V-103's Wanda Smith hospitalized but returning on air May 26

Wanda Smith, always smiling. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Wednesday, May 20, 2015

V-103 morning host Wanda Smith was recently hospitalized for a week at Emory Healthcare with a painful colon infection. She plans to return to work on Tuesday May 26 after Memorial Day.

She has been off air since May 8.

The official medical diagnosis was diverticulitis. According to Atlanta-based WebMD, it's when pouches in the colon get inflamed or infected. WebMD says it's hard to articulate a cause but a low-fiber diet may play a role. Without fiber to add bulk to the stool, the colon has to work harder to push it through. The pressure may causes pouches to form in weak spots in the colon. Feces gets trapped in those pouches, where bacteria can grow. The results: inflammation and infection.

Smith, in a phone interview today, said she was doing her weekly hosting gig at Legends Comedy Club May 9 when she started feeling serious pain in her stomach area. She managed to get through the first show, but her husband recommended she go straight to the hospital.

"It was a lot like labor pains," she said.

She wondered if she had reacted to a caramel apple she ate earlier that may have had dairy in it. (She is lactose intolerant.) The doctors thought that was the case, too, but by the next day, her pain had returned. She went back to the hospital, had a CAT scan and was soon given the proper diagnosis.

To cure her condition, she was given antibiotics. She said she is now feeling better and eating a more fiber-rich diet, including oatmeal, Honey Nut Cheerios and grits. She was even able to leave the hospital last week to attend her son Giovanni's high school graduation.

Smith, since posting this Instagram note below, said she has been flooded with social media love and support.

She said before this episode, she hasn't been in the hospital in a decade since her tonsils were taken out.

Smith, a veteran stand-up comic, has been an integral part of V-103 for more than 17 years, one of the station's most important players in its 40-year history. She was a key member of Frank Ski's morning show until late 2012 and joined Ryan Cameron last year.

Smith has helped lift viewership on the morning show since she returned on air 16 months ago after a year off. In last month's Nielsen Audio ratings, the morning show was No. 1 among 18 to 34 year olds with a huge 13.4 share, the best performance the show has had since Cameron moved to mornings.  The show was No. 2 behind Scott Slade's morning news program on News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB. Among 25 to 54 year olds, the show also ranked No. 2 behind Q100's Bert Show.

Wanda Smith hosts shows at the Legends Comedy Club in Norcross every Saturday night.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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