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Randy & Spiff not bitter about latest job loss

Randy Cook and Spiff Carner at Christos Pizza in Marietta on October 13, 2011, after losing their jobs at Atlanta's Greatest Hits. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ajc.com

Randy Cook and Spiff Carner at Christos Pizza in Marietta on October 13, 2011, after losing their jobs at Atlanta's Greatest Hits. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ajc.com

After Atlanta-based Cumulus Media acquired Citadel Broadcasting last month, Spiff Carner said he read news reports that Cumulus was going to cut staff. He just hoped it wouldn’t involve “Randy & Spiff,” his morning show team on Atlanta’s Greatest Hits 106.7, which had been owned by Las Vegas-based Citadel.

But hope didn’t cut it. On Oct. 3, two weeks after the merger, Carner said Cumulus Media’s Atlanta market manager, Paul O’Malley, gathered him and co-host Randy Cook in his office and told them the bad news: They had lost their jobs, with two months severance. (O’Malley declined to comment.)

And typical in the radio business, they didn’t get to say goodbye to the listeners.

Cook and Carner said their removal was part of  an early round of budget cuts, along with six other employees that day at Atlanta’s Greatest Hits, which plays mostly hits from the 1970s, and sister country station Kicks 101.5.

Cook and Carner are fixtures in Atlanta radio since 1989 at five radio stations. Their first run at what was then oldies station Fox 97 was their most successful over 14 years until that station changed format. Since then, they have been at another oldies station Cool 105.7 (2003-2005), soft rock station Lite 94.9 (2005-2006), news/talk WGST-AM (2007) and for the past two years, Atlanta’s Greatest Hits.

“We’re the journeymen in baseball,” Cook said over lunch at Marietta’s Christos Pizza, a hang-out for the pair for many years and where Fox 97 reunions have been held.

“It’s the nature of the business,” said Carner, wearing a cap with his signature catchphrase “Spiff Happens.” “In a way, I feel worse for some of the people who were there for such a long time and lost their jobs.”

Carner said when he arrived at the station a couple years ago, he kept his personal items in a single drawer. He said he told the administrative assistant at the time, “I’m going to bring in enough stuff so I can leave with one sack if they ever fire me.”

“We’ve learned to travel light,” Cook said.

The pair are up for a Georgia Radio Hall of Fame lifetime achievement award Saturday, October 15. “There are people who have been inducted who I really respect,” Cook said. “It’d be a good club to be in.”

“I’d like to know how valuable the medallion is so I can sell it on eBay!” Carner joked. “Gotta eat baby! I hope to get at least 30 bucks!”

Carner also wanted to make sure he didn’t burn any bridges, stating emphatically: “My two weeks at Cumulus were very nice.”

Former owner Citadel did do a nice thing by requiring Cumulus to void non-compete clauses in contracts of people who were to be let go. This way, Randy & Spiff can work immediately on air in Atlanta if they can find a job. Naturally, they’d like to stay in Atlanta, but right now, Cook said there are no obvious places for them to go.

“We’ve taken pay cuts to stay here” in metro Atlanta the past few years, Carner said. “Our first choice now is to take a little less to stay here.”

For now, Cook has some part-time work lined up, and his wife has a full-time job. Carner said his house is long paid off, his kids are out of the house and he has saved carefully, aware that employment in radio is never guaranteed.

At the lunch, we also waxed nostalgic about their early days at Fox, when Randy & Spiff were one of the most popular shows in town. They recalled doing a “Meet Every Listener” campaign. Each weekday over three months, they’d be driven from one office to a restaurant to a food court, literally shaking hands, kissing babies and handing out thousands of T-shirts.  They received  billboards, TV ads and exposure no local radio personality gets anymore. Another year, they did a similar “Pay Every Listener” where they would pay any listener with a 37-cent check.

In the end, they handed out 9,000 checks, of which (believe it or not) 800 were cashed. Some folks who saved them, they said, more than 15 years later, still come up with their original checks and ask them to sign them.

