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Frank Ski and Wanda Smith leaving V-103; Ryan Cameron takes over in January

Ryan Cameron is moving to mornings in January, 2013. CREDIT: V-103

Ryan Cameron is moving to mornings in January, 2013. CREDIT: V-103

Will you miss Frank & Wanda?

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As anticipated, Frank Ski announced Thursday morning that he is leaving R&B/hip-hop station V-103 after 14 years. As a result, an hour later, his on-air partner Wanda Smith said she is out as well.

Atlanta native and long-time afternoon host Ryan Cameron will take over mornings in January. Big Tigger, a former BET “106 & Park” host last heard on the radio in D.C., will take over afternoons.

[UPDATE 10/7/13: Frank Ski began an afternoon gig at Washington D.C's WHUR-FM in September, 2013. More details here.]

“We will definitely miss waking up every morning and coming into this studio and doing what we do every day,  but we know God has other plans and other things He wants us to do,” Ski said on air. Later, he added, “I want to expand and grow.”

He said their final day will be Thursday, Dec. 20.

Ski also said he doesn’t plan to leave Atlanta (though his Dunwoody home is now for sale for $2.2 million). He promised he will be heard again on the radio but wasn’t specific. Most personalities have a six-month “non-compete” which will keep him off the air during that time period.

Rick Caffey, market manager for V-103 since 1994, said Ski wanted a syndication deal to expand his footprint beyond Atlanta but the two sides couldn’t come to agreement. “We want to stay local,” he said. At the same time, he gave kudos for Ski and Smith for their “outstanding service.”

Frank Ski is leaving V-103 Friday, Dec. 21. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Frank Ski is leaving V-103 Thursday, Dec. 20. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Ski , 48, read a formal statement on air just past 7 a.m. today. He noted how he moved to the city with his wife Tanya from Baltimore in 1998. He said Atlanta has participated with him in his biggest personal moments, including the births of his three children. He mentioned his weekend DJ club gigs, becoming friends with some of Atlanta’s biggest politicians, including the late Maynard Jackson and the current mayor Kasim Reed.  He recalled how he was the last person to interview Coretta Scott King, how he met Pres. Barack Obama before he became president, how he got to interview convicted child killer Wayne Williams. He mentioned all the travel he did all around the world and forming his Frank Ski Kids Foundation. He referenced 9′/11, Hurricane Katrina and Jena 6. He also noted his new restaurant he opened last year.

“This is not a good-bye, Atlanta, but instead to be continued… very soon,” he said.

Ski’s show with partner Smith was No. 1 for virtually the entire time he’s been on air here over his entire run at V-103, typically drawing one million listeners a week.

In a poll on my blog speculating on the change yesterday, about 56 percent guessed correctly that Ski was leaving.

The No. 1 station in the market will replace him with afternoon host Cameron, a move many have been anticipating for years. The minute he returned to V-103 in 2004, the speculation began. Cameron, nicknamed the “Ryan King,” is insanely popular in this town. He gets a fare higher percentage of positive comments on this blog than Ski. Three years ago during Ski’s last negotiations, I had posted a poll asking folks what they thought of Cameron moving to mornings. A vast majority were supportive of that move, but V-103 chose to keep Ski at the time.

Cameron returned to V-103 as afternoon host more than eight years ago after a long stint as morning host on rival Hot 107.9 (originally Hot 97.5). He was paid morning host money to be the afternoon guy, a luxury V-103 could afford. He was able to live normal working hours compared to morning hosts as well.

But alas, the time has come and Cameron’s move will occur the first week of January. Cameron’s new show, Caffey said, will include Chris “Crash” Clark and a third person who has yet to be hired. (That’s fueling rumors that Elle Duncan, now a traffic reporter for 11 Alive, might come back.)

Bottom line: Ski couldn’t come to an agreement with CBS Radio for a new contract. I’m not sure if he was asking for too much or if CBS gave him such an insultingly low offer, he couldn’t stomach it and was willing to walk. He has been under a temporary contract the past couple of months as the two sides negotiated.

How do you feel about Ryan moving to mornings!

