V-103’s Frank Ski this morning was touting the “biggest announcement of my life” tomorrow morning on the radio station.
This could mean several different things. Like the big Bert Show announcement earlier this month when Jenn Hobby said she was leaving and later, going to Kicks 101.5 as a mid-day host, I have no direct knowledge of what Ski has up his sleeve. I can only surmise based on his current situation.
Ski has been part of the longest-running local music morning show in Atlanta on the same station: 14 years with Wanda Smith. He’s outlasted Steve & Vikki and Randy & Spiff. He’s been on longer than Kevin & Taylor and the Bert Show. He works hard. He takes his craft seriously. He can do silly stuff. He can tackle the hard issues. He has a fair share of critics, who complain that he’s an arrogant name dropper, but he brings in the listeners year in, year out.
Here are possible scenarios:
- Ski has a huge new party to announce, a charity event to push, a concert to hype. Realistically, this probably wouldn’t be so big that he’d need to promote it ahead of time. That is something he would just announce.
- Ski has signed a new contract. He’s been without a long-term contract since September and has been negotiating for a new one throughout the fall, even necessitating a meeting with the CBS honchos up in New York. He and Smith have been regularly No. 1 for most of the 14 years the show has been on the air in all key age groups. Why not keep him around for another go? Sure, he gets well compensated, well into the six figures, but he generates even more for V-103 in ad revenue. Ski himself has been silent on the contract issue since I wrote about it in mid-October and his attorney Mark Trigg has declined to comment. The problem with this scenario is it would be considered business as usual. Why would he need to announce it?
- Ski is going to be syndicated. With Tom Joyner, Rickey Smiley and Steve Harvey as his primary competitors, he sure would love have 20 to 80 stations in his pocket nationwide. It’s lucrative and ego gratifying for sure. Ski has had limited forays into syndication in the past, including his former home in Baltimore, but nothing has stuck. The problem with this possible outcome: CBS, which owns V-103, has very few urban stations that would be able to put on Ski immediately and most other urban stations are already tied up with Joyner, Smiley or Harvey. It’s truly a game of “Survivor” in the radio world nowadays on that front. So while this would be big news for Ski, it’s probably not that likely.
And now the most talked-about scenario in Atlanta radio circles:
- Ski will tell the V-103 audience that he is leaving, that he couldn’t come to terms with the station over his next contract. This is plausible. Most radio companies simply get rid of personalities and don’t let them say goodbye on air. (Clear Channel Atlanta, for instance, usually takes this route.) Rick Caffey, who runs CBS Radio Atlanta, does things differently. He, for instance, let every jock at Dave FM wish the world adieu in September before the station went all sports. While sad, it was very classy and respectful. Ski has helped fill V-103’s coffers by the tens of millions of dollars over 14 years. The least Caffey and program director Reggie Rouse could do is give Ski a chance to wish Atlanta farewell given all that he’s done for the city.
Now why would CBS want to get rid of him? Perhaps Ski is asking for too much money and/or a syndication deal CBS can’t or won’t fulfill. Or on the flip side, CBS may want him to take a pay cut that he couldn’t accept. I don’t know.
UPDATE: Coincidence? His house is up for sale for $2.2 million. Many people know where it is in Dunwoody because he used to host his annual wine auction party there. Build in 1992, it’s a European style “custom estate,” as noted in the advertisement, with eight bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and 12,032 square feet on 1.37 acres. Amenities include two-story foyer and room overlooking private wooded lot, master-on-main, theatre, second kitchen on terrace level, heated pool & spa and 3-car garage. Outdoor spaces include oversized deck, screened loggia, gazebo, playground & outdoor stage.The descriptive also includes this line: “Surrounded by estates owned by athletes & celebrities.” Sotheby’s is the real estate broker.
This type of downsizing could be in anticipation of a new career with much less income to pay for such an expensive mortgage. He has had success, from all accounts, with his year-old Frank Ski’s Restaurant & Lounge.
If Ski is indeed out, this leads to more questions:
- Will Wanda Smith, his long-time on-air partner, stay? She’s under a separate contract. I presume she’d stay and team with whoever else joins her.
- Will Ryan Cameron move to mornings? Cameron, who signed with V-103 for a new contract earlier this year and isn’t going anywhere, gets paid morning money to host an afternoon show. From a lifestyle standpoint, Cameron can wake up at a normal hour and live a good life now. He’d probably do mornings if he were asked and he has subbed in for Ski in the past when Ski goes on vacation. As a hometown man, he’s very popular in Atlanta. I get very few complaints about him compared to Ski on this blog.
- With money freed up, V-103 could hire Big Tigger, a former “106 & Park” host and last heard on WPGC-FM in Washington D.C. to do mornings with Smith. Or he could do afternoons if Cameron takes mornings. He has subbed for Cameron in the past and at age 39, he’s nine years younger than Ski.
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