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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

A visit to the new Randy and Spiff show on True Oldies 106.7

PHOTO CREDITS: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

PHOTO CREDITS: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

For most of the past two decades, Randy Cook and Spiff Carner have been yukking it up on Atlanta radio. Their formula is simple: light patter and general goofiness with a parody song thrown in for good measure.

Their heyday was in the 1990s with Fox 97.1 (”Good Times and Great Oldies!”) when ratings and revenues were skyhigh and they’d sell 40,000-plus seats at the Georgia Dome for the Ultimate Oldies concert.

The pair are now at their fifth home, True Oldies 106.7, which is surprisingly thriving. I visited the team last week to see how things are going now that they’ve reunited after a two-year forced separation.

“We’re still breathing!” Randy said.

I caught them working one topic that morning: Spiff’s daughter works for a publicity firm that oversaw a big Knoxville, Tenn. opening of “New Moon.” The question posed to listeners: have you ever stalked a celebrity?

They got stories about “Twilight,” Davy Jones, Burt Reynolds and Sally Field going back to the “Smokey & the Bandit” days, a movie theater worker who didn’t recognize James Brown and a cab driver who had no clue who Sugar Ray, the band, was (he was thinking Sugar Ray Leonard.)

Despite a relatively modest marketing campaign, True Oldies the past two years has become a solid top 10 radio station. By playing a wide variety of music, culled mostly from the 1960s and 1970s (with a few ’50s and ’80s cuts thrown in), True Oldies brings in a wide expanse of 35 to 64 year olds.

But  under the new people meter measurements (which tracks actual listening as opposed to after-the-fact recall), the station is drawing more younger listeners than expected.

“A lot of younger people wouldn’t admit to listening to us,” Randy said. He notes that the station is often a third or fourth station for someone who regularly tunes into B98.5 or Star 94 and when listeners used to write out diaries, they’d forget about the oldies station.

That morning, they got some folks who were clearly Baby Boomers but at least two were in their 20s. Fans will often note how old they were when they first started listening to Randy & Spiff. Take Mandy from Lithonia, who is now in her late 20s.

Spiff tried to guess how old she was when she first tuned into Fox 97.1. “So you were 12 years old?” he asked.

Mandy paused, then cracked, “If that makes you happy.” (She was more like eight.)

“You’re killing me!” Spiff exclaimed. “Thanks for making me feel so young!” (Spiff is 58; Randy is 49.)

The station, programmed by legend Scott Shannon, runs a far greater variety of music than Fox 97 in its later days or Cool 105.7, the Clear Channel oldies station that was around from 2003 to 2005.

Randy was thrilled, for instance, to hear a Guess Who song “Star Baby.” “Over 20 years, I’ve never played that song,” he said.

Spiff, who always wears a cap, is more recognized on the street than Randy, who thinks he resembles a nondescript “insurance man.” He has also been told he resembles Rick Moranis, the actor from “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!” He rolled his eyes at that one.

Spiff joined True Oldies several months before Randy, who had been doing mornings at news/talk WGST-AM until October. In fact, the pair tried to do a morning news program on WGST early 2007 but after a few months, it was clear this didn’t work. Management dumped Spiff later that year, leaving Randy to fend for himself. Ratings were not good.

But Randy learned a lot about news and how to interview folks while at GST. It was rigorous work, he noted. “I’m happy to be here now,” Randy said. “They wanted more opinion. That’s not me. I did develop a lot of skills I didn’t know I had.”

“The bathrooms over there were very clean,” Spiff joked.

Randy Cook with Rod Stewart watching

Randy Cook with Rod Stewart watching

Spiff Carner works his magic.

Spiff Carner works his magic.

Randy & Spiff through the years in Atlanta
1989-2003: Fox 97.1 (oldies)

2003-2005: Cool 105.7 (oldies)

2005-2006: Lite 94.9 (soft rock)

2007: 640/WGST-AM (news/talk)

2009: True Oldies 106.7 (oldies)

31 comments Add your comment

TrafficHeadache

November 25th, 2009
4:30 pm

Good to have Randy and Spiff again. All is not lost on Atlanta radio.

Big Fan!

November 25th, 2009
6:44 pm

I STILL talk about about much I miss Randy and Spiff and Fox 97. I live close to Gainesville and there is a great local oldies station there (Majic 102.9 – which started 24-hr Christmas music on Monday), but I’ll definitely be tuning in to 106.7 too! I am 26 and have been listening since 1992, and I LOVE OLDIES!!!! Randy and Spiff would probably remember me, too – a member of my family won a large double prize based on a popular British Invasion quartet who wanted to “Let It Be.”

Lisa

November 25th, 2009
7:49 pm

I am thrilled to have a REAL Oldies station with Randy and Spiff. Rock on!

Andrew

November 26th, 2009
7:23 pm

I’ve always thought True Oldies drew a younger crowd. My group of friends and I listen to 106.7 and love it, and we are in college. I guess it rarely shows up because Arbitron can only contact landlines, and none of us have a home telephone numbers. Either way, I can speak for my group of friends that we love the oldies and 106.7.

Wink

November 27th, 2009
11:38 am

I heard Kelly & Alpha were going to work for free for 6 months on True Oldies to show the management what kind of ratings they could bring in…but they went for Randy & Spiff instead.

Oldies Fan

November 27th, 2009
1:03 pm

So glad that Randy & Spiff are back!! Love the oldies and these two guys!

oldies lover

November 29th, 2009
5:53 pm

Rodney, you say that 106.7 is ’surprisingly thriving’ but it’s the only station in Atlanta that plays more than 20 different songs. People are sick of hearing the same stuff over & over so it’s not surprising at all!

Puzzled in Smyrna

November 30th, 2009
10:25 pm

Okay, for those of you listening to Randy and Spiff in the mid to late 1990s, who sang “The Fish Song” or whatever it was called. Don’t want the answer just for the “halibut” – yuk, yuk. And truthfully, Fred and Spiff just never had the same ring to it.

Spiff

December 1st, 2009
2:32 pm

“The Fish Song” as we called it on the radio was done by Kip Addotta. I’m pretty sure that you can find it on a Dr. Demento CD.

Rodney Ho

December 1st, 2009
2:37 pm

It was actually called “Wet Dream.” Check out the video here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6l1GvDWtccI

stevieb

December 1st, 2009
4:26 pm

It’s great to have the guys back. Ed the Mechanic, Mohammed at the convenience store, Gramps, et al will be sorely missed, however, as the gentleman who did all those characters and many more is deceased.

JDJ

December 1st, 2009
5:59 pm

I love R&S, much like I loved Gary Lee McKee and Willis The Guard (now deceased, sadly) lo those many years ago! Thanks for bringing them back together as they should be — and thanks for hours of Atlanta morning traffic made bearable . . . and I’m gonna smack the next whippersnapper that calls it “geezer rock” . . . >;o(

Gail Green

December 11th, 2009
11:03 am

Guys, It was such a shock to hear your voices this morning on the radio coming to work. I was a flood victim back in Sept. and lost my car. I replaced it and have not programed radio stations as of today. The other day I was going through some things that had not been lost in the flood and one of the items was an old Randy & Spiff cassette tape. I commented to my son how much I missed hearing you in the mornings driving to work. I am sooooo glad to find you on the radio together again and playing the music I grew up with.

Kevin

December 14th, 2009
8:36 am

This is super. I listened to you guys when I lived in Georgia in the early 90s. Moved to Northern Indiana and listen to you over the internet. Best part of the day. Thanks for the laughs.

