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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Exclusive interview with Ryan Cameron after his first day as V-103 morning host

Sidekick Christopher "Crash" Clark, producer Daniele Hood and host Ryan Cameron after the first show today. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Sidekick Christopher "Crash" Clark, producer Daniele Hood and host Ryan Cameron after the first show today with a "Ryan King" crown. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Ryan Cameron may come across as jokey and fun on air, but he takes his job ultra seriously.

And he seriously wants to grow V-103’s already huge morning audience.

He opened his first official morning show on V103 on a low-key note. No inordinate bravado, no fan-fare or big celebrity buddies calling in (though his son Cayden did.) His most prominent in-studio guest was Atlanta’s own R&B singer Ciara, who joked with his team during the 9 a.m. hour.

“The show is about the city,” Cameron said after his first show had ended Wednesday as he relaxed in his communal office, still dressed sharply in a blue pin-striped suit and bow tie. “The intro we did with Future, he’s naming pretty much every major area of metro Atlanta. We will not be celebrity focused.”

Even with Ciara in studio, he purposely did not ask her about her latest projects. Rather, they talked about a party she performed at New Year’s for an unnamed, incredibly rich person in Azerbaijan and 600 of his closest friends.

“My goal is for the city to understand that we want to be as local as possible,” Cameron said. “We’re going to cover all the things [my syndicated rivals] can’t.”

When he came to V-103 in 2005 after nine years as the original morning host at Hot 107.9, his boss Rick Caffey gave him free rein to create a morning show in the afternoons. But he understands listeners have different expectations in the mornings. There are more advertisements. He has to include more news since people are waking up wanting to know what they’ve missed.

Despite his lighthearted on-air persona, he said he is well aware of the target demographics of his audience (25 to 54) and the fact he’s 47 himself and a father of three.

Clark, who is 46, said he was bemused that new afternoon host Big Tigger (who is a relative youth at age 40) had spent the night before at Reign partying with T.I., Ne-Yo and Young Jeezy. When he visited Cameron’s show this morning, Clark made fun of Tigger looking hung over.

“We would never had made that party,” said Cameron, who went to sleep at the same time as his kids: 9:30 p.m. the night before. But he was a bit anxious, waking up at 2:30 a.m.. By the time he arrived at the office, he was already prepared for what will be a daily 5:15 a.m. morning meeting to plan the show.

While polls on this blog have shown that Cameron is incredibly popular, he acknowledges the biggest complaint about him: that he’s too “silly.”

“I remember being called silly in eighth grade,” he said. “If it didn’t work in East Cobb Middle School, it ain’t going to work here.”

“My goal on the radio is not to get you sad and depressed when you get to work,” he added. “I want to be the dad my dad was for me. My kids enjoy me. I want to do a radio show that some people say is not the radio show they’re used to.”

“It’s about being young at heart,” Clark added.

And though Clark himself has had a rocky past when he was at 99X, he said he’s matured. “I have never worried about what he’s going to say,” Cameron said. “He can walk the line without having to walk down the hall.”

Cameron noted that he’s done very serious radio when the time calls for it, such as after traumatic news events such as the Rodney King beatings, 9/11 and more recently, the Newtown shootings. “My bosses at CBS corporate gave me the biggest compliment,” he said. “They said, ‘You’re a broadcaster, not just an on-air personality who can’t adapt to different situations.’ I take pride that I can talk about anything.”

His staff is still evolving. The only hold-over from the Frank and Wanda show is V103 news director Jean Ross, who compiles and read the news. Cameron added a writer, comic Ronnie Jordan, and will keep his new man-on-the-street comic character he’s dubbed Funny Boo Boo, who Clark dubs “a sweet, endearing, naive kid.”

Cameron also decided to give V-103’s Sunday morning gospel guru Larry Tinsley an expanded role doing a daily two-minute affirmations of faith at 6:45 a.m., comparable to his predecessor Frank Ski’s Inspirational Vitamin. “People want to start the day with some faith-based information,” Cameron said. “He is not going to do it as a preacher but more like a life coach.”

