Just days shy of Christmas, V-103 has decided to shuffle the year-old Ryan Cameronmorning show around, dropping two major players,Kendra G and Christopher "Crash" Clark.
The brass there felt changes were needed with ratings falling in recent months by alarming levels.
UPDATE: Another major departure was announced later today: Egypt Sherrod! Details here.
The latest four-week Nielsen ratings showed Cameron's show in fifth place among 18 to 34 year olds, a place V-103 has not been since I began covering radio in 2001.
Rick Caffey, the general manager for V-103, WAOK-AM and 92.9/The Game, confirmed the news about Kendra and Crash's departures but declined to say anything further, citing personnel policies.
Replacements have yet to be announced.
Cameron took over for Frank Ski, who left V-103 voluntarily a year ago because he wanted to go into syndication, something CBS Radio (which owns V-103) couldn't accommodate. Since then, Ski has gone on to Washington D.C.'s WHUR-FM in September and still hopes to get back to Atlanta radio once his one-year noncompete clause is up Dec. 20.
Cameron held Ski's numbers the first few months he was on air. He assembled his entire team by mid-year, adding WAOK hostMo Ivory for her political insight and outsider Kendra G to inject some youth into the equation. (Read my interviews with them back in June here.) Cameron's close friend Clark was already part of his show when they were doing afternoons in 2012 andhe transferred to mornings with Cameron. They had known each other going back to the days Clark would do traffic for Cameron in the mid-1990s as "Crash D!"
Clark is the first full-time white dude on-air host on V-103 but based on research, he didn't connect with the core V-103 black female listeners. And clearly, the chemistry of the entire team wasn't working, given the ratings drop off.
The show averaged a 10.4 share in the first five months of 2013 among 25 to 54 year olds and a 12.3 share among 18 to 34 year olds. That was No. 1 across the board.
But the past four months, the share among 25 to 54 year olds fell to an average of 8.9, still good enough for No. 1. More worrisome, younger listening fell off the cliff, dropping to a 5.5 share in the fall. That's less than half what it was in June, when the new team was announced.
When Ski walked away from V-103 after an incredible, dominant 14-year run with Wanda Smith,management figured they had this one in the bag since Cameron has been waiting in the afternoon wings for eight years.
Cameron, a likable Atlanta native nicknamed "the Ryan King" known for his lighthearted sense of humor, was once the star act at Hot 97.5, later Hot 107.9 before leaving in 2004 to return to V-103. He received morning money with afternoon hours, the best of all worlds. He had no complaints.
But he was also ready to move to mornings when management needed him. He takes his job seriously and it's unlikely his job is in jeopardy. Instead, management is clearly looking to bring some new people in and try to reconfigure Cameron's show in 2014 and rightsize the ship.
V-103 has been the "big station" across all major demographics for many years, but the ship has sprung leaks. While V-103 is still number one among 25 to 54 year olds, in recent months, the station has ceded overall ratings leadership to 95.5FM and AM750 News/Talk WSB and the 18-to-34 crown to Hot 107.9.
Atlwebradio News Staff: