Kelly McCoy, who has manned the mic at pop-rock station B98.5 for 27 years in the afternoons, is leaving Friday.
“I’m a very blessed man,” said McCoy, 59. “I have no complaints. I have no regrets. It’s been a great place to work. They treated me fairly.”
McCoy’s warm voice and upbeat personality on air has been truly a constant on the station, even as it has transitioned over the years from a softer rock format with plenty of Rod Stewart, Elton John and Phil Collins to a more current-based mix featuring Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and Lady Gaga.
McCoy, heard from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays as well as voice-tracked on weekends, began his Atlanta radio career in 1978 at 790/WQXI-AM (”Quixie in Dixie”), which was the flame-throwing top 40 station of its day. He segued over to what was then called WSB 99 FM in early 1985.
One song McCoy said he thinks he’s played regularly since that day? Wham’s “Careless Whisper.” “Can’t say I’m not tired of that one,” he said.
When asked by people how he’s survived this long, McCoy said he gives a simple, lighthearted answer: “I do what I’m told.”
Tom Taylor, who runs radio news site radio-info.com, said this type of longevity is a combination of skill and luck. It’s rare for anyone to last 20 years in the same time slot at the same station, much less 27. Factors, he said, that helped McCoy: stable ownership in Cox and reliable pop radio format targeting soccer moms.
“He’s had consistently good ratings,” said B98.5 program director Lee Cagle, “and a consistently great name in the market.”
Cagle said he had known for awhile so he had time to find a replacement, who will be announced on Friday. He said it’s someone who is from out of town and not known in the Atlanta market.
Update on Friday April 27: Cagle said McCoy’s replacement is Mike Shannon from Louisville.
McCoy, not to be mistaken for B98.5 morning host Kelly Stevens, said he and his wife Cary will spend a month at his beloved beach home in St. Simons Island before moving forward. “I plan to retire from radio right now,” he said. “The possibilities are endless in the online world. I have some entrepreneurial ideas up my sleeve.”
In other B98.5 news, Cagle said the station is experimenting by dropping its long-running specialty weekends featuring either all 1980s music or a mix of 1980s and 1990s the past two weeks. Instead, the station is playing its regular rotation on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s too early, he said, to judge if ratings are being impacted, good or bad. “I’ve received some complaints,” he said. “But not a lot.”
Oddly, McCoy started a blog on the radio station’s site just a month ago here.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk