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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

Radio year in review: open mikes, news/talk going FM, Steve McCoy leaves

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People are spending fewer hours with AM/FM radio, more with their iPod or sites such as Pandora Radio.

But the format is far from dead. Its appeal remains the same: it’s free and offers personality. After business bottomed out in 2009, Atlanta radio saw signs of a recovery this past year, with revenue growth in the 5 to 6 percent range.

Here are this year’s most notable stories, with links to the original stories:

- With ratings falling, news/talk 750/WSB-AM in August added an FM signal at 95.5, replacing hip-hop station The Beat. So far, so good as the station regained listeners it had lost since early 2009.

- With the Beat gone, Groove 105.7 became Wild in November, with a hip-hop music mix that sounds much like the old Beat.

elle_duncan_200_1- V-103 remained top dog in the ratings despite some changes. In January, the R&B/hip-hop station dumped its long-time night-time host Joyce Littel, who has yet to be replaced. In late spring, up-and-comer Elle Duncan was moved from mid-days to mornings, replacing Miss Sophia. The mid-day slot remains open. Then things got strange in November: Duncan got into a verbal argument with afternoon producer Nina Brown. Brown aired some of Duncan’s profanity-laced tirade for the world to hear. Brown is no longer at V-103.

- The Bert Show on top 40 station Q100, a dominant morning show force in Atlanta, has entered the potentially lucrative syndication world, adding a Nashville station in June. (Remember the drama earlier in the year over Jeff Dauler almost leaving for Star 94? We’ll see what happens with newly betrothed Jenn Hobby and Melissa Carter, whose contracts are reportedly up next year. Bert Weiss is good through early 2012. )

- By early 2009, 94.9/The Bull had made little traction against veteran country station Kicks 101.5. Enter Scott Lindy, a program director who streamlined the sound, teaming Dunwoody High School grad Jason Pullman with Kicks refugee Kristen Gates for mornings. By late summer of this year, the station was beating Kicks in key demographics. Lindy mysteriously lost his job at the Bull in August, but quickly found a new one helming struggling pop station Star 94.

- Steve McCoy, after nearly three decades in Atlanta (most notably at Star 94), lost his job at B98.5 in February. He is now on a classic hits station in Denver. His former on-air partner Vikki Locke remains as a solo morning host at the soft rock station.

- News/talk station 640/WGST abandoned local weekday programming in 2009 but is trying again with Rob Johnson from Modesto, Calif. in mornings and conservative host Rusty Humphries in afternoons, replacing Dave Ramsey January 3, 2011.

- As 680/The Fan dominated the sports talk arena, rival 790/The Zone’s owners Andrew Saltzman and Steak Shapiro (who took a bath running stations in St. Louis) sold out to its leasor, Lincoln Financial. But for listeners, there are no obvious changes – yet. The Fan, in the meantime, added an FM signal at 93.7.

- Sirius/XM satellite radio reached 20 million subscribers and kept Howard Stern on board for another five years.

- Pandora, fueled heavily by smartphone app usage, now has 65 million-plus registered users in the United States, about two million of them in metro Atlanta.

25 comments Add your comment

Barker

December 22nd, 2010
9:19 am

Rodney, you may have already covered this, and I don’t know if it is a big deal, but Mediabase removed Star 94 from their Top 40 list, and has categorized the station as Hot AC. This makes sense, since Star refuses to play any of the hip/hop or rap influenced songs that make the top 40, and since their playlist is often out of date.

Traffic Headache

December 22nd, 2010
9:21 am

If Atlanta radio plays in the forest and nobody hears it, does it still suck?

John Long

December 22nd, 2010
9:22 am

The writer failed to include that the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame inducted Bill Anderson, Clarke Brown, Eddie Esserman, Sam Hale, Tom Hughes, J J Jackson, Kirk Mellish and Phil Schaefer into the Career Achievement category at its 4th Annual Ceremonies.

Rodney Ho

December 22nd, 2010
9:38 am

John Long failed to mention that he runs the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.:)

Afterbirth

December 22nd, 2010
9:48 am

This is garbage.

Enemas for Christmas

December 22nd, 2010
9:55 am

This is all you do? Is this a paying job or do you volunteer?

Radiofan

December 22nd, 2010
11:01 am

That Elle Duncan definitely dispels the “face for radio” myth- but then I saw a picture of Burt Weiss.

