Night jock Darik Kristofer is leaving Star 94 after three years.
What was unusual about his departure was how amicable it was and how honest both parties were about it.
“Darik is going to make a killer addition to whatever station is smart enough to grab him up,” program director Scott Lindy wrote. “He was hired at Star 94 at a time when he needed to play a role that is no longer one we have for him. He’s a pro and a good friend.”
In an interview last night, Kristofer said when he walked into Lindy’s office at 5:30 p.m. before what would be his final shift, he knew quickly what was about to happen. He said he respects Lindy and understood why his contract was not renewed. “I’m leaving with clarity,” he said. ‘I get it. There’s a level of humanity and understanding Scott has. I was taken aback by his kindness when I was in the office with him. He was so incredibly complimentary. We see eye to eye. I said I feel the same way. You just articulated the fit or lack there of.”
Kristofer said, as a single, 26-year-old man, he had to work extra hard connecting with Star’s target audience, which is the soccer-mom crowd. “I respect that lifestyle but can’t really relate on a fundamental level,” he said.
This is the first major on-air personnel move by Lindy since he took over last fall. The station also recently changed its slogan to “Your life and your music” (instead of its long-running “Atlanta’s Hit Music”) and added an all-90s weekend. Lindy has instilled more personality, humor and energy into the station’s overall presentation.
Before Star, Lindy helped propel country station 94.9/The Bull into respectability. When the Bull let him go last August under mysterious circumstances, Star quickly nabbed him. Star needed help. Over the years, it had seen its ratings fall steadily against B98.5 and Q100.
Since Lindy’s arrival, Star’s fortunes have been shining brighter. Star’s February Arbitron ratings numbers were its strongest since the people meters were put to use two years ago, progressing especially well among younger listeners. The station ranked No. 5 18-34 in February and No. 10 25-54.
“The station over the past three years has made a lot of changes formatically,” Kristofer said. “We were hurting there for awhile. The station is now the strongest it’s been since I’ve been here. The progress is fantastic, including at night. It wasn’t a personnel or performance issue. Scott really took care of me.”
Kristopher would like to work at a pure-play top 40 station, perhaps on the West Coast. (He last worked in Denver before Star 94, which is considered a “Hot AC” station, or an adult-leaning top 40 that avoids a lot of the rap-heavy hit songs.)
Star is now seeking a replacement. This is the job description being sent out to the trades:
Atlanta’s legendary Star 94 has begun a global hunt for our next night time celebrity. Candidates possessing superior understanding and ability to connect with our female target demo, advanced social media/digital skills and those who live their show prep go to the head of the line. Your passion for live and local radio, high creativity and a relentless work ethic get you into the conversation. Send your audio, resume, references and anything else you think will get our attention. P.S. If you call us about this job you’ll have 15 seconds to be brilliant or we’ll hang up
By Rodney Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org, AJCRadioTV blog