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Cameron signed a new deal earlier this year.

Smith tearfully gave her goodbye during the 8 a.m. hour. She clearly didn’t want to leave but she was collateral damage in a sense. She recalled how she was performing at Club Echelon in 2007 before 1,000 people. Then V-103 Program Director Tony Brown saw her stand-up comedy and impressed, he brought her on the Mike & Carol Show in 1997. A year later, when V-103 dropped Mike Roberts and Carol Blackmon for Ski, they kept Smith. The show was originally called the Frank Ski Show but eventually, she earned the dual Frank and Wanda Morning Show moniker.

A Florida native, Smith said she has adopted Atlanta as her home. “It’s been fun. It’s been overwhelming… Atlanta has been good to me,” she said.

At 8:55 a.m., comic, game show host and talk show host Steve Harvey (who is heard on rvial station Majic 107.5/97.5 locally) called in and lamented Ski’s departure, saying CBS got it wrong.”You’re a classy guy,” he said. “People made a mistake… Thank you for all the years of service to Atlanta.”

Ski said he has no ill will toward his bosses. “We did everything we could” during negotiations, he said. “I just thought there was so much more I could do.”

Fellow syndicated morning rival Rickey Smiley (heard locally on Hot 107.9) called in at 9:09 a.m., thanking Ski and Smith for putting Smiley on the map when he was an up-and-coming stand-up comic. “I’m looking forward to having you make appearances on my sitcom,” Smiley said. “You put a lot of comics on the map. And your restaurant is the nicest in the country. You are my family. We’re all just friends. Congratulations and God bless you.”

Smith then joked, wondering if Michael Baisden (heard locally on rival Majic in the afternoons) will call in. Indeed, at 9:34 a.m., Baisden did. “What the hell is going on? My Twitter is blowing up, dude!” he said. “To me as a friend, you’ve always been very supportive of me. You were genuinely happy for me… You’ve given so much to the community.”

Mayor Reed called in at 9:18 a.m.: “This is a victory lap… Frank and Wanda will continue to be part of the city. They’ve been the voice of Atlanta.”

Here is Ski’s statement in full:

Dear Atlanta:
Fourteen years ago, V-103 General Manager Rick Caffey and I set out to create a morning show that was
informative, entertaining and inspirational — and year after year, you’ve blessed us with #1 ratings in
every age category.
I’m beyond blessed to get paid to do what I love most, to be on the radio with more than a million
listeners every week. I have enjoyed waking you up every morning, deejaying the hottest parties every
week and whether it be in the streets, the grocery store, your school, a football game or in places of
worship, I have truly enjoyed getting to know you and your family.
When I moved here in 1998, I was newly married and hadn’t even started my family. Major milestones
and defining moments have happened while on the airwaves of V-103. My children were born here in
Atlanta, and you shared in that joy — all three times. Tanya & I started the Frank Ski Kids Foundation a
decade ago, and because you supported our annual Kids Week, Youth Bowl and Wine Tastings, you made
it possible for us to expose hundreds of kids to their future, and ultimately, realize their dreams.
I’ve grown personally from interviewing those who have made Atlanta the great city it is, and I’ve
flourished from genuine relationships with people like Maynard Jackson, Andy Young, Bill Campbell,
Bernice King, Shirley Franklin and my good friend, Kasim Reed, whose individual legacies will live
forever.
Atlanta, you’ve allowed me to bring so many important triumphs and tragedies to life. To be blessed with
the last interview with Ms. Coretta Scott King, challenged by the jail interview with convicted murderer
Wayne Williams, and completely honored to interview the young Senator from Chicago, President Barack
Obama. The list goes on — from the iconic and unforgettable Whitney Houston to the incomparable living
legend, Mr. Stevie Wonder, you’ve witnessed and experienced countless defining moments with me.
You encouraged me when I flew to New York hours after 9-11, when I drove to Louisiana for the Jena 6
story and even when we pulled our entire city together to raise hundreds and thousands of dollars for
Hurricane Katrina victims. You’ve been there when I suffered a loss, and when the hard work allowed me
to try things I never could have dreamed for myself.
We’ve traveled around the world together… to Asia, Africa, South America and beyond, and have returned
home with deeper connections to each other and our communities. You celebrated with me in 2011 when
my dream to open a restaurant became a reality. I thank you for all of those shared times — the laughter,
the tears and the victories.
And with that, Atlanta, I have decided to end my tenure with V-103
My decision to leave my V-103 family has been one of the most important and most spiritual decisions of
my life. For years, I’ve delivered the Inspirational Vitamin and have told you to live by faith, not fear, and
to believe in the power of God’s plan for your life.
I’ve encouraged you to ‘Let Go and Let God’ — and now it’s time for me to do the same.
It’s time for me to walk in faith — but chase my passions and spiritual purpose to expand my brand &
grow. It’s time for me to explore other opportunities that will allow me to serve more people on a greater
level.
Thank you to General Manager, Rick Caffey, for believing in my talent, and allowing me to be the leader
of a radio station that truly believes in service & community. Thank you to my cohost, Wanda Smith, for
trusting in my abilities to lead the Morning Show on a successful 14 year journey. Thank you to the entire
V-103 family — on-air and behind the scenes — your efforts, enthusiasm, hard work & support will always
be appreciated.
And thank you to YOU, Atlanta, for allowing me to be a part of your family, and unselfishly being a part
of mine. As the story continues, you will hear me again on radio & I will not leave the city I call home.
As one beautiful chapter ends and another begins, I will take the memories we’ve created and never forget
how the story began. I look forward to sharing the next chapter with you, and creating even more
unforgettable memories.
This is not a good-bye, Atlanta, but instead — to be continued… very soon.

