B98.5 has decided to end the Steve and Vikki Show less than two years after a ballyhooed launch in 2008. Steve McCoy is out for sure, confirmed a Cox Radio official close to the situation who declined to be identified because he wasn’t authorized to give out such information.
Tony Kidd, Cox Radio market manager, said he wasn’t ready to discuss the situation just yet.
The pair’s contract is up June 30. B98.5 decided to take them off the air early because the soft-rock station had a deadline to give Steve & Vikki a third year. Management has chosen not to take the option.
A friend close to Vikki Locke said she has an offer to stay on, perhaps as a solo morning host, starting July 1. She has not made up her mind but has until next week to say yes or no.
If she doesn’t, B98.5 could bring back Kelly Stevens and Alpha Trivette, the former morning team who helmed the B98.5 morning slot for nearly a decade. The team has not been able to find a radio job since B98.5 let them go in 2008.
Steve & Vikki have been together for more than two decades, most of it at Star 94, where they thrived for many years as the source for soccer moms across metro Atlanta. Star, wanting to veer younger, decided to dismiss them in 2007. B98.5 hired them soon after in 2008. They returned to the air in July, 2008.
Management figured they were a perfect fit for the B98.5 demographic, which is older than that of Star 94.
Steve & Vikki have drawn decent ratings but probably not as good as B98.5 had hoped. Worse yet, the economy took a dive soon after they were hired, hindering B98.5’s ability to offset the higher costs of the morning show compared to the more economical Kelly & Alpha.
Steve & Vikki’s morning numbers lagged far behind B98.5’s mid-day and afternoon time periods, though the station’s emphasis over the years has been to get the “listen while you work” crowd. And since the new people meter measurements have been in place, B98.5 has done extremely well. It even landed at No. 1 during the Christmas holiday season.
As of late evening Thursday night, the Steve & Vikki show remained on the Web site www.b985.com. Ironically, at 11:24 p.m., about 12 hours after McCoy was told the news, WXIA-TV ran an ad featuring Steve & Vikki advertising a free trip to see “American Idol.” The title said that B98.5 is the “new home of Steve and Vikki in the morning.” Yes, they still use “new” after all this time.
The staff has been informed of the situation Thursday. They will go to a more music format for now, led by producer Will Gara. [UPDATE: Steve & Vikki were indeed not on the air Friday morning and Gara was covering. The show aired from 5 to 9 a.m.]
Though B98.5 has emphasized more music, less personality over the years, management saw an opportunity when Steve & Vikki became available. Arguably, since B98.5 is the only pure adult contemporary station in the market, hiring Steve & Vikki was insurance nobody else would hire the pair and take on B98.5 directly. Indeed, nobody has, though 105.7/The Groove and Star 94 are certainly pivoting toward their audience.
There have been management shifts. Two big supporters of Steve & Vikki when they got there are no longer at B98.5: former VP/general manager Dave Meszaros and former market manager Chris Wegmann.
Steve & Vikki more or less replicated their Star 94 show on B98.5. Program directors came and went trying to tweak it to their liking. Clearly, it didn’t work out.
McCoy has not returned a call for comment. In 2007 and 2008, McCoy didn’t talk about his departure from Star 94 until he was hired by B98.5.