Lisa

December 16th, 2009
8:37 am

I’m 23 and remember Randy and Spiff from Fox 97 throughout my childhood (earliest I can remember was listening to them in ‘93)! It was GREAT to hear them together again this morning on True Oldies!!! :o )

Patty

December 16th, 2009
6:36 pm

Yeah, life is good! Randy & Spiff are together again!

dickleo20

December 20th, 2009
2:16 am

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I'm Shocked

January 4th, 2010
12:08 am

Bring Back Ed and Fluffo and you got me for life !!!!!!

Rita Dean

January 5th, 2010
9:01 am

Happy New Year, Randy & Spiff. I love listening to you on line from my new home in Mansfield, Ohio. Love you guys.

Martha Orlando

January 10th, 2010
6:37 pm

You’re back!!!! I am beyond thrilled!!!! Love you guys and will, starting Monday morning, listen to you every day. Radio joy has returned to my life!

Jane Brown

January 12th, 2010
9:26 am

Great to have Randy & Spiff back together again. Now I can laugh all the way to work!!! Sure missed you guys, you’re the best in the business, by far!!! I love Scott’s progamming. Best music in town.
GREAT STATION!! Only station in Atlanta as far as I’m concerned.
Been listening to R & S since 89 and will continue do do so as long as they are on the air.

Dakota

January 12th, 2010
8:57 pm

I can remember waiting in line at the TCBY to get concert tickets to the old stadium in downtown. It was fun to see the groups they brought in. I am so happy that Randy and Spiff are back on the radio. They play the BEST variety of music of any of the radio stations.

EDDIE EDMONSON

January 21st, 2010
8:45 pm

Glad to have you guys back togerther playing the oldies . I am along time fan. randy do you still deer hunt ? EDDIE FROM BARNESVILLE,GA

MR M

January 22nd, 2010
12:00 pm

I think they need to keep their political comments to themselves or go back to AM radio where people want to hear that junk. It has escalated since Randy came to the station.

B Dale

January 22nd, 2010
2:47 pm

Hey Spiff – Are Cobb County Schools closed today? Can’t wait for April Fools Day!! Don’t let us down guys!! It is so good to have you guys back together!!

jay

January 22nd, 2010
11:55 pm

I’ve listened to you guys from the very beginning on 97.1,hated Atlanta radio when you were gone.true oldies is the best station ever. All the presets on my radio are set to 106.7. Keep us cruisin’. Thanks for the fun. Jay

"The Limerick Man"

February 4th, 2010
8:49 am

A prestigious Congressional panel
Said your station is like wearing flannel…
Keeps you warm, makes you smile,
Never goes out of style!
Tune your dial to the True Oldies Channel!

Marcie Jackson

February 19th, 2010
10:02 pm

Hallelujah! I am a very happy person to have discovered you two back together again and oldies in the morning. Listening to you both makes me laugh and starts my whole day out on a positive note. Thank you so much!!!

Rod Hill

February 23rd, 2010
9:26 am

Randy and Spiff I really enjoy listening to the true oldies channel on my way to work, you guys make my day…….brings back a lot of great
memories….

Jan Jordan

February 26th, 2010
4:45 pm

I can’t believe it!!! My niece, Brooke, called me last night asking who sang certain songs. They were all oldies and I asked her why she wanted to know. She said she and her fiance, Michael, had found a great new oldies station, 106.7. I went online and found this website. When I saw that Randy and Spiff are on in the mornings I almost broke down. So many things and people I love have passed away and to have Randy and Spiff back is truly a blessing. Their humor and great music have brought me through some tough times and I’m so pleased to have them back. The music is fantastic, too! Rock on guys I’ll be listening.:) Love ya and God bless……..

Jana

March 20th, 2010
8:03 pm

So glad you BOTH are back AND together!!! Why do these radio stations do things the way they do? One morning you guys are on the air, the next you are off with no explanation! Not only that, the whole station is gone!! What’s up with that? Why isn’t the public informed of what the heck is going on? Let us know, at the very least, what happened!! Again, so thrilled that you are both back and the new station is GREAT!