Twice this morning, Ski played an inspirational talk by Pastor Craig Oliver called “Breaking the Holding Pattern.” You can watch it here.

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter. Oh, and Google +, too!

391 comments Add your comment

MzNewy

December 13th, 2012
7:27 am

Yep that was my guess yesterday and my speculation for months since Ryan has been “Looking for a co-host” for the afternoon. I always suspected he was looking for his replacement since he was subbing alot on the Frank Ski show.

Spiritual Vitamins

December 13th, 2012
7:34 am

I love Ryan Cameron, but he is no match for THE KIMMER !!!!

Now more than ever, ATL needs THE KIMMER on its airwaves.

Spiritual Vitamins

December 13th, 2012
7:38 am

Afternoon Drive-Time won’t be the same without Ryan.

I still remember listening to him back in the early ’90s, singing “It’s Yo’ Birfday!” along with him each evening.

Eyes Got a Cake, wiv My Name on It, and Some Candlez…

Ah, Good Times.

Getting Boring

December 13th, 2012
7:42 am

Glad he’s leaving & hope he takes Wanda with him. Atlanta has too many Rap staions, we need some jazz & old skool stations. I hardly ever listen to the radio & when I do its the news radio or I need to hear the traffic. I can’t wait to get my next vehicle & satellite radio.

Ms. Sophie

December 13th, 2012
7:47 am

So happy that that name-dropping, closet-case is leaving. He was too old for that gig. It’s time for his ghetto sidekick to head back to the Miami hood.

William

December 13th, 2012
7:47 am

Oh No!
How’m I gonna get my freak on listnin to dem songs about the bee-atches and da hoes

Andy

December 13th, 2012
7:48 am

The morons at the AJC actually thought this was ‘breaking news’ and sent out a text message? Are you kidding me?

