By RODNEY HO/ email@example.com, originally filed Monday, February 15, 2016
Pop station B98.5 for much of its existence has been more about the music than personalities. It's well known as the "at work" office station. A few years back, management did try Star 94's Steve & Vikki for a time but B98.5's low-key style didn't really fit them.
Since program director Chris Eagan took over the station in 2012, B98.5 has sounded younger and hipper and ratings improved significantly. Eagan in 2013 dropped Vikki Locke and Kelly Stevens and brought in former Bert Show co-host Melissa Carter with outsider Jeff Elliott.
Elliott, however, didn't work out and last month, the station brought in Tad Lemire to replace Elliott while keeping Carter and producer Jeremy Powell in the mix. Lemire started on air two weeks ago. Eagan cited Lemire's clever wit as one of many reasons to bring him in.
Lemire came from a station in Tulsa, OK by way of New England. He brings a faster-paced show and a higher energy level than his predecessor.
"It's more impromptu, more, in the moment," said Carter, who was with Powell and Lemire at Southern Sweets Bakery Friday in Decatur as part of a station promotion. "We're having a good time. It's more natural. It flows. That's what I like about it. Already, Tad and I can communicate nonverbally and we've only been working together two weeks. I'm really satisfied when I go home at the end of the day."
Lemire said he and the team are trying to spend as much time together as possible in the early going to get to know each other and build rapport.
Carter is already a known quantity in this market. She has worked at 99X and Q100. During the promotion, fans came up to her several times for pictures and hugs. Lemire said he knows it will take time for his name to become recognizable to Atlantans. He isn't worrying about the competition, including Q100's Bert Show, Power 96.1's Scotty Kay and Riley Couture and the upcoming show featuring fellow former Bert Show man Jeff Dauler over at Star 94.
He had worked at Cox stations in Connecticut and Tulsa and had worked with Eagan before. "It's like getting the band back together again," he said.
Lemire grew up in Vermont. His dad Bob Lemire was in radio and he began working at a station as a teenager. At age 43, he has been in the business nearly 30 years, mostly in New England. He is married with a 10-month old.
The radio man he admires most is his father, who passed suddenly in 2000 and was known as "Southern Vermont's Duke of Rock n' Roll." (Lemire took over his dad's shift at an oldies station in Brattleboro, Vt. and emotionally bid his father farewell.)
He didn't have any particular famous jock in mind otherwise. "I can't think of any one person I want to be like," he said. "I don't spend a whole lot of time listening to other radio hosts. I want to do original stuff."
He likes "Modern Family," "House of Cards" and "Game of Thrones." "I like shows without a laugh track these days," he said.
Among professional comics, he cited David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel and Jim Gaffigan. His favorite comedy movie of all time is "The Big Lebowski." "I pick up something new every time I watch that," he said. "I like the Coen Brothers' sense of humor."
In his brief time in Atlanta, he marvels how spread out the city is and he likes how many individual residential neighborhoods there are. "I'm a city mouse," he said. "I like to be in the city." While the traffic has been eye-opening, he loves how friendly people are. "It's a very welcoming city," he said.
B98.5 and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (ajc.com) is part of Cox Media Group.
ON THE RADIO
"Tad and Melissa," 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., B98.5, weekdays