Sorry Kimmer fans: 102.1/1010 WTZA experiment ends with advertisers, investors pulling out during pandemic crisis

Originally posted Monday, March 23, 2020 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

The brief experiment to launch a new talk radio station headlined by the Kimmer ended on Friday, another victim of COVID-19. 

Will Regan, the entrepreneur who started up 102.1/1010, threw in the towel last week after just seven weeks because investors who were interested in the station pulled out as the stock market crashed. Advertisers also placed a hard stop on radio buys. 

He said he also discovered damage to the signal tower he knew nothing about before he purchased the station that would cost well into the six figures to repair. 

“At the end of a day, it was too big of a blow too early in the process,” Regan said. “If you had told me this was going to happen three months ago, I would have laughed at you. This was a perfect storm.”

Regan had no radio experience going in but launched the station because he wanted to find a home for Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson and others such as Mike Brooks. He also convinced Shannon Burke to do the morning show four days a week with his former co-host Kara Stockton working five days a week. 

Last year, Atlanta-based Cumulus Media sold off its 106.7 signal to Educational Media Foundation, which owns a nationally syndicated Christian music network K-Love. As a result, Talk 106.7 was taken off the airwaves at the end of May. Regan was at a Burke-led going away party at the time and the idea of finding a new home for all the talk show hosts came to fruition. 

After the end of Talk 106.7, former Talk 106.7 morning host Burke was able to land a job in Orlando, but  the Kimmer couldn’t find another gig. The Kimmer started a podcast in December.

But when Regan offered him this lifeline, the Kimmer decided to take the chance. 

The Kimmer, whose last show on WTZA was last Friday, said in an interview today that he was really enjoying being back on terrestrial radio and was disappointed by a situation beyond anyone’s control.

“I don’t think we’ve ever done better radio,” the Kimmer said. “I made Pete [Davis} a co-host instead of a producer and it’s been great.” 

He plans to resurrect his podcast again and may close it off to subscribers only if there are too many freeloaders. 

The Kimmer needs the money. “I called my bank to postpone my mortgage for three months,” he said. “Jesus, I’m f*****. My expenses are the same. My income just disappeared again.”

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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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