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Ryan Cameron debuts his V-103 morning show Jan. 2 and flashback! Read my Cameron profile from 2004

Ryan CameronRyan Cameron rolled out his new V-103 morning show with Chris “Crash” Clark today with a new theme song from his former intern Ludacris and a new feature: a daily affirmation from V-103’s veteran Sunday morning host Larry Tinsley.

This was a moment that many Cameron fans have been waiting for since 2005, when he joined V-103 a second time as the afternoon host.

For the past seven-plus years, Frank Ski and Wanda Smith held fort with strong ratings in the mornings. V-103 was able to keep Cameron on in afternoons, enabling him to keep normal hours while pulling in a morning-show salary.

When V-103 was unable to come up with an agreement with Ski (who wanted syndication), he left Dec. 20. Cameron, who has subbed in for Ski over the years, was the natural successor.

He will be hiring a third person for the show who will likely handle entertainment news. For now, he presides over the pop culture news on the Ryan Report. And he has a “man on the street” person dubbed Funny Boo Boo, who was mocked this morning for his “leather-esque” pants.

His first call was from Cayden, his son. At 7:40 a.m., he took a jokey call from Miss Sophia, the former sidekick on Frank and Wanda’s show, who repeated her “girl talk” line.

“I know that was an audition,” Cameron said. “We don’t need no more hot dogs! We have enough hot dogs!”

Local R&B singer Ciara popped in for the 9 a.m. hour.

Big Tigger takes over Cameron’s old slot on V-103 at 2 p.m. today.

I felt this was a good time to back in time. Here’s the profile I wrote about Cameron in December, 2004, when he had just left Hot 107.9 and before he re-joined V-103:

Hot 107.9 morning host Ryan Cameron recently gave his audience insight into his life philosophy via a 24-year-old anecdote.At age 15, he started as the weed puller at Taco Town on Cobb Parkway but soon became “king of the drive-through, ” he said.

When his boss asked him later to pull weeds again, Cameron refused — and quit. “I thought I was disrespected, ” he said, “made to go backwards.”

To this day, the 39-year-old Atlanta native has always strived to go forward. And that focus has paid off at Hot 107.9, where he’s become king of morning radio among 18- to 34-year-olds, where his ratings are up 30 percent since 2002.

Despite being on an inferior radio signal, Cameron is now competitive with Frank Ski on longtime urban station V-103. Few people thought this was possible eight years ago when he launched his show.

“I’m able to laugh in the face of those even in our own building who said it couldn’t be done, ” Cameron said.

With an average of about 217,000 listeners weekly, he’s in a strong position to negotiate a boost to his $500,000 annual salary. His three-year contract expires Dec. 31. But he hasn’t been able to close a new deal with Hot 107.9.

As a negotiating tactic, the radio station even took away his access card to its studios last week before he left for vacation; he is scheduled to be back on the mike Jan. 3.

Whether Cameron opts to stay put, go to a competitor or leave town, he has already made his mark in Atlanta as the clown prince of hip-hop, the hometown ambassador for a lifestyle that now dominates pop culture.

He was one of the first jocks in town to play rap at V-103 in the early ’90s. He introduced TLC to Atlanta. In 1996, he took over the morning slot at Atlanta’s first rap station, Hot 97.5 (now Hot 107.9), where he nurtured interns such as rapper Ludacris and MTV VJ LaLa. He rubbed shoulders with OutKast and Lil Jon before they were household names.

But he’s not a man who wears massive gold chains or carries a rap sheet. “Ryan gets love from the street, ” said Griff, a local comic who used to work on rival Ski’s show. “He talks in universal ghetto language, but he’s not ghetto at all.”

Cameron’s show, which runs weekdays 6 to 10 a.m., is an on-air party, packed with hip-hop news and banter with listeners.

