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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Top 12 strangest Atlanta radio stories of the past decade

I’ve been covering Atlanta radio for a decade, through the rise of top 40 Q100 and gospel station Praise, the fall of 99X and deaths of Lite 94.9, Smooth Jazz 107.5 and 96rock. Revenues rose, then fell sharply.  Syndicated shows by the likes of Rickey Smiley, Elvis Duran and Steve Harvey popped up. There have been plenty of big stories but in celebration of my ten years here, I’ve compiled the top 12 most unusual radio-related stories. I couldn’t make any of them up. Some are sad, some are funny, some are just plain odd.

12. Ralph From Ben Hill’s comeback gets shortchanged: Ralph From Ben Hill was a brazen presence on WGST-AM in the late 1970s and 1980s as a regular caller. The station hired him in 1989 for his own show, where he espoused a volatile mix of black nationalism and social conservatism before getting canned in 1994. In late 2001, he was embarking on a comeback at WAOK-AM, which was news/talk at the time. One week in, though, he sounded incoherent on air, battling terrible headaches. Doctors found a blood clot in his brain and he was never the same, unable to get back on radio on a regular basis again. It was sad and the timing most unfortunate. I have not heard if he’s still around. Anybody know?

crash head shot

Crash Clark in August, 2011 at his birthday party. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

11. Crash Clark loses his job at 99X over a stunt that hit the toilet: The party-lovin’ Crash Clark had gotten himself in trouble plenty of times over the years at 99X but in 2005, he allowed a couple of fans at a bar at a remote get a bit too close in a bathroom to win 311 tickets. The owners of the bar were not pleased and he was out. After a stint in Boston, he is back at Dave FM and V-103 as the traffic guy. (Clark once went ballistic on me after he started working with a Boston radio station where he talked about his finances and I reported it to his fans in Atlanta. Curse words were liberally used. But we’ve since made up.)

10. Former Kicks morning host Moby gets attacked by a lion. I will simply reprint what I wrote back in 2003 in Peach Buzz. This did sound ridiculous at the time, but he sent me a photo and  it was an ugly bite! The scar is a point of pride, he said to me recently at the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. (In 2008, he also got bitten by a snake. No joke! And more later about his short stint at Z93.)

Some people would love to feed Z93 morning radio host Moby to the lions. But he said he was literally bitten by one Sunday.

Moby insisted to Buzz that this is not a belated April Fool’s joke. While volunteering at a local zoo (not Zoo Atlanta), he said he petted a 700-pound lioness, which sank her teeth into his right arm. He was earlier told that the animal would let go if he popped her in the nose, but instead he pulled away, causing a major gash that required 25 stitches from a Northside Hospital doctor.

He later identified the locale as the Chestatee Wildlife Preserve in Dahlonega. The gash required 25 stitches but didn’t cause any serious damage.

9. Why you’ll never see Kate McCarthy & Jordan Graye in the same room: In 2007, B98.5’s Jordan Graye was given a second shift at 97.1/The River.  But she created a fictional name while on the River. “There were arguments about having her use the same name because she sounds good on both stations,” said Chris Miller, program director at the time. “In the end, we decided on a different name to keep each station distinctive and not cause confusion.” Kate was retired earlier this year.  “Jordan and Kate will never lose each other!” wrote Graye via Facebook, tongue firmly in cheek. “BFF (although, she does get on my nerves a little)…. I betcha Kate turns up somewhere.”

porsche-foxx8. Porsche Foxx gets caught with a DUI, loses her job, comes back, loses her job again: Former V-103’s former mid-day host Porsche Foxx had a powerful presence on air. But she had to fight her own demons. In December, 2004, DeKalb County police arrested her and charged her with driving under the influence, possession of marijuana and a suspended license. Six weeks later, V-103 let her go. A few weeks later, her house went up in flames. Police deemed it an accident. She entered alcohol rehab. In 2007, V-103 re-hired her. “It’s been two and a half years, ” she told Frank Ski and Wanda Smith at the time. ” I’m a better woman today. I’m more resilient. I make better decisions.” Less than two years later, she was let go again. Foxx at the time gave me some sort of convoluted explanation about V-103 not being sympathetic to her about a medical problem.

