Kidd Chris, who was just starting to make headway in Atlanta on rock station Project 9-6-1 when Clear Channel pulled the plug last month, has found a new gig at WEBN-FM in Cincinnati as the morning host.
Management hired him last year to give Project a morning adrenaline boost with a show styled after an early Howard Stern. Like most new morning shows, Kidd Chris started a bit slow but began developing a fan base among younger male listeners. And ironically, in his final full month of August, he had his best month ever.
Based on my experience here in Atlanta, it often takes new shows at least 18 months to start building a sizable audience. That was the case with the Bert Show a decade ago. Kidd Chris lasted 15 months.
Instead, Project has become a top 40 station called Power in a world where pop is king and rock is not. But Clear Channel didn’t want to give up on Kidd Chris, who is still under contract with the company. The jock considered other offers but decided to move up to Ohio with his Project boss Chris Williams, who is now operations manager for Clear Channel Cincinnati. Williams – who hosted afternoons on Project – is now program director of WEBN and a new rock station called the Project (sort of like the one in Atlanta.) WEBN, which began as a rock station way back in 1967, has remained a heritage rock station in Cincy, similar to 96rock in its golden years.
Williams, who is also the active rock coordinator for the entire Clear Channel chain, said in an interview today that WEBN has always had a rebel nature to it, and he felt Kidd Chris would fit right in.
A University of Georgia graduate, Williams was program director of 99X from 2001 to 2004, where he clashed with Leslie Fram over whether to take the station younger and harder or stick with their 1990s audience. Instead, he moved over to Clear Channel, where he created active rock station 105.3/the Buzz around 2005, then Project in 2006. Project was a top 5 station among 18 to 34 year olds for much of its life and did well for Clear Channel. But it was a strong signal and Clear Channel wants a station with a bigger audience on a 100,000-watt signal.
Williams admits that he still feels “bruised” by the death of Project so he’s rooting for Power to do well because it would hurt more to know Clear Channel killed a successful station and replaced it with one that couldn’t match its success.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk