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.
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.”