Smoochies814

December 13th, 2012
7:49 am

Im so glad that Frank & Wanda are done….. CANT STAND THEM!!! I love Rickey Smiley morning show… Full of laughs, very informative about news and politics…. Something we need these days…

Tim

December 13th, 2012
7:50 am

How and Why is this Breaking News?? Really.. with all that’s wrong with this city and country, this is breaking news. C’mon AJC… Get with the program. quitting feeding people’s indulgence

dick whiskey

December 13th, 2012
7:55 am

this is big news? i’m white and obviously i don’t give a damn

Nonia

December 13th, 2012
7:57 am

THANK YOU JESUS, HALELUJAH, THANK YOU LORD, THANK YOU FOR YOUR GRACE AND MERCY LORD, THANK YOU JESUS HALELUJAH!!!!!!
WONDERFUL SAVIOUR!!!!

delphi

December 13th, 2012
7:57 am

Good riddance, Frank and hopefully Wanda! I have long stopped listening to them after Mike/Carol. Wanda is ghetto and Frank is too opionated. I can’t stand the mix. But what disturbs me the most is this: Inspirational Vitamin and booty music afterwards. Really??? ATL can do better than these two cats. I never listen to V103-no variety of music whatsoever. If you’re not 2 Chainz or singing about dropping it low-you will get no airtime on this station. Good BYE!!!!

Allison Wonderland

December 13th, 2012
7:58 am

More reason why I love my Sirius radio!!!

bwell

December 13th, 2012
7:58 am

Nice piece RH,

You will be missed F Ski, I sometime listen online from Afghanistan. I understand……May God continue to bless you and your family and your future endeavors…… You have inspired many to chase their dreams……. So may you REACH your goals with God. Thanks again for the memories. Keep on keeping on…..lol bye Bruh.

What?

December 13th, 2012
7:59 am

@dick whiskey

I’m black and I don’t care either. Get over yourself and don’t turn this into a racial issue.

Alvin

December 13th, 2012
8:00 am

BREAKING NEWS…really?…facepalm.

RiRi

December 13th, 2012
8:00 am

All I need to hear next is Wandas leaving too, Ryans coming to mornings and I’ll start listening again.

Goodbye Wanda

December 13th, 2012
8:00 am

Bye bye Wanda! Glad to see you go…there’s gotta be someone else looking for a non-talented person such as yourself. bye bye now!!!

steveL

December 13th, 2012
8:00 am

Thanks Frank and Wanda!!! Its time for Ryan King to do his thing!!!

Kevin

December 13th, 2012
8:01 am

THANK YOU GOD FOR THE EARLY XMAS PRESENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

Kevin

December 13th, 2012
8:02 am

THANK YOU GOD FOR THE EARLY XMAS PRESENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RiRi

December 13th, 2012
8:02 am

@Spiritual Vitamins: Very true, and dont forget the Friday song.

FRANK SKI V103 EXIT IS BREAKING NEWS

December 13th, 2012
8:03 am

It is breaking news that Frank Ski is leaving V-103. Just like you remember where you were during 9/11, what song was playing on the radio when you got your first kiss, what was said during hot topics, when the city and nation have been faced with major decisions, when you needed parenting advice on a subject you hadn’t thought about or dare mention, Frank and Wanda in the morning was there 5 days a week for 14 years. And beyond the regular morning drive, they are staples in my community with thier service seven days a week. So yes, Frank Ski leaving V103 is breaking news.

Shon I

December 13th, 2012
8:03 am

I am sooooooooo so so glad that he is out… Thank you Jesus.. hubby and I have been saying as of late that we wish his phony tail would leave.. he’s lame, out of touch, pretensious, and just not cool…
I was born and raised in Atlanta, and remember when Ryan had that morning spot on 97.5.. Everyone was so sad to see him go… This is an awesome move

stottsera

December 13th, 2012
8:05 am

breaking news!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jammaster2000

December 13th, 2012
8:05 am

Wow! Successful DJ announces his departure and the haters (and losers) whine and make ignorant and bigoted comments.

Just remember, “No one ever built a statue to honor a critic”.

Christie

December 13th, 2012
8:06 am

I am glad he is off the radio but I do not like to hear Ryan Cameron either. Rickey Smiley is the better choice for morning radio in Atlanta!!

1st mate

December 13th, 2012
8:07 am

it was time, bring back Mike and Carol in the morning

Veronica

December 13th, 2012
8:08 am

You’re glad Frank and Wanda are done but you like Rickey Smiley??? GTFOHWTBS Smoochies. #haveseveralseats It’s all garbage, Smiley especially.

WTH?

