I am sure intrepid AJC radio blogger is writing a “Top Atlanta Radio Stories Of The Decade” piece that will be littered with how great the Regular Guys are, how awful Clear Channel is and how many time 105.7 changed formats (769 times, I checked). Here are my top ten stories in Atlanta Radio over the past 10 years. Any similarity to Rodney’s list is purely coincidental.
The NEW 97.1 The River – Has been new for almost four years. The station still sounds new by playing old songs from old artists and never changing them out. Imagine eating at Denny’s and having eggs over easy every day for four years yet still calling it a new experience, that the NEW 97.1 The River.
Talentless Jordan Graye – She has been a blight on Atlanta radio and B98.5 for most of the decade. She is inferior to the NEW 97.1 The River’s Kate McCarthy, who works in the same building. Jordan’s act is as old and tired as the NEW 97.1 The River’s play list.
The Regular Guys part deux – TRG defied my prediction of never working in Atlanta again and return to the airwaves. This time at WGST-AM owned by Clear Channel who fired them the first time. That’s like buying back a stereo you threw out because there was a blown tube. They lasted about four weeks and managed to insult Braces manager Bobby Cox in their time at ‘GST. At the time, the Braves games were aired on ‘GST. Flash forward to 2010 and TRG are back on the air again and their station, Rock 100.5 will be carrying – The Braves. I can’t wait for the first interview.
Denny Schaeffer – blew into town and set the city light with his brilliant, insightful brand of conservative talk. During the build-up to the Iraq War, he was so enraged at the liberal media especially Atlanta based CNN that he arranged a demonstration outside CNN center to show how angry all of Atlanta, nay the world was, at CNN. Crowd estimates from that event varied between 15-25 “protesters” most disguised as homeless from Centennial Olympic Park. Denny went on to greener pastures and can now be heard (?) on WGKA on the coveted 9pm-11pm shift.
The Fab Four – Zakk Tyler, Cledus T. Judd, The Morning Mess and Giant Brian. Who can forget their collective reign here in Atlanta? I doubt any of them will even bother putting Atlanta on their resumes or reels.
Christopher Calandro – The kilt-wearing icon of Atlanta radio has a two-day stint as Jimmy Baron’s producer in 2008 when JB filled in for Zakk Tyler. PD Mike Wheeler told Jimmy that Calandro was not to come back in the building, ever! Apparently, there was a minor dispute between Chris and a member of the programming team.
Goodtimesandgreatoldies – This Atlanta radio seer got it right, many times and he wasn’t shy about telling us about it. He predicted that True Oldies would debut and become a ratings winner. He said that Spiff Carner would be on the station as afternoon host, and that happened. He later spoke out of turn saying Randy Cook would soon leave WGST and show up at True Oldies and Cook did. He made a bold statement that True Oldies has a playlist of 5,000 songs and who here can say that isn’t the case.
Adventure Radio – A precursor to DAVE-FM that lasted about six weeks in 2002. Clear Channel put it on Sundays from 7am-5pm on Mix 105.7 and that format introduced all of Atlanta to bands like John Mayer, Bare Naked Ladies, Jack Johnson and Dave Matthews Band. Once Clear Channel saw that the objective was met, Adventure and the Mix were done.
The Don Miller Morning Show – After Stephen Duane Barnes left 99X in September of 2003, and sued everyone who worked there, 99X was left to fill a hole. They came up with the ingenious idea of having Fred Toucher join the cast of the old Morning X and hail it as The Don Miller Morning Show. No one on the show was named Don or Miller, or Morning for that matter. Who cares, it was clever right? Nope! The name was later changed to Toucher, Jimmy and Leslie. After Toucher left and Sean Demery returned, it became The NEW Morning X.
And the biggest story in Atlanta radio in the Aughts was – ME!
On May 31, 2007, I announced my candidacy for the Program Director of DAVE-FM. My contention was that the current PD, Michelle Engle was running the station into the ground (http://boards.radio-info.com/smf/index.php?topic=72758.0
). While some mocked my candidacy, there this action caused shockwaves at Colony Square. Three weeks after I announced my candidacy, Rick Caffey the handsome and intelligent Sr. VP and Market Manager of CBS Radio, pulled the trigger and told Michelle Engle to take her Widespread Panic CD’s, her Police songs every hour, her Bonaroo updates and her sub-prime ratings in target demos and find a new home. While Goodtimesandgreatoldies may have made bold predictions, I became “The man who single-handedly changed the face of Atlanta Radio.” So said a prominent Atlanta Radio personality.
There you have it. Discuss but like Steak n’ Shake, “In your heart; you know I’m right.”