And for nostalgia’s sake, here’s the photo of the AJC took in February, 2003, after the pair lost their jobs at Fox 97. In fact, this was shot at Christos Pizza as well:

Randy-and-Spiff-2003

Here’s a classic aircheck from Randy & Spiff’s early days:

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By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

65 comments Add your comment

Dave Garrett

October 13th, 2011
4:16 pm

I am not sure that the loss in listeners and hence future revenues will offset the costs savings at 106.7. They already suffer from a very bad location on the radio dial.

Wink

October 13th, 2011
4:24 pm

They had a good run but if you look at what’s on tv now (Kardashians, the Bachelor, etc) it’s a different world. The young folks think they know better and want everyone over 40 out of the way. I’ll remember that when a young un is changing my diaper at the nursing home.

KPRO

October 13th, 2011
5:07 pm

Loved Randy and Spiff’s morning show. No reason to listen to 106.7 now….

Tillie

October 13th, 2011
7:05 pm

Enter your comments here

Tillie

October 13th, 2011
7:08 pm

When106.7 fired Randy & Spiff, they also fired me as a listener. There is no reason to listen to that station anymore.

Skip

October 13th, 2011
7:35 pm

Randy and Spiff were great. Put a smile on my face everyday. Hope someone out there has the common sense to get them back on the air. Even my 17 year old listens to them volentarily. Good luck guys. Goodbye 106.7.

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Vin

October 13th, 2011
7:42 pm

Follow them from station to station. Can’t wait for another station to feature Randy & Spiff show. There just no good morning show in Atlanta radio station anymore.

Pete

October 13th, 2011
7:45 pm

Last year they got rid of Fred Brooks now this, sorry 106, I guess I will be listening to my iPod from now on.

Patrick

October 13th, 2011
7:47 pm

A lot of the well-known radio personalities that have station-hopped over the last few years really need to come to grips with reality. An over-the-air radio station isn’t what it used to be. If you really want to attract listeners, and on a more global scale, get into podcasting. Create a YouTube channel or a social network page where fans can download or listen to audio you upload on a daily or weekly basis.

Look into satellite radio. Howard Stern did, and he’s probably got more listeners now than when he was still on terrestial radio. Besides, the FCC doesn’t have as tight a grip (yet) on satellite radio, hence why you will hear the real, unedited version of any rap song, or any other song. That lyric from the song “Jet Airliner” by Steve Miller? The real version mentions nothing of “kicks”. There’s another word there.

mom3

October 13th, 2011
7:47 pm

No reason to listen to that station anymore. Friday won’t be the same without the ‘Friday song’! Good luck – I’ll be listening wherever you land!

grillinchef

October 13th, 2011
7:54 pm

Miss’em already along with Greg.. Nothing worth listening to anymore. I have dropped 106.7. So they saved $ on Monday, but the station is losing on Tuesday.

Best of luck to you – Randy and Spiff. You are the best.

Big Al

October 13th, 2011
7:56 pm

Here’s hoping that B98.5 fires the three losers that are employed on their morning show and hire Randy and Spiff.

Da Mick

October 13th, 2011
8:06 pm

I thought 106.7 blew it when they axed Scott Shannon and “The True Oldies Station.” They may not have generated the greatest overall “numbers” but they definitely had a solid market segment that could be related to and sold to as such (as that’s what radio is all about).

From people reacting to the change, at the time, on this blog, it appeared that a lot of folks here didn’t care for Shannon’s style, and were glad he was gone. Personally, I thought Shannon gave us the closest thing to an old-fashioned DJ, who was actually a fan of the music himself, and could tell you interesting things about it, treating these great old songs with the fondness and integrity they deserved, instead of as just the mash that the station played between comic bits and commericals.

And that’s the same reason why I never understood all the loyalty about Randy & Spiff. Sure they’ve been associated with every oldies station Atlanta’s had going back a long way, but did they ever seem like they actually cared about this music, or were in any way knowledgeable about it? Not in my view. To be fair, I don’t know that I’ve actually ever heard anyone on the radio that I actually thought was “funny,” but Spiff’s comedic approach was the only thing that may have had some kind of association with the concept of “oldies,” as I’m thinking that maybe my Grandfather may have considered his cornball approach to entertainment be humor.