He said he plans to soon add a female voice and someone to do sports, perhaps coming from sister station, sports talk 92.9/The Game. (I wasn’t clear if that would be the same person though probably not.) Over the years, Cameron has helped develop several on-air personalities such as C.J. Simpson (now on mornings at The Game), Rashan Ali (now hosting mornings at Streetz 94.5, and Elle Duncan (now doing traffic at WXIA-TV).  He’d like to find another gem with minimal to no radio experience who possesses a great personality and great potential.

In general, he’d like a diverse “Benetton” show. “Even though we are a traditional urban station” targeting a primarily black audience, he said, “we want a show that can play for everybody.”

He plans to continue to do the Ryan Report, reading the entertainment news, though he says he does not harbor in rumors. If he could, he will try to confirm or deny rumors himself, given his extensive Rolodex.

“In eight years, we’ve only had to make one retraction,” he said: the Suchita Vadlamani departure from “Good Day Atlanta” in December, 2010.  (He said she had been fired when in fact, she left on her terms a couple weeks later.)

He was cautious about his future as the Hawks on-court announcer, which he has been able to do up to this point because of his afternoon job. His new schedule will make it more difficult. “My plan is to continue,” he said.

Cameron plans to keep his father-daughter dance in June as well as his annual celebrity bowling tournament on Thanksgiving to raise funds for his 10-year-old charity. But he is thinking of a new youth-oriented event in April instead of his college step show.

He is also well aware of his legacy as part of a pantheon of long-running morning hosts on V-103. His is only the sixth morning show on V-103 since the mid-1970s. He gave props to Frank and Wanda lasting 14 years. “I don’t think there will be another 14-year run for any show on the radio. Times have changed,” Cameron said. “I just hope to uphold the standard they set for this city, to remain in the top spot and be something everyone wants to listen to.”

And while Cameron made morning-show money (he wouldn’t say how much) while hosting an afternoon show, he acknowledges that radio has alwaqys given more cache to mornings even if the afternoon show draws the same number of listeners.

“The morning show is the spot,” Cameron said. “I’m just glad to be in the spot.”

Christopher "Crash" Clark with one of Willie Watkin's many fruit baskets he bestowed upon the team their first day on mornings on V-103. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com
Stand-up comic Ronnie Jordan signed on as a writer.

Stand-up comic Ronnie Jordan signed on as a writer.

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31 comments Add your comment

Eric Lowe

January 2nd, 2013
4:51 pm

Good luck, Ryan!

I’m interested to see what effect 94.5 has on the 18-30 Demographic! i swear, if I pull up aside any car in the city, I can attest that the young appear to really love that station.

I will be interesting to see the next Arbitron report.

stella

January 2nd, 2013
5:56 pm

@eric Lowe you must work at 94.5.

joseline1

January 2nd, 2013
6:45 pm

I think Ryan’s show could use another opening intro track, Luda is not a good fit no offense to Luda but his Intro Is Whack, maybe Ryan could use the help of, Clifford T.I. Harris, Young Jeezy, 2 Chainz, Kelly Price, Robin Thicke, or R. Kelly for your Opening Intro. Also instead of the College Step Show how about doing a Sports Challenge for the Young People with Athletes informing the kids about sports……I’m just saying….

Mr J

January 2nd, 2013
8:39 pm

Man…. I am so happy that I have XM Radio so I can avoid this crap.

Yvette Montgomery

January 2nd, 2013
9:04 pm

Ryan Cameron is a bit to immature for my taste. Maybe the show is just not geared toward women in a certain age group. His voice annoys me in the morning and music choice is not that great. joseline1 you are right that Luda Track is not a good look. Perhaps V-103 will take a look at the format, it just does not work. I’m willng to give it to the end of this week to see if Ryan can make me a loyal listener.

missnadine

January 2nd, 2013
9:45 pm

@eric lowe – wow, you could not be MORE obvious!

Nelson H

January 2nd, 2013
11:35 pm

Congrats Ryan on the new job.

Cameron’s focus, drive and understanding of the business he is in is absolutely incredible. It even comes through in an interview.

There’s no doubt he’ll be a success in the mornings, but the amazing thing is, even as successful as he already is in radio, he still seems to have the mindset that his show is in last place and he’s got to outwork everyone else.

Kudos to Cameron and the team. Best of luck.