He recently spent an hour with callers debating whether Lil Jon should have gone on stage as Usher accepted a Billboard music award for his album, “Confessions.” (Lil Jon was a key player on the song, “Yeah!”) He traded laughs with hip-hop violinist Miri Ben-Ari. He grilled Kilo Ali about why the rapper burned his house down while high on cocaine.

And he’s fanatical about serving listeners’ needs, running the same features for years because they serve as benchmarks for his time-pressed fans. The “Chris Tucker Rap, ” for instance, airs every day at 7 a.m. no matter what.

Cameron’s got clout, too. When hip-hop mogul Dallas Austin needed to fill the Georgia Dome for his film “Drumline” in 2001, he went on Cameron’s show. The result: 60,000 people showed over two days.

On air, he’s a cheerful goof, mixing smart-street talk and laughs. His humor turns perfectly on timing, delivery and inflection.

But don’t be deceived. Cameron is a serious, driven man who carries the weight of being a role model.

“Every time I do something, every time I say something, ” he said, “I’m representing black fathers, black men.”

He regularly makes school appearances for Another Way Out, a mentoring program, and has his own charity foundation.

His BlackBerry and cellphone are constantly in action. (The ring tone when his agent calls: “The Hallelujah Chorus.”) One day after his show ends at 10 a.m., he gabs with a TV station about Bill Cosby, works out, inhales a roasted turkey sub from Subway, holds a pep talk for at-risk kids, then meets with Hawks management about his gig as public address man at Philips Arena.

By late afternoon, he gets home, kisses his wife, Kysha, and plops his 15-month-old son, Cayden, in his lap. His Mableton home is stylish but not extravagant, filled with abstract paintings, Victorian-style furniture and a basement packed with boy toys: a home theater, coin-op video arcade games and pinball machines.

He plays Ms. Pac-Man and gets a Coke for his 3-year-old daughter, Kai, from the bar. (He also has shared custody of a 6-year-old daughter, Ryan Megan, from a prior relationship.) His wife won’t let the fidgety Cameron answer his phone during dinner. But he is a sponge for news, watching plenty of Fox and local news for material.

Cameron is as demanding on his staff as he is on himself. He’s gone through three producers and is on his fourth round of co-hosts, both of whom he selected in an “American Idol” style competition in 2002. Neither C.J. Simpson nor Rashan Ali had any professional radio experience.

“I tell everybody that if I can do my job, they can do their job, ” he said. “Then we won’t have a problem. Certain people get it. Some don’t.”

Ludacris got a dose of Cameron’s perfectionism as an intern in the late 1990s.

“I used to get yelled at all the time for little stuff, like I didn’t have a song in the right order, ” Ludacris said. “Something minor. But he was adamant about certain things. Mainly, when the team messes up, that’s him messing up. And he is determined not to mess up.”

Cameron’s parents were teens who he said conceived him on their first date. His grandparents raised him in the Bankhead area until age 7, when his mom took him to a mostly white Cobb County neighborhood.

He was the first black student elected senior class president at Campbell High School but never graduated from State University of West Georgia, where he admitted partying too much. He got his first break auditioning for “Showtime at the Apollo” in Harlem. But the cocky, wannabe standup comic tried an untested joke, wiggling his butt to the audience. No Jim Carrey, he bombed.

“I still have the videotape, ” Cameron said. “I had time to recover, but I froze.” That horrifying experience of being swept off the Apollo stage didn’t lead to stardom.

Instead, he worked at Blockbuster Video, making $13,500 a year. Then at a comedy competition on Labor Day 1990, he met Mike Roberts, top-rated morning host at V-103. He asked Roberts, who now owns a station in Macon, about internships.

“Meet me Tuesday at 10 a.m., ” Roberts said. Cameron arrived three hours late. Too late, he figured, but he caught Roberts in the elevator. Roberts liked him enough to still give him the internship. “I almost blew a big opportunity there, ” Cameron said. “I learned. You can mess up once, but don’t do it again.”

The ambitious intern soon became a fill-in jock on weekends and overnights. To get used to talking on the radio, he taped a picture of his grandmother to the console as a sounding board.