This is not to say that I don’t wish these guys well in their future endevours. As far as Atlanta radio traditions go, I’m all for their harmless approach versus the insipid options that we’ve been subjected to up and down the dial for decades in this town.

When 106.7 canceled “The True Oldies Channel” and became Atlanta’s Greatest Hits, I wrote to the station manager, voicing my displeasure about it, and espousing the fact that we needed what Scott Shannon brought here. His polite response was, “We hope you’ll enjoy Atlanta’s Greatest Hits, and don’t forget, Randy & Spiff are still here!”

Ex-Listener

October 13th, 2011
8:29 pm

It’s all part of appealing to the kids willing to blow their money on all forms of clap-trap. I won’t miss 106.7, but I’ll miss Randy and Spiff. They are truly imaginative gentlemen. I’ll content myself with fond remembrance of all the pleasure they brought while I drove all over north Georgia.

shelley

October 13th, 2011
8:38 pm

106.7 should have kept Randy and Spiff and dropped that non-stop erectile disfunction ad they run endlessly during the day. We had to stop listening in my office because the ad is so embarrassing and offensive.

Wolfman Jack

October 13th, 2011
8:48 pm

In honor of Randy and Spiff, I am going to continue to listen to 106.7,
then boycott every advertiser and send them hate mail for advertising on Cumulus “Suck” Radio!

Best of luck Randy and Spiff, Rock and Roll will never die!

Morning Show Fan

October 13th, 2011
9:52 pm

Took 106.7 off my radio. Randy and Spiff made me laugh. Can’t wait to hear them again.

Steve McCoy

October 13th, 2011
10:13 pm

Does anyone know if they are hiring a new host?

I'm Shocked

October 13th, 2011
10:20 pm

So what happened to Fluffo and ED ???? Are they moving with RanSpi ???

Catherine

October 13th, 2011
10:43 pm

And this is why Sirius XM continues to gain listeners. 60s on 6, 70s on 7, Classic Vinyl, the Bridge. These are stations you can count on. BTW I, too, thought Scott Shannon had a good program. I wish he was on Sirius XM. The local channels just have too limited of a playlist.

Ron Hyatt

October 13th, 2011
11:22 pm

Never heard of em.

PR

October 13th, 2011
11:50 pm

DON’T LISTEN TO CUMULUS MEDIA!. These blood-sucking corporations are ruining radio. They don’t care what people want only what feeds the bottom line. Hopefully Cumulus will lose lots of money through this bad management. CUMULUS SUCKS!

Kev

October 14th, 2011
1:50 am

Get SiriusXM and listen to Howard Stern. You’ll forget about Randy & Lame-o within minutes.

Kat

October 14th, 2011
3:17 am

It’s always fun to read the blog comments such as “what they should do is…” It never really matters because everyone’s opinion is different in some way. I love Randy and Spiff, and I’m sad they are gone (for now). We are running out of Oldies stations for them to show up on, unfortunately. I hope they land on another radio station soon, as I won’t move over to satellite because I like how some things stay the same (as they were intended). As for those who say that 106.7 had a bad “dial position” even I don’t have to spin the dial to get that far down. It’s called a pre-set, which will have to change now.

jv

October 14th, 2011
6:41 am

I really like Tripp West, so this is nothing against him. I have followed Randy and Spiff on every move and sincerely hope they will be on the Atlanta airwaves soon. 106.7 made their first HUGE mistake when they quit being true Oldies, firing Randy and Spiff is an even bigger mistake. Randy and Spiff, you are truly talented, hilarious, and genuinely good hearted guys. Your M & M Savant, By the way, Christo’s is GREAT!

GoodComment

October 14th, 2011
8:40 am

@Da Mick : Right on the money.

"True Oldies"...

October 14th, 2011
8:45 am

…really sucked as a format – the current format at 106.7 is good, and thank goodness they got rid of the Scott Shannon hack from NY – now, Randy & Spiff, they were always good no matter where they were – will miss them and hope they get somewhere soon…

By the way, “I’m Shocked” – “Ed from over here at Ed’s garage, how y’all doin” passed away several years – and didn’t the guy that did “Ed” also do “Fluffo” and “Mohammed from the convenience store”?