TVboy

December 22nd, 2010
11:18 am

what about major changes at 106.7 FM with management dumping scott shannon and more 70s added. it is sounding great if you ask me. i’m listening less to my pandora, which i love, and more to 106.7 atlanta’s greatest hits.

John Long

December 22nd, 2010
1:17 pm

Rodney Ho wrote: “John Long failed to mention that he runs the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.:)”

Yes, I do! Happy Holidays Rodney :) )

Rick

December 22nd, 2010
2:29 pm

790 adding Barnhart & Durham was a good move. They are the only reason I listen to that station.

In regards to the changes at 106.7, I find myself listening to it a whole lot less. Too bad they messed with a good thing.

levelhead

December 22nd, 2010
2:39 pm

John Legend, Trombone Shorty, Anthony David, Esperalda Spaulding. All can be heard on 91.9 the JAZZ of the city! With no commericals!!!!!

Steve

December 22nd, 2010
3:18 pm

Was there nothing of note from 100.5? The Regular Guys?

Brian

December 22nd, 2010
4:55 pm

The Regular Guys? Are they still on?

newsBoy

December 22nd, 2010
7:37 pm

yes the regular guys just inked a new contract

DADT

December 22nd, 2010
7:55 pm

Congrats to Jenn Hobby and Melissa Carer getting married, You go girls.

jarvis

December 22nd, 2010
9:45 pm

Did they get married to each other? That’s still not legal here, right?

Mike Bell

December 22nd, 2010
11:56 pm

You don’t get my freakin’ hilarious sports impersonations on Pandora.

Hindu Elvis Pimp

December 23rd, 2010
10:24 pm

Rodney Ho and John Long failed to announce their freaky love for each other.

pcBobby

December 27th, 2010
9:10 am

What about DAVE-FM? Jimmy Baron and Yvonne made a great comeback and Mara does an excellent lunchtime show. These are all good strong personalities.

The Regular Guys’ faux conservative shtick is tired.

96’s _ock rock is OK for the F-250 crowd, but barely survives.

B985.5 is good for the dentist’s office.

WSB-FM has a little better sound if you’re driving around Doraville. Once you leave that area, the weak signal fades.

Aside from Rush, does anyone listen to GST any longer?

Congrats to Bert-this is definitely his heydey a la ‘Morning X’ circa 1999.

Where’s Mike Malloy these days? Someone needs to pair him up with Erick Erickson or Mikey Rose who went neo-con years ago.

Jimmy Baron

December 27th, 2010
5:29 pm

I am good aren’t I? I mean ‘we’ are good.

yeah c'mon

December 27th, 2010
7:05 pm

please bring back the kimmer!!!!!!

Liberal talk radio

December 27th, 2010
11:58 pm

AM 1310 “The King” plays liberal talk all day, from Bill Press to Mike Malloy

Debt Free Fan

December 28th, 2010
10:10 am

No Dave Ramsey? I sure hope he finds a home on another local radio station.

Evil Steak Shapiro

December 28th, 2010
11:23 am

790 is a JOKE!!! Steak & Andrew have 3 year deals…they’ll be gone and counting their $$$ and leave all their employees holding the bag in no time! Steak went from owner/founder to Brand Manager…oh please!

They lost the Falcons, Hawks, can’t talk about the Braves without getting a C&D, and even if we cared about Georgia Tech we couldn’t listen if we wanted! Not too mention, everyone from the PD to sales folks to on-air guy (Dennis Scott) are jumping ship and moving on to bigger and better things! Mike Bell’s act is getting old, Pollack is on the way to ESPN anyday, the Young Guns (who?? exactly), and don’t forget about Barnhart & Boring..I mean Durham. The 2 Live Stews is 790’s ONLY entertaining & profitable show and they keep trying to make it worse to blend in with the rest of the crap they try to feed Atlanta sports fans.

The way 790 is being run into the ground it seems more like they were bought by the Atlanta Spirit than Lincoln Financial.

hotlanta

December 29th, 2010
1:29 pm

SOMEBODY PLEASE TAKE EL OFF THE AIR AND OUT OF HER MISERY FOR TRYING TO REPLACE FRANK/WANDA. Now we can really see she has no TALENT!!!!!! I feel as if I am listening to a preteen show for tweens who like Justin Beiber. Are you listening V-103. I am sure you got a lot of complaints by now.