A year later, Cameron auditioned for a full-time night jock slot for $23,000 a year.

“He was terrible, ” said Mary Catherine Sneed, a V-103 vice president at the time and now chief operating officer of Radio One, owner of Hot 107.9. But he was the best of those who auditioned and given the slot temporarily.

With the pressure off, Sneed said, he was amazing. Within a week, he got the job.

“I was ‘Ryan Cameron — locked inside your radio, ‘ ” he said. “I was getting 40 percent of the teens.” His song, “It’s Ya Burfday, ” became his calling card.

Four years later, in 1995, Sneed launched Hot, Atlanta’s first hip-hop station, hiring Cameron as morning man. Playing the underdog, Cameron worked every promotion he could from club openings to car dealerships. “We needed the advertisers. We overpromoted. We had to make it clear that they needed us, ” Cameron said.

But early on, he faced a personal hurdle. In 1997, a former co-worker sued Cameron and the station, accusing him of harassment. The two sides settled out of court. As part of the settlement, Cameron cannot comment.

Unscathed, Cameron pressed on, and his hard work paid off. He’s now beaten V-103’s Ski in three of the last five quarterly Arbitron ratings periods among 18- to 34-year-olds.

Cameron has become more family-focused since he married Kysha four years ago. He also maintains a firm friendship with his oldest daughter’s mom, Dionne Battle, a Snellville-based financial consultant, whom he was briefly engaged to in 1990 but never married.

“Things weren’t always as smooth, but everybody has adjusted, ” Battle said. “You come to one of Ryan’s parties, and you can’t tell who is related to whom. Our goal is to be the best parents for our daughter.”

Cameron today doesn’t do clubs much anymore. He’s joined the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund board. He even plays golf — and loves it.

But on air, he has managed to keep the teens interested while drawing more 35 year olds into the mix.

“I love how he can do hip-hop but is very articulate, ” said Sherry Moore, a 35-year-old CPA and longtime fan.

Cameron keeps a tight circle of friends and family, a circle that has gotten smaller the past two years as two close buddies and three grandparents died. As a result, he has committed himself to a healthier lifestyle because of his family’s medical history.

Akini Jeffrey, a former producer, said one day a year ago really sticks in his mind: when the normally controlled Cameron found out he had beaten V-103 for the first time. “He really got emotional, kind of broke down, ” Jeffrey said.

Cameron said he was thinking of his late grandmother, the one whose picture he kept on the V-103 console 12 years earlier. “She always told me I could do it, ” he said. “I wish she had been there to experience it.”

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38 comments Add your comment

1st mate

January 2nd, 2013
7:58 am

congrats Ryan, with all that money get yourself together!!!!

Mike Jones

January 2nd, 2013
8:09 am

Ryan is a good guy, He was our class President at Campbell High School back in 1983 and we all had some good times back then. Kudo’s to Ryan for his music success and we will see him and the rest of the class of 83 at our 30 year reunion to be held this year..

Big C

January 2nd, 2013
8:40 am

My only problem is, I thought he was starting on Monday, the 7th! I missed the show!!!

Ms.Simon

January 2nd, 2013
8:40 am

Yeah Ryan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Good News

January 2nd, 2013
9:17 am

Congratulations Ryan! I am so excited! It was great getting my morning started with you.

ATL Guy

January 2nd, 2013
9:23 am

Its a Fresh Move – Crash Clark & Ryan Cameron have excellent Chemistry on Air. I don’t understand why Crash Clark doesn’t even have a Bio Page on V-103!? He’s a huge part of the program and fills in when Cameron is out. Whats up with that People Station!?

ZAM

January 2nd, 2013
9:43 am

Y A W N !!!!!

Emma

January 2nd, 2013
9:56 am

lololol…when Ms Sophia called in i was out done! That was so funny I know the car next to me thought I was crazy.