Doug

October 14th, 2011
9:08 am

Thanks for the update on my favorite morning show team Rodney. I have followed Randy and Spiff all over the radio dial since they first arrived in Atlanta. I even followed them to 94.9 (?) and its feeble attempts at music. When the Oldies became impossible to find in Atlanta, I went to satellite radio and I love it! I came back to 106.7 when they hired Randy and Spiff, but only for the morning show. Now that they have been let go, I am back to satellite full time. I will miss Randy and Spiff but not the commercials nor the questionable playlist. Please let us know if Randy and Spiff get back on the air in Atlanta. I will be waiting.

Disappointed

October 14th, 2011
9:27 am

Well, it’s times to reprogram the radio stations again…Randy & Spiff – please give us a fix by putting stuff on YouTube to get us by. Friday isn’t as special anymore without the Friday song. I’ll be listening for your return…don’t make me wait too long.

Janet Underwood

October 14th, 2011
9:45 am

YOU ARE RIGHT!! No reason to listen anymore. I’ve been a fan of Randy and Spiff for years and have loyally followed them from one station to another. The middle of the roaders age are tired of not being taken seriously. We have buying power!!

We love you Randy and Spiff.

Name (required)

October 14th, 2011
9:53 am

Where will I get my crappy top 10 lists now?

Good riddance, R&S were about as unfunny as the craptastic Jim Bob & Billy and Rick & Bubba shows they tried so hard to rip off.

sandy miller

October 14th, 2011
10:48 am

I am a big fan of Randy and Spiff, and I miss waking up and not hearing them. Like today it would be get your crack off the rack. THese guys are the BEST DJ’s on radio and will be missed by so many of us. I wish the both of them the best of luck and HOPEFULLY another station will be wise enough to welcome them to their station. 106.7 I think you have made a huge error in letting these guys go, SHAME ON YOU!! ………………….Love you Randy and Spiff.

Andy

October 14th, 2011
11:00 am

I grew up listening to FOX97, but even I think it’s time for Randy & Spiff to move on. I would love to hear them on Sirius XM doing an oldies show though….despite their lack of knowledge about the music they are playing.

mmsurvivor

October 14th, 2011
12:04 pm

Yes the guy who did those Ed at Ed’s garage, fluffo, Mohammed, and I also miss gramps, sydell funeral home has passed and I also like Ednac. Fortunately I have those on CD. Cumulus sucks. They nail the coffin to too many radio personalities. It seem a smaller market would welcome Randy and Spiff. I fell in love with them in 1989. Smaller markets are much, Much, MUCH better radio market. Oh well, here comes my iPod!

ThinSkin

October 14th, 2011
12:22 pm

Are their ever any ethical considerations in the way that media operates? You guys blast the heck out of everyone else, but you never criticize yourselves.

Jason

October 14th, 2011
1:28 pm

Tripp is fine, but he’s not very good in the mornings. Plus, it’s difficult to come in as one man to replace a two-man show. The interactions just aren’t there. I think the station will continue to take a hit in listener losses. I understand the cost savings part, but maybe they just needed to automate or voice track middays and nights, and leave the drive-time slots as-is. I don’t have a reason to listen to 106.7 anymore.

Now if we can only get Tripp to accurately pronounce the word Atlanta…

Kim

October 14th, 2011
2:28 pm

Mornings just aren’t the same without the Randy & Spiff banter. I agree with a lot of you- not much reason to listen now. First, Scott Shannon, now our dear morning buddies! Cumulus – you must have clouds for brains!

Smitty

October 14th, 2011
3:07 pm

Bottom line. Those two had to go to pay Dickey(s) and Pinch’s bonus. You know how important their bonus is…..

Denise Sad in Marietta

October 14th, 2011
3:34 pm

I knew they were not just on vacation this week. I was out of town, came back and noticed Tripp was not saying he was “covering” for the guys in the mornings. I was hoping for a different outcome and I really am very surprised they have been let go. They surely made me laugh in the mornings. I mourned losing them on Fox 97 and now this. Too much. I drive from Marietta to the airport every morning and radio will not be the same for me. Might as well listen to NPR…NOT! CD’s for me until they return to radio.