7. Merry Christmas — you’re fired! Jeffree Charles was working at a local R&B station in 2001 as a DJ. At the holiday party, he sang Christmas carols and told the staff he was proud of everyone after 9/11. His boss fired him after the party. Awkward! (It wasn’t because of his singing. It was pre-planned.)  He is now focused on his music career. Check him out at www.jeffreecharles.com.

thekimmer6. Kimmer tussles with a protester: 640/WGST-AM’s popular afternoon host and Marine veteran Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson, after a Veterans Day parade in 2005, said a man Will Jones with a sign “Bush did 9/11″ spit on him. The Kimmer got out of the car and the pair tussled briefly. Jones filed an arrest warrant against the Kimmer. The case was eventually thrown out. Jones said Peterson attacked him and injured his shoulder. “I feel sorry for him, ” Peterson said on the air later in the day after the case was dropped. “I really do. I hope this is the end of it.”

5. Moby becomes the highest paid traffic guy in town. Yes, we’re back to Moby. Country jock James “Moby” Carney, after he lost his job at Kicks 101.5, nabbed a morning host position at Z93 in the fall of 2002. Though he was a rock jock for years in Houston and Dallas, he was known in Atlanta as a country guy. The rock fans at Z93 didn’t embrace him. Management wanted him out. But they had signed him to a contract which required them to keep him on air in the mornings. They moved him to traffic duties in hopes he’d be so disgusted, he’d leave on his volition. Instead, Moby dug in his heels. He did traffic from a separate office while not identifying himself on air. But Moby was getting paid well into the six figures to tell us how tangled Spaghetti Junction was. After nine months doing traffic, he eventually negotiated a settlement with Z93 that got him out of his contract and the two sides finally parted ways.

steve barnes 20074. Steve Barnes sues his old employer for defamation. Barnes, a 99X morning host for a decade, stepped down in 2003. Three years later, he came out with a film “No Witness” starring Corey Feldman. As a joke, 99X’s Fred Toucher, Jimmy Baron and Leslie Fram held a free screening of the film at a local restaurant and mocked it on air. Toucher also made fun of Barnes on his website (notably calling him “Captain Back Acne.”) At the time, Barnes said he was amused: “It’s beautiful, it’s free publicity. I’ve done nothing to those people. It makes me laugh. I’ll have to send them a thank-you note.” But he really wasn’t amused: he later, filing a civil lawsuit in federal court alleging that 99X defamed him and engaged in copyright infringement. The case was eventually settled out of court.

3. Curses! V-103’s on-air host Elle Duncan chews producer Nina Brown out on air! Last year, the two women got into an argument over a pot-luck sweet potato pie. Brown, a producer, left the mike live while Duncan was yelling at her, despite access to a delay button. Someone sent me a clip of it. “Stop with that s*** too Nina, like you’re so [bleepin']  holier than thou!” Duncan is heard saying. A few seconds later, co-host Ryan Cameron went on air as if nothing had happened. Duncan was suspended but remains at V-103. Brown lost her job, eventually moving to 11Alive.

2. Q100 and the Bert Show shut down I-20:  Q100 and Six Flags Over Georgia had a great promotion idea during spring break 2007. They offered free admission to the park from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on what the station dubbed “Ditch Day.” But word spread like wildfire. When the gates opened at 6, the event hit its capacity of 10,000 to 15,000 people within 15 minutes. Nearby I-20 backed up through three counties, and surface streets west of Atlanta were frozen . Eager to get into the amusement park, kids bailed out of idling cars on the highway and walked in the pre-dawn chill to the park — only to be turned away because the park was full. The promotion created a big mess but also showed the power of the radio station.

RegularGuys1. The Regular Guys get fired twice – and they are still around! In 2004, after the Janet Jackson Super Bowl mess, the Regular Guys decided to mock the Federal Communications Commission crackdown on indecency by taping a porn star Devin Lane talking dirty and airing it backwards. While they taped her, a live mic was left on so you could hear her explicit commentary over a Honda ad. After the show, the Regular Guys were suspended. In 2005,  they were re-hired but the show was let go yet again 18 months later when Larry Wachs taped and aired bathroom conversations of Yogi & Panda, a morning show on Hispanic  sister station Viva 105.7. Yogi & Panda sued, claiming their privacy was breached. The case was eventually thrown  out of court. In 2008, Rock 100.5 hired the Regular Guys, who have since managed to stay out of trouble.

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By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

54 comments Add your comment

Liz Lemon

October 25th, 2011
6:38 am

I’m still trying to figure out why Clear Channel hired Randall Bloomquist to destroy WGST. Every station he programmed tanked. Heck, even Radio-Info.com got rid of him. Says a lot about someone whose only career success is cleaning the toilets at the Walmart on Bankhead Highway.

TG

October 25th, 2011
8:03 am

I know Clark from the Bert Show, I wasn’t aware of his history with other stations. Anywho, some other less memorable radio stories:

1) Rob Redding left WAOK and has returned years later.
2) Ryan Cameron moved to his old station V-103 after incessantly dogging it (and Frank Ski) out at 97.9.
3) (Not in last 10 years but still burns me up) Frank Ski brought his uneducated Baltimore crew with him to infiltrate/ dumb down V-103 from Mike and Carol.
4) The Bert Show emerged as a better, smarter, more entertaining morning show than the ghetto crew from Baltimore at V-103.
5) The dismantling of the 107.9 crew

jv

October 25th, 2011
8:33 am

worst huge radio mistakes: 1. Firing Kimmer 2. Firing Randy and
Spiff repeatedly. 3. Rehiring the Regular Guys 4. Firing Wayne Kitchens, Tom Hughes, and Snake Davis on WGST. 5. Featuring Steak Shapiro on 790
6. Breaking up Steve and Vicki 7. No oldies station.(see #2) 8. Getting rid of Peach, the longtime easy listening Atlanta station. 9. Way overrating Q100. 10.Not having local radio on 680 from 10 – 12.

Eric

October 25th, 2011
8:44 am

Rodney, did you even bother to reread your entry? Your grammar is horrible, and it looks like half your thoughts made it to the screen. I’m surprised your editor let this through.

Nice job, AJC. No wonder your sales suck.

eljewell

October 25th, 2011
8:45 am

Jeffery Charles getting fired at an Christmas party was too awkward. Dude use to light up 104 in the evening quiet storm.

Beatgirl

October 25th, 2011
8:52 am

Thank you TG!
I really do not like the V103 morning show and am perpetually amazed that it has such high ratings. The Bert Show is better, though, I’m not liking it as much lately. The new woman doesn’t bring anything and lacks chemistry with the crew. I like your #5. The dismantling of the 107.9 crew really caught me off guard. They were so much better than Frank Ski. The change of 95.5 to talk radio/simulcast of 640 was also really interesting.

Did I say how terrible V103 is?

Also, Ryan Cameron is awful. He tries too hard to sound cool.

Beatgirl

October 25th, 2011
8:53 am

I second Eric’s comment. It was difficult to comprehend much of what was written.

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Pootytang

October 25th, 2011
9:17 am

Tg is an idiot there is no 97.9 you mean 97.5 or 107.9?

Michael

October 25th, 2011
9:29 am

Crash seriously needs to get his anger, drinking, relationship issues, etc resolved. I know that Jimmy Baron was a good friend who bailed him out but seriously, I feel like his next flame out is upon us.

BTW, I keep hearing but maybe it’s an urban legend that twenty years ago two dj’s played QUEEN’s “Another One Bites the Dust” to get out of their current contract? The version I heard is that they were physically thrown out before the song ended.

Zoinks

October 25th, 2011
10:15 am

Atlanta NEEDS Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson back on the air!

If you want us to turn off our Sirius-XM and iPods and make you some $$$, Atlanta Radio Programming Directors, get “The Kimmer” on your station as soon as possible.