Not So Casual Observer

January 2nd, 2013
10:01 am

I have never listened to Ryan on the radio but I know he is a sincere, hard working, community oriented man. Ryan deserves all of the success that may come his way. – JD

romeo

January 2nd, 2013
10:05 am

First let me say congrats to Ryan it could not have happen to a better person.I have met Ryan many times and he is always the same dude unlike the other guy he is replacing. I wish Ryan nothing but the best.

really

January 2nd, 2013
10:19 am

As long as he doesn’t put that idiotic Elle Duncan on with him….she is so annoying…cameron just needs more topics. he runs out of topics and just starts blabbering on and on about his uninteresting life.

Frank Ski

January 2nd, 2013
10:19 am

I love Ryan!

no thanks

January 2nd, 2013
10:22 am

Waste…is this the best replacement they could come up with? Ryan sucks!

Something Missing

January 2nd, 2013
10:49 am

I don’t know what happened today on Ryan’s first day as the morning hosts. Normally, I’m a huge Ryan fan but today, his first show was not at all what I expected. I don’t like his intro………..and after Ms. Sophia (funnnnnnyyyy), I turned him off. I was highly disappointed. Something was/is missing. I can’t place it just yet. Maybe it will get better and be like his show is always……….great to listen too. I’ve been a Ryan fan for approximately 10 years. I wouldn’t miss his show.

Tweete

January 2nd, 2013
10:56 am

I love Ryan. I think that he quite entertaining. I was happy to hear that Crash will be coiming along with him, for the ride. Crash is a good guy. (Shares too much personal info sometime, though. Hmmm…)
But, like I said before…bring on the FUNNY, interesting, and entertaining…and leave behind, all the silly, corny, over-the-top antics.
Here’s a hint: Before today, I listened to Steve Harvey in the morning. And EVERYTIME he started to speak in that stupid female/childish “character voice”, I did the ol switcheroo, and flipped to someone who speaks in ADULT tones. ( Tom Joyner)
Best of luck, to the Ryan Cameron Morning Show!!

michelle anderson

January 2nd, 2013
11:00 am

First of all Elle woudn’t come back – she is doing TV and on to bigger things. Second his show hasnt been the same since she left.

Monica

January 2nd, 2013
11:01 am

Congrats ! Ryan can’t wait to tune you in on my way to work. love you and Crash so funny.

Mike you are wrong

January 2nd, 2013
11:04 am

@Mike Jones

He couldn’t have been your high school class president for the class of 1983. The article says that Ryan is 39 years old. In 1983 (30 years ago) he would have been 9 years old.

LaShanna

January 2nd, 2013
11:05 am

I thought the show was missing something as well. Then I thought it was the first day so it’s an adjustment issue and getting a steady format flow. I hope it turns out well for them. It’s probably just first day jitters. I’m sure he’ll bring it soon!

Lisa

January 2nd, 2013
11:16 am

Congrats Ryan! I have been a fan since your start on V-103. I set my alarm for 5:50 a.m. so that I would not miss the intro. Love that Future is on the intro! Much Success!

[...] read the entire story click on AJC-BLOG-Rodney Ho – I am only covering a portion of what he re-capped on his blogRyan Cameron rolled out his new [...]

Lisa

January 2nd, 2013
11:43 am

@Mike you are wrong. I believe the article was written in 2004. I went to West Ga with Ryan and he was 3/4yrs older than me, and I’m 43.

Terri

January 2nd, 2013
11:43 am

@Mike You are Wrong…Reading is Fundamental… If you read the entire story, you will know that the information you read is from 8 years ago. He posted an old interview that he did with Ryan when his was with Hot 107.9. So, Mike is Right!

Kat

January 2nd, 2013
11:45 am

@Mike you are wrong

Mike Jones is not wrong. If you read the article correctly it states that Rodney included a flashback article from December 2004. In the article from 2004, it states he is 39 years old which makes him 47 in 2012 so he would have been in high school in 1983.

I guess “Mike you are wrong”, you are the one who is wrong.

