:21 am

Bring back “The Kimmer”!

Mr. WhatDoIKnow

July 8th, 2009
11:23 am

Rodney:

Can I borrow your AJC Decoder Ring?

He spoke with “W’ere tyring ot put a show back togehte ragian but nobyd ah s any money. “”I’m ready,” i miss the action. I miss the radio. if ther’ sany moey at all, I’ dconsider doni git. It was so mcuh fun. IT’d be fun t ptu the odl show back together.”

Tom

July 8th, 2009
11:24 am

WGSTnR.I.P! Clear Channel has taken one of the best stations in Atlanta and just destroyed it one host at a time. Once a station known for it’s vibrant and somewhat outlandish talent has been decimated by arrogant suits who quite apparently know absolutly nothing about how to run a radio station. You know it’s bad when WGST can’t even sell advertising anymore and is forced to run stupid govenment PSA’s during the vast majority of the day. While I enjoy Glenn, Rush and Dave I miss the energy, zeal and zest that WGST once provided. Ralph from Ben Hill, Tom Hughes, Kimmer, Pete Davis….you’re all sorely missed!

senoiadawg

July 8th, 2009
11:24 am

WGST only has Rush and Ramsey. Don’t really listen to Rush anymore but I do listen to Dave Ramsey(you should try that pay of your mortage and credit cards, it’s fun being weird). Rush has just gotten to over the top and is just as big of a part of the problem as the lib’s. Until someone can admit that each side has good ideas I could care less about any of them in the political spectrum.

Rufus

July 8th, 2009
11:30 am

How about Rick & Bubba!

CyberSpiff

July 8th, 2009
11:31 am

WG who? Everyone in town knows Randy and Spiff, but who remembers WGST?

RG

July 8th, 2009
11:31 am

I’m glad Cook is gone, he couldn’t pass a 5th grade test on current affairs. Get someone in there that’s a good lead-in to Glenn Beck.
And that 640 AM signal isn’t an issue any more, I get WGST at home on my HD Radio just fine at 94.9-3 and in my car I stream it on my iPhone using the iheartradio application. It’s 2009 people…update your technology!

atl1000

July 8th, 2009
11:41 am

“You can play Hall & Oates next to the Sherrelles and nobody is going to have a heart attack.”

LOL randy!

Atlwebmom

July 8th, 2009
11:51 am

I’ve basically converted to WGKA and Bill Bennett in the mornings. The only thing that would change that would be for Tom Hughes to return to the radio. He was the best ever!

auggie

July 8th, 2009
11:53 am

Yes, bring back the Kimmer

atl1000

July 8th, 2009
11:54 am

“WG who? Everyone in town knows Randy and Spiff, but who remembers WGST?”

well i wouldn’t agree on that at all, WGST is actually arguably the most famous radio station in town with a rich history, inlcuding one-time broadcast home of sean hannity, neil boortz, clark howard, tom hughes and many more all-star broadcasters. they were truly the news-monster of their day. today….well, not so much