Bloodbike

January 2nd, 2013
11:46 pm

Good look and good luck sir. I’ve been listening to you for years and I’m happy to see you finally get that spot in the morning with V-103 you have always wanted. I’m 42 and knowing that a fellow ATL resident is finally doing the morning show for V-103 is a good thing. Keep me laughing and I will be a fan forever big man…..,nice bow tie/suit combo on the pic. LOL.

Steaky Cha Cha

January 2nd, 2013
11:50 pm

I am the true KING cha cha. Just ask me.

waltbellamy

January 3rd, 2013
2:09 am

DREAM

January 3rd, 2013
8:31 am

Ryan you rock!!!!!!! I remeber back in the day when I was a West Ga University and you where doing college radio!!!! I am so proud of you keep growing, keep winning and stay grounded.

Rodney_Ho

January 3rd, 2013
8:40 am

I Luv this man,no wonder Ive been ‘hounding’ and reporting on him non-stop!!

Please keep the ‘popularity contest’ blog comments coming.

pebblebeach

January 3rd, 2013
9:18 am

I will confess that I am one of those folks who considered Ryan a bit too silly to wake up in the morning and listen to and was going to tune into another radio station for my morning listening pleasure.

Having now read the following…”But he understands listeners have different expectations in the mornings. There are more advertisements. He has to include more news since people are waking up wanting to know what they’ve missed.

Despite his lighthearted on-air persona, he said he is well aware of the target demographics of his audience (25 to 54) and the fact he’s 47 himself and a father of three.”

To that end, I will now give Ryan a chance and wish him all the best.

Meme

January 3rd, 2013
9:23 am

I didn’t like Frank personally (always bragging), but his show was decent. Ryan please begin your show with softer/slower music. Waking up to rap blasting at 6am is not good. Wake me up gently please, save the rap for after 7am. Also hurry and begin more serious discussions. In the morning you have educated/employed listeners, all that sillyness is not good. I’m gonna give Ryan 2wks before I change the station.

V103 = Feces

January 3rd, 2013
9:32 am

I am as HUGE a Ryan Cameron fan as there is, but I enjoy V-103 about as much as one of those lame, teleprompter-recited speeches by “The Great JiveTalker.”

My Man Ryan deserves better.

1st mate

January 3rd, 2013
9:40 am

I agree with meme, cut the hard core rap at 6am, its too early and the audience doesn’t want to hear it!!!!!! Start off with R&B, then after 7 or 8 take it to rap…. Hope you are reading Ryan, we want you to last!!!!

1baddman

January 3rd, 2013
10:49 am

For everybody who keep complaining about V-103 and other radio stations in Atlanta, get XM radio or I Heart radio they have everything you won’t hear the same songs all day.

Something Missing

January 3rd, 2013
11:28 am

I’ve been a Ryan fan for almost 10 years. I really enjoy him, Crash D and Baby U as a team. I must admit I’m not liking the intro. Somthing is not right/appealing about it. I also would like a mixture of music that includes R&B. I’m so tired of all the rap crap. The majority of it I can’t understand. I am hoping to hear better music selections now that ghetto Wanda and vain Frank is gone. Not all adults past 40 years old want to continually hear rap.

kevin

January 3rd, 2013
12:36 pm

Wow. Crash Clark in a suit. Did he have a court appearance later?

GaPeach

January 3rd, 2013
1:17 pm

I am so excited about Ryan now hosting the morning. Would also lkie to become one of the next gems that he is looking for. I feel with my humor and great personality I could bring alot to the team as well. Does anyone have any leads on how to go about in getting acknowledge for this?

Big Sister

January 4th, 2013
8:51 am

I personally don’t mind a little silliness in the morning; especially if it’s delivered by Ryan. I have enjoyed his radio presence for many years. I want to laugh a little while getting dressed and on my way to work. Just find the right balance between news, serious discussion, celebrity guests, and comedy. And please, please, please include a variety of R & B and not a whole lot of rap. There are too many artists, both old and new, who can offer a better music rotation than what is being played. Usher and TreySongz……NOT!!!!

Frank Ski

January 4th, 2013
9:14 am

I wanna come back home!

Frank Ski

January 4th, 2013
9:15 am

I better get back to my honey-do list, sigh…..

Frank Ski

January 4th, 2013
9:18 am

I’m hongry!