Boo Boo

January 2nd, 2013
12:09 pm

bring Elle back…They were great together

1st mate

January 2nd, 2013
12:18 pm

there is no way Ryan is 30, i came to atl in 94 and he was on 6-10, that would have made him 13!!!! Do the math!

www

January 2nd, 2013
12:19 pm

i haven’t listened to v103 in years but ryan cameron is always gonna be cool with me.

www

January 2nd, 2013
12:22 pm

@ 1st mate – the part of the article that said ryan cameron is 30 was a cut and paste job from an article from 2004.

the older article should probably be in block quotes to make that distinction clearer.

www

January 2nd, 2013
12:23 pm

*39, not 30.

ryan cameron was apparently 39 in 2004.

i’m glad we got that settled. everyone good with that math now?

Sam

January 2nd, 2013
12:25 pm

Sometimes when a d.j. switch times their ratings fall. Sometimes they pick up and other times they don’t. Either way I wish Ryan Cameron the best. I don’t listen to V-103 anymore on the week days. I only listen to it Sunday Morning when they have gospel music.

Good Luck Ryan!

Native_Atlantan

January 2nd, 2013
12:53 pm

Best of luck to Ryan. The V103 Morning spot is where he belongs.

wRENN

January 2nd, 2013
1:02 pm

You guys are not detail oriented…the article said this bio was FROM 2004! Which means if Ryan graduated in 1983 HE IS 47! Geesh!

MelDee

January 2nd, 2013
1:05 pm

@ Boo – Boo…bring Rashawn back. They were better together!

ItzMe

January 2nd, 2013
1:08 pm

Ryan is the man! I love how he finds unknown talent and makes them big. (Ludacris, Rashan Ali, CJ, Crash, and the list goes on). I wish him nothing but the best. I was an avid listener of Frank and Wanda, and will continue to listen to RC.

I agree with one of the previous posters who stated that something was missing this morning. It’s the first show, so it has to get better. I love Crash, but in order for him to remain married, he has to keep his business off of the radio. I’m sure his wife will give him an earful when he gets home for that story!

Shar

January 2nd, 2013
3:09 pm

I’m soooo happy that Ryan has this new gig. I’ve been waiting for it ever since he came back to V-103. I truly expected him to kick Frank and Wanda to the curb way back then. I thought the only reason for him to come back to V-103 in the 2pm slot was to prepare his way to take over the morning show. I think he was GREAT with Elle Duncan who I believe now makes a marvelous appearance as an on-air personality for traffic on the 11-alive news morning show. I can’t say exactly WHY, but I do love Ryan and expect only the best from him. You go boy!!

BIGCITYLIGHTS

January 2nd, 2013
3:31 pm

I thought this morning show was a slow start, as well. I’m sure it will pick up along the way. Ryan Cameron and Crash D were hilarious in the afternoons; the mornings shouldn’t be any different.

Not Impressed!!!

January 2nd, 2013
3:47 pm

I did tuned in this morning and to say the least I was dissappointed as well. The show was just silly and not entertaining at all. I didn’t understand Ryan having Ciara on the show clearly she wasn’t significant at all to me as a listener she sounded so like a high school girl and neither was such a classy man like Willie A. Watkins . It was a BUST!!!! Truly Ryan is better than that !!! Something else has to be added for me to tune in again…. And what was crazy for me was Ms. Sofia was a clever move and the only funny thing on the show. Sorry Ryan, it just the way I saw it….

Angela

January 3rd, 2013
8:15 am

I’ve always been a fan of Ryan Cameron whether it was on hot97.5, hot107.9 or V103. I am excited that Ryan continues to progress in his field of entertainment. But I have to agree with previous posts, the new morning show is missing something, a woman dj. A great start with filling that position in my opinion would be, Rashan Ali. When they were on the morning show together several years back I enjoyed it immensely and they had great chemistry on air. Best wishes RCMS, V103 please add an additional morning personality.