Boomer1944

October 14th, 2011
3:53 pm

Took me awhile but finally see from GOOGLE that they were cut and nothing was said about it on 106.7, listen too them every chance I had!!! Now I have changed to Talk radio most of the time while I am on the road in the AM. 106.7 you really screwed up!! Will change my radio preset station and 106.7 will not be one of them!

Mike

October 14th, 2011
5:04 pm

These two brought a smile to my face every morning for years, even in Charlotte. Ed was a great and funny spot and it will stand the test of time. Love Buger too! Hope they land in Atlanta soon. I’ll be there where ever they are.

Kevin D. Patriots fan

October 14th, 2011
5:09 pm

Why do radio radio stations try and reinvent the wheel when you have something that works dont mess with it . Sorry to see go

Patrick

October 14th, 2011
6:03 pm

If I had known about Scott Shannon before now, I probably would have been more miffed about his departure, and would have listened to the station more than my mp3 player.

Those are the kind of DJs I like: the kind that really enjoy the music genre their station plays, and can actually provide some background info on it.

I remember when Z93 was like that. My two favorite segments were Breakfast with the Beatles, which was hosted by the morning host Dave Marino, and Out to Lunch, with the mid-day host Mara Davis. I liked Breakfast w/ the Beatles because Dave would play a song or two, and would give a bit of trivial info about the song he just played, or was about to play. Out to Lunch featured songs that all had a common theme, like if they mentioned weather, sounded like something you’d order at a drive-thru or a bar, or when Al Gore was campaigning in Atlanta back in 2000, she did songs with the name “Al” in them, or songs by people with the name “Al”.

nick violante

October 14th, 2011
7:45 pm

106.7 lost this listener and i am sure alot more. good luck randy and spiff hope you land on your feet
somewhere soon

Lisa

October 15th, 2011
1:38 am

Dear Randy and Spiff,
I am so bummed. I KNEW there was a problem when I saw that “Spiff Sports” had changed to “The Morning Sports Report.’ Yuck! It wasn’t just that Spiff and his ‘Young Friend” were on vacation. Reality sunk in. I grieved when you were let go on Fox 97. I felt resurrected again when I found you on 106. I am NOT a morning person, but hearing you two banter in the morning was GREAT before I started my day. I loved the listeners who called in and had just as great a sense of humor. It was as if all of Atlanta had a good chuckle before the day started. That’s some pretty positive energy for the morning. Better for ya than coffee. The banter you have is genuine and fun. You couldn’t work together for that long and not be good friends. It showed. When the world was in the midst of tragedy, you were respectful of the event. I won’t be listening to the station anymore for sure…but will keep a look out for wherever you guys land. Thanks for bringing joy to those of us who appreciated you on the air. God bless you both.

patches

October 15th, 2011
7:10 am

Yeah I noticed the lack of clues about R & S being on vacation the last few days and finally realized they were probably let go so just had to get up this morning and look it up. I won’t be listening to that station any longer now. I haven’t liked the station in the afternoon since Scott Shannon has been gone and the morning show with Randy and Spiff was the only thing left for me to listen to. Now that is gone. The River will be my next station as I don’t have satellite radio. Hopefully R & S will be back on the air soon.

randy ray

October 15th, 2011
8:23 am

what’s worse is they got rid of kaedy kiley on 97.1,and now have a syndicated morning show featuring an old washed up has been eddie money,i listned to kaedy kiley back when she was on 96rock thought she was great

kkk

October 15th, 2011
9:41 am

106.7 will go off the air now look for some mexican chanel to replace it god bless

Lulu

October 15th, 2011
2:29 pm

I have totally given up on morning radio now. I listened to Randy and Spiff when I first moved to Atlanta. Then as Fox97 went away, I listened to Steve and Vicki. They went to B98.5 FM, then the station fired Steve who is now in Colorado. Vicki is good, but the same show flavor is just gone. Then I rejoined Randy and Spiff who are hysterical and now they’re gone. Well, I like the idea one listener had – to go satellite or another listener’s idea – go iPod. You’d think an “international” city like Atlanta could come up with something in the morning other than pap. I’m sick of it.