94.9/The Bull morning host Kristen Gates takes leave of absence; program director Brian Michel departs

Originally posted Monday, March 25, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Spencer Graves, the new male morning host on 94.9/The Bull, said on the air today that his co-host Kristen Gates has taken an unspecified leave of absence. 

Graves , who joined the station last month, didn’t say why she is off the air or when she may return. Gates didn’t respond to a text seeking comment. 

[UPDATE 4/1/2019: She had brain tumor removal surgery and will be off a month but said she is on the mend.]

Gates has been super complimentary about her new co host Graves on air and in social media.

On her public Facebook feed, she recently wrote about a little honorary bit he did about her on International Women’s Day: “I’ve waited 25 years to get to work with somebody who genuinely cares about other people. To say I’m touched by this is a massive understatement. Thanks, Spencer...I so appreciate you.” 

Gates, by the way, previously spent 10 years working with Jason Pullman as her cohost on the Bull. Pullman was let go just a few weeks ago with no explanation and replaced with Graves, who last worked at a station in St. Louis. She also spent a few years working with Kicks 101.5’s Cadillac Jack until 2008

In the meantime, the station got rid of its program director Brian Michel earlier this month at almost the same time as rival Kicks 101.5 did the same with its program director Brian Thomas

Michel, who joined the Bull in 2011, was also regional senior vice president of programming at IHeartRadio’s Atlanta region. 

His replacement is Meg Stevens, who will have the same duties. According to RadioInsight.com, Stevens came  from Charlotte where she was senior vice president of programming in the Virginia-Carolina Region and programmed WKKT Charlotte.

Neither station is doing particularly poorly but neither has broken out of the middle of the pack either. Last year, Kicks ranked 13th overall in average share while the Bull ranked tenth, according to Nielsen Media ratings. 

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About the Author

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