December 13th, 2012
8:08 am

This is front page news because? Who gives a rip?

blkshepherd

December 13th, 2012
8:08 am

As the southern folk say; “I reckon, I will go back to listening to 103, but Not if Wanda is still there. If Heckle is leaving Jeckle should not be far behind. Maybe some class, instead of embarrassment will air over the airwaves.

Mystic56

December 13th, 2012
8:09 am

I really don’t keep up with this radio personality stuff…just heard the news and my feelings are as
my dad would say when I was a kid talking about entertainers “are they paying any of your bills get
an education, that’s more important!!”
I wish them the best (Frank & Wanda) but I have no emotional ties! I stopped listening years ago.
The show and DJ’s did make great community contributions. On the flip side however, I did take
issue with some of the classless music, topics of conversations, guest etc.

Angielove

December 13th, 2012
8:10 am

Frankski done! Rickey Smiley hello!!!!

blkshepherd

December 13th, 2012
8:10 am

@WTH

Apparently YOU give a rip..or you would Not have commended. People who Dont care, Dont comment.

Kiki LaBlinak

December 13th, 2012
8:10 am

Good bye, good riddance at take that tacking ass restaurant with you and the loud ass Wanda Smith………..

Emsa

December 13th, 2012
8:10 am

GOOD Bye and GOOD Riddance !

Southern

December 13th, 2012
8:10 am

Frank, please learn how to conjugate the verb ‘to see’. “I seen” is incorrect as seen always takes a participle as in “I have seen”. I have been listening to your incorrect for grammar for years and this error is particulary grating.

Happy Camper

December 13th, 2012
8:10 am

Good grief what a bunch of pills some of you complaining wretches are. I realize the internet has given the big mouthed, arrogant whiners of this world a venue to spread their bile while seated behind the relative safety of their computer monitors, but some of you fools need to step back once in a while and take stock of yourselves. I know misery loves company (and God knows some of you sound about like miserable creatures indeed), but trying to spread your personal misery to people you don’t even know is sick, if not scary.

FINALLY!!!!!

December 13th, 2012
8:11 am

@Delphi…WELL SAID!!!!

RiRi

December 13th, 2012
8:11 am

I thought we retired the word “hater”? Everything isnt about being a “hater”….smh

urban redneck

December 13th, 2012
8:11 am

this is the worst thing to happen to atlanta since sherman came through.

blkshepherd

December 13th, 2012
8:12 am

Correction should read COMMENTED not COMMENDED. it was a typo for you Spell Police before you come at me and I have to mow you down.

Big Man

December 13th, 2012
8:13 am

They are being push out the door

Tcunningham

December 13th, 2012
8:14 am

Who cares? 101.5 baby

Wow....

December 13th, 2012
8:14 am

@Happy Camper

No offense, but your whining “about the whiners” sounds just as whiny. Although I agree with the bulk of your comment, I found it necessary to point out the obvious oxymoron.

VictoriousOne

December 13th, 2012
8:17 am

Some folks just love to hate, regardless of the topic or the situation. Even if you were not a fan of Frank and Wanda, what did they ever do to you to deserve such Haterade? It was a radio show – Hello! – and it was entertainment that served its purpose for those it appealed to. Some of you need to get lives, and begin to figure out what you want to be when you grow up, cuz you are not going to be able to feed your family by being a hater. Frank and company do a LOT of good out in the community, undoubtedly more than you haters are doing. Give it a rest….

Shundra

December 13th, 2012
8:17 am

Best of luck and much sucess Frank!

Miss A

December 13th, 2012
8:18 am

Frank will be missed, but I look forward to Ryan King in the mornings! I wonder who will be with him? I’ve been listening to Wanda for the last 20 minutes crying and slobbering on the radio and she STILL hadn’t said what she’s going to do!! LOL! Was this her decision or is she being let go because Frank is leaving?

E-Bo

December 13th, 2012
8:20 am

Ryan and Crash D wooo hoooo

pebblebeach

December 13th, 2012
8:22 am

I am sorry but Ryan C is way too silly to wake up to in the morning….