NewsRadio 106.7 becomes Talk 106.7

Posted Wednesday, January 24, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

In a name change that is merely stating the obvious, NewsRadio 106.7 has become the new Talk 106.7.

The station recently dropped its remaining all-news program, a morning show led by Rob Stadlerand is seeking a permanent talk-show host in that slot.

It has effectively dropped any pretense to be a news station and at the same time wants to sound hipper, younger, more assertive than its news/talk rivals. (That includes the new promo music, which is aggressive rock.)

"We're branding it as a talk station and pounding that home," said Sean Shannon, market manager for Cumulus Atlanta, which also includes Q100, Kicks 101.5, OG 97.9, 99X and Rock 100.5. "It's an attitude with board operations and productions and sales staff and marketing people. It's an attitude in the building we have to have in order to go and do great radio."

The 106.7 signal has gone through multiple lives. For many years, it was country, then went oldies in 2008. In 2012, Cumulus revamped it as All News 106.7 but the effort never caught fire. In 2014, it became NewsRadio 106.7. But that name became a misnomer as news programming was gradually stripped away.

"Technology has changed," Shannon said. "There are already three strong news brands in town. It was a worthy experiment but by the time I got here in 2015, it was fairly clear there wasn't an appetite for all news in this market."

The station's overall ratings are modest but it carries strong ratings from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. courtesy of hosts Shannon Burke and Kim "The Kimmer" Peterson.

"The whole concept is personality-driven radio," said the new program director Tom Lee, who has been in sports and news talk radio for 25 years in different markets including Los Angeles and Dallas. "People can get news anywhere. They can't get Shannon or the Kimmer. Our goal is to have four morning shows one after another."

He acknowledged that relatively new late afternoon host Brian Joyce is still a work in progress. "He's a little more raw," Lee said. "He's an interesting guy, a smart, smart guy. He has a genuine take on things that may be different from the Kimmer."

By the way, both Lee and Shannon are perfectly fine with the Kimmer and his Newsmaker Line jokester Jim Gossett mocking Joyce and his modest ratings on their show.

Shannon said he feels their shows focus more on entertainment than advocacy, with perspective but no agenda. Lee encourages his talk show hosts to take calls from folks with varying opinions. "We appeal to a lot of people," Shannon said. "There's little dogma. Arguments are more friendly discourse."

The station in 2017 finished with its strongest ratings in its history in its news/talk incarnation, averaging a 1.725 rating with a 1.9 rating among 25 to 54 year olds. The first full year of Burke/Kimmer combo pulled in an average of 4.47 rating among 25 to 54 year olds from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., far better than previous years in that mid-day time frame. (Those are the breakdowns I have access to. I'm aware Burke runs from 9 to noon.)

This is the fourth radio station name change since last month in Atlanta. Old School 87.7 is now Mix 87.7, skewing toward a younger mix of R&B. Radio 105.7 switched to the less generic Alt 105.7 though the format remains alternative rock. And sports talk The Fan 2 has gone for the hipper sounding The Sports X at 1230/106.3. (This doesn't include the format change at 102.9 from classic hip-hop Boom 102.9 to old-school R&B Classix 102.9.)

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