Always wondered

October 25th, 2011
10:32 am

I would love to find out what the original altercation was that broke up the Morning X. I heard Jimmy say on air a couple times that he hated Barnes and then I later heard him say that he didnt hate Barnes anymore but the actual reason they hated each other seems to be a well guarded secret.

carla roqs

October 25th, 2011
10:37 am

tg- totally correct on v103- i loved mike roberts and robin and carol was okay. robin is now with good morning america- which lets you know exactly what mike was working with. frank ski and wanda ruined atl radio. most people now listen to stations from outside of the city, i just listen to satellite radio–frank was tooo much for me.

girl six

October 25th, 2011
10:39 am

@pooty- get a clue.

jack48

October 25th, 2011
10:46 am

Probably the worst Atlanta talk show host ever—-”Dummy Schaffer”! For months I thought he was a Phil Hendry creation. Hilarious!

levelhead

October 25th, 2011
10:50 am

WCLK 91.9 gets no live from the masses. Jazz/ Funk/ Deepfoot RNB/ melodies and best of all no commericals or gags from old washed up dj’s. Thanks Morris/ Nicole/ Jamal you make my day and music playlist something special. This is why I am always JAMMING through traffic while others are on the phone or mad at their commute. Beautiful music is a blessing. Big ups to LEDISI- – I’m so into you Carmen Rodgers Conya Doss

b j johnson

October 25th, 2011
11:24 am

Q100 is now a talk show. No diversity without Melissa

Kar

October 25th, 2011
11:45 am

Always wondered, it wasn’t that secret. They had a couple of confrontations on the air, I think one was during their 24hr on-the-air fundraiser. I don’t think anybody liked Barnes. Heck, his anger issues were so prevalent that one of their April Fool’s pranks had him going to far and knocking out Jeff Clark.

MatthewH

October 25th, 2011
12:20 pm

Michael-Not an urban legend. Two DJs played “Another One Bites the Dust” during the Atlanta child murders. (They were fired-obviously)

Hey, Michael...

October 25th, 2011
12:23 pm

…that is no urban legend – back when 92.9 was Z93 their morning guys played the Queen song about the ongoing invesgtigation into the murder of many young black kids (Wayne Williams was eventually convicted of the crimes) – they were fired immediately, but it is unclear whether they did this to get fired intentionally…

Michael

October 25th, 2011
12:32 pm

My understanding is that they had an offer of another slot in Florida for more money but they had to be free contractually. Irony was of course that the FL station wouldn’t touch them.

Orlando

October 25th, 2011
12:35 pm

I think the Melissa Summers departure should have made the list… She was the top paid female DJ in middays slot. She was riding high and then she disappeared…

Shannon

October 25th, 2011
12:41 pm

The snake and the lion know the same thing I know.

b j johnson

October 25th, 2011
2:06 pm

Correction: The Bert Show is now a talk show

kenny g

October 25th, 2011
2:13 pm

really miss the smooth jazz 107.5 and renee miller,was one smooth lady

yo michael

October 25th, 2011
2:22 pm

the dj’s names were ross and wilson,and it was actually 30 years ago,in 1981 when that happened

levelhead

October 25th, 2011
2:28 pm

Kenny G Rene miller is on from 11am-3pm Sundays on WCLK 91.9 plus she give a First Thursday’s at Lowes Hotel. “The Miller Mix”

BDD

October 25th, 2011
3:01 pm

Ralph from Ben Hill died.

TheLazyComic

October 25th, 2011
3:14 pm

Moby was bitten by a snake? I’m not surprised. Broadcasting is full of them… and Kicks 101.5 has ALWAYS had an above average amount of them. (In fact… they still do). Carry a venom kit if you need to venture anywhere near the place.

Old Timer

October 25th, 2011
5:58 pm

Nothing will ever be better than Skinny Bobby Harper playing 19th Nervous Breakdown 19 times.

malleesmom

October 25th, 2011
6:50 pm

2008- leap year massacre at Eagle & Kicks.

"Chef" Tim Dix

October 25th, 2011
7:39 pm

The urban lengend DJ’s were Ross and Wilson.

Stu Klitenic

October 25th, 2011
9:03 pm

Chris Dimino and I getting fired while on the air at 680 was classic.

mirandalambert2012

October 25th, 2011
10:00 pm

Hey Rodney did you see that Dagmar Midcap got a job with a san Diego tv station.

jabster

October 25th, 2011
10:20 pm

The Ross & Wilson “Another One Bites The Dust” thing didn’t happen. Purely an urban legend. They disappeared b/c they had gotten a great deal on a NYC station, and were replaced on Z-93 by an unknown named Steve McCoy.