Atlanta Listener

January 4th, 2013
7:37 pm

Ryan has made great contributions to this city. However, I think he time has come and gone. Listen to his show and the majority of his breaks are just ramblings about his personal life and “inside” jokes with names of people majority of listeners don’t even know. He’s not funny, he’s corny and listening to him now is borderline embarrassing considering his time in Morning Drive has a great chance of being the legacy he leaves as an on-air broadcaster is Atlanta. Hopefully he’ll step things up and make some adjustments. So far, his show is not up to par with what many people expected. I’ll always respect Ryan for his knowledge, expertise and giving spirit, he is an Atlanta legend…something is just not right about his morning show…

Cameron fan for life!

January 5th, 2013
12:22 am

Congrats to you Ryan! I’m so glad you are back on in the am! I’ve been a fan since you were on V103 back in the day, then I followed you to 107.9 and back to V103. I have heard and watched you grow through the years and have done the same myself; and you are a living example of what can happen when you work hard, have fun and have patience……things will work out for you in the end! So happy for you!

Ellen1

January 5th, 2013
3:23 am

Ryan performs better with a co-host . So I hope he finds a compatible one soon.

Just e

January 5th, 2013
6:21 am

I was a big fan of Ryan and Crash in the afternoon. With that being said, Ryan morning listeners do not want the corney on the drive in to work and some of the sexual/drug references please chill on it. I hope you read the blogs and try to figure out what’s not working. I’m giving you a month of my loyalty and then I’m running for the hills! Corney+rap+inthemornings=107.9 ratings! Love you tho Ryan!

Drea

January 5th, 2013
12:08 pm

I am a huge Ryan Cameron fan, but I agree with many of the comments here that his morning show needs a little bit of tweaking. I don’t particularly care for Larry Tinsley’s addition to the show – Frank’s inspirational vitamin was much better. I also don’t want to hear so much rap on my way to work at 6am in the morning, this is one of the reasons I was not a fan of 107.9. Give us some wordly news, entertainment reports, R&B, inspirational words, and then sprinkle in a little of the rap. I would love to hear some Joe, Donell Jones, Eddie Levert every now and again!! Love ya much Ryan and want to see you continue to be the best!

Drea

January 5th, 2013
12:13 pm

I’m sorry…I meant to say Gerald Levert (not Eddie Levert) but a little old school O’Jays wouldn’t be so bad either! Did I say I love me some Joe?? Where are you Joe??? Ryan, please please add Joe to your playlist daily…that boy can SANG!!

Sikadis

January 9th, 2013
10:01 am

Let me first say that, I truly wish Ryan the best. I’ve been a listner for the past five years, therefore a Frank and Wanda Loyalist. However, when I came to Atlanta, I didn’t know anyone or which staion to listen to. When I heard the Frank and Wanda morning show, it was a perfect mixture of silliness, wit and knowledge. The Frank and Wanda morning show allowed listners to be well informed by Frank and made to laugh by Wanda. I read in one of the comments that Frank bragged a lot, I’m sorry but I just didn’t get that. I heard him speak of his experiences and accomplishments, such is life, we all do. If I’m not mistaking, when Ryan Cameron left the other station, there was a huge publicized money issue and when he showed up for his first day in the afternoons at V-103, he did it in a helicopter….is that not bragging? My true concern here is that the people of Atlanta are without a true means of information, how could we have gotten trough the elections with Ryan’s silliness alone? How could we have ever made it to work in the morning with just Frank in his sometimes to serious approach? You see, it was a balance; and for all of you saying give him time, he’s still looking for a female co-host. I say don’t hold your breath, he’s not looking for intelligence in a woman(no reflection on past co-host), he wants someone to make a fool of, someone to joke on and belittle them. I used to cringe in the afternoons to hear him talk to Elle the way he did. It was insulting and all women that didn’t take offense to it, should really check themselves. If you can stand it, keep listening and you’ll hear exactly what I mean. CBS needs a back up plan or just prepare to accept 4th place ratings behind Rickey Smiley, Steve Harvey and Q100 (in no particular order). Unless there is a drastic change, V-103 in the morning will never be number 1 again. If the bosses read his statement they should see the problem, Atlanta is too much of a melting pott to just be local. There arepeople from all over the country and the world that come to Atlanta and Frank was able to make that connection to all people as a radio host should. Good Luck CBS..
I have no affiliation to any party mentioned…this is just my opinion.
Sikadis