Thursday, August 14, 2008

Radio Wars

Hopefully, you've been reading The Telegraph for the past couple of days and have been following the news about the local radio waves.

My story today, about WMAC-AM 940's hire of Chris Krok to replace the morning spot vacated by Shayne McBride a couple of months ago comes on the heels of business writer Linda Morris' piece Wednesday about WPGA-FM 100.9 and The Telegraph partnering up to re-unite former morning talk show hosts Kenny Burgamy and Charles Richardson.

The radio war heating up shouldn't be dull. Krok, in a brief tryout in late July with WMAC, already has made a mark by getting into it with city councilwoman Elaine Lucas. Say what you will about Krok, who previously worked for WSB in Atlanta, but no one is going to accuse him of being shy.

You can hear some of the Krok-Lucas exchange on this audio file:

Already, he has fired the first shot across the bow of his competitors and hopes to use his two-week headstart to get the jump on Burgamy and Richardson. Noting that Burgamy is the vice president of Atlantic Southern Bank and Richardson is The Telegraph's editorial page editor, Krok said he will be living his talk-radio job 24/7.

"This isn't a second job for me," he said. "I believe the people deserve better. I think it's an insult to the people to say this is a second job."

Richardson and Kenny B, as he is known around these parts, took Krok's comments in stride. They both noted their long experience in the Middle Georgia market and the listeners' familiarity with their previous show, which ran on WMAC from 1997-2000, before Richardson left to become the metro editor for The Telegraph and was replaced by Jami Gaudet.

"I wish him nothing but success," Burgamy said. "I hope he gets to the point where he can take on two jobs and do them well."

The formats of the show will likely be pretty different, though both will be oriented around news and issues important to Middle Georgians. Krok will work solo, having only the occasional guest but mostly relying on callers. He describes himself as more of a conservative than a Republican, and noted times when he was in Atlanta when he challenged Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., on the recent immigration bill, and supporting Hank Johnson against Cynthia McKinney in the Democratic primary last year for the Congressional seat in Georgia's 4th District.

Richardson and Burgamy said they will likely return to their familiar pattern of talking about issues from their respective left and right points of view, mixing in guests with callers. They should have a more low-key approach than Krok.

"We can disagree with our guests without being disagreeable," Richardson said.

Richardson said in addition to people already knowing him and Burgamy, their show will enjoy other advantages, such as a more-powerful FM signal in the mornings as well as the fact they will be simulcast on and (for the first hour of each day) on WPGA-TV, leading into "Good Morning America."

With our local political entities seemingly never short of material to provide the talk radio hosts, this should be an interesting battle in the mornings. Stay tuned.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: Sorry for not posting yesterday; as I explained to my father, I'm occasionally too busy.

With the Olympics (NBC, 8 p.m.) still going strong, not too many options. Not to worry, the first new shows will be hitting the air in early September, and I hope to be able to review as many as possible beforehand.

Still, you can treat yourself to one of the summer's most fun shows with "Burn Notice" (USA, 10 p.m.)

A much lesser choice, but also new, is "Flashpoint" (CBS, 10 p.m.)

And if you are a sports fans not into the Olympics, you can catch the NFL Preseason when Carolina faces Philadelphia (Fox, 8 p.m.)


Anonymous said...

So glad you tackled something local for a change. I look forward to the hour on TV 6 till 7a and think that may be the best part of the show. After hearing Krok in his test drive it is obvious that he will burn out the audience quickly. Kenny and Charles will be the better show.
Now how bout some local TV comments every now and then. Your usual stuff can be found in any paper in any town.

Phillip Ramati said...


I try to keep the column a mix of both local and national. Generally, there isn't a whole lot going on with local media, so when I put a local spin on things, it's usually news about a Macon-bred actor like Carrie Preston or Jack McBrayer and what they are up to, or if a local will be appearing on a national show.

I don't listen to a lot of local radio, other than for music, and TV-wise there isn't a whole lot else going on except for newscasts, so I concentrate on what is on the air. I get readers from all over the place (believe it or not) who like to chat about Lost or some other series and who don't know anything about the Middle Ga. market.

But when there are local broadcast media stories, I do try to cover them and this probably won't be the last time I write about the local talk radio scene.