Beau Bock

October 25th, 2011
11:31 pm

The time Steak felated a horse while NIck Cellini held it still during Derby Week

Beau Bock

October 25th, 2011
11:32 pm

All kinds of stuff Nick Cellini did when he was still on meth

Beau Bock

October 25th, 2011
11:33 pm

When MItch Evans tried to call insick so he could take Randi to the Springsteen Concert

MattMD

October 26th, 2011
1:17 am

How about some dude from V103 opens a restaurant? Oh wait, is it still open?

MattMD

October 26th, 2011
1:18 am

Beau-

You crazy homer, get back in your cage. Georgia still sucks.

Lawrece Vill

October 26th, 2011
2:12 am

It did happen several times. It wasn’t intended as poor taste humour, but CHR radio (top 40) traditionally plays the number one song as close to the top of the hour as possible, usually coming after the news. The news of the day was the Wayne Williams saga ( a name interestingly enough chosen by R Kelly’s personal DJ) and the number one song in the summer of 1980 was Queen’s ‘Another One Bites The Dust’.Rest assured that the news and the song were separated by weather, traffic, and a spot or two ( commercials), but the song followed the news cast on several occasions. Also the news on the Ross and Wilson morning show was read by John Young, the Program Director and he was not one for poor taste and the music had been pre-programed ( though Ross and Wilson sometimes took liberties).

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Rob Ear

October 26th, 2011
8:14 am

Concerning event #9…Are you telling me that Jordan Graye is not also a made up name?? I laughed at that one for years. But that station has another one that is/was even more hilarious: Chandler Steele!! These bozos and their soap opera made-up names are a hoot.

And Kimmer looks like a first class peckerhead doesn’t he…

bonzo

October 26th, 2011
11:51 am

Good riddance, Kimmer…did a few anti-Semitic riffs one day, something about the “Jew school” in Sandy Springs and what would their mascot be? Sent a nice letter to the FCC, which seemed very interested in the indiscretion…he didn’t last that long afterwards…

Wink

October 26th, 2011
2:40 pm

Chandler Steele hasn’t been on B98 in years.

carla roqs

October 26th, 2011
3:04 pm

it was in 1981, spring. i was in a political science class, some nut was listening to the radio in the classroom, eye roll, and yes, the first song played after an update on the murdered and missing children mystery (only another nut would believe that wayne williams killed over 20 kids in the 70s and 80s ALL BY HIMSELF) “another one bites the dust” was played. very ugly.

Renee

October 26th, 2011
4:13 pm

Q100’s ultimate prank on Star 94 – Q100 stunt guy Mark Owens has used the name Phil Terrana. The Bert Show this morning revealed that Phil Terrana is Steve McCoy’s real name. I remember hearing this revelation one morning and thought it was brilliant. Whenever Mark/Phil made reservations at a restaurant, they expected to see Steve McCoy.

Demetrio

October 26th, 2011
11:26 pm

BDD, you clown, you went on the internet and accidentally found Ralph’s father’s obituary. You need to be cut off until 2018.

Demetrio

October 26th, 2011
11:28 pm

And bonzo, slap yourself on the back or whatever you can reach, give yourself credit for assassinating the Kimmer professionally.

Sheesh!

Barry Blakely

October 27th, 2011
1:09 am

I think Randy & Spiff entering the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame, right after being let go by 106.7 is a classic.

106.7, there’s a story. First, the best country station in Atlanta for over 20 years…but lost it as it couldn’t attract enough younger listeners. Then the switch to the True Oldies and things were GREAT…a little odd with a national show/station and Scott Shannon, but great music. Then it moved into its current Greatest Hits environment. At this point they must have hired the program director from 97.1 The River as every hour must have at the very least one Elton John, The Eagles and Billy Joel song. It seems like it’s more of a mix of 97.1, B98.5 and throw in a very few Oldies here and there…and lots of Pop as well…and it seems the result is a station that’s trying to be everything to most. Thank God I can stream Scott Shannon’s True Oldies at work.