Just a few weeks after program director Drew Anderssen left, WSB radio is seeing another big departure: news director Chris Camp after 28 years at the helm.
Camp was largely behind the scenes but he was a crucial element keeping the newsroom operating at peak efficiency. He hired almost the entire current on-air news staff.
The newsroom Tuesday gathered to honor him on his final day. He said he decided it was time to retire and move back to where he grew up and where much of his family resides: New England.
His long-time assistant news director Amanda Moyer, who previously worked at CNN Radio, takes over as news director. She has been overseeing the morning news show for more than a decade. (Jennifer Perry will take Moyer’s job.)
Camp, 63, said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Tuesday that he made the call around Christmas of last year to leave at the end of the school year. (His wife Terry is a teacher.) He told the staff several months ahead of time.
“It has been, without a lie, a terrific run,” Camp said.
He said he drove into work Tuesday morning one final time listening to Scott Slade on WSB and while on Peachtree Road, he saw to his right the WSB Skycopter. He got a bit emotional, feeling both a sense of pride for what he accomplished but also a sense of closure. “It’s time,” he said, “for somebody else to shepherd this ship and take it to the new heights.”
“Smilin’” Mark McKay, the long-time traffic reporter who was in that Skycopter, called Camp “the ultimate professional and an incredible people person. Always positive. Always encouraging.” Camp hired him in 2001.
Slade said Camp “had a way of bringing humanity to his interpersonal relationships. He always wanted to tell the true story but also find angles that helped people and informed them to make good decisions. One of his favorite sayings was: ‘There are no slow news days, just slow news people.”
Credit: MARK McKAY
Credit: MARK McKAY
Pete Spriggs, Camp’s boss and program director for WSB from 2001 to 2020, lauded Camp’s work ethic: “If we needed to have coverage on a weekend, he’d be the first one in he door. If we had to do something late at night, he was the first person back in the newsroom. He never stopped. If he asked you to go the extra mile, he went five miles. When it came to stamina and energy, he outdid everybody.”
Camp was especially good at local breaking news, Spriggs said, recalling specifically how well he handled the shocking 2007 early morning Bluffton University accident where a bus went up a ramp on I-75 and then plunged back onto the highway, killing six. “He mobilized everyone in the newsroom,” Spriggs recalled. “He never stopped, never sat down. He was incredible to watch.”
Mark Alewine, who retired in 2020 after WSB dropped the overnight news shift, said Camp was a champion of his employees and recalled how hard he fought to keep Alewine’s job. He said he ultimately lost his job to budgetary decisions made by the new owners, Apollo Global Management.
“News is a serious business but Chris never really took it so seriously that it absorbed him,” Alewine said. “He wanted his employees to have fun at work and wanted them to enjoy what they were doing.”
Camp grew up in Connecticut, attended school in Boston, then landed in Providence, Rhode Island, at the news/talk station WPRO, becoming news director by age 31. WSB’s program director Greg Moceri hired Camp to help inject life into the aging WSB brand in late 1993.
Over the years, Camp modernized the station’s news presentation and sound and helped WSB ultimately overtake radio rivals like WGST and later, News 106.7.
He told the staff Tuesday that he was amazed how hard they worked under him. “They maintained this intensity,” he said later in the day. “It didn’t matter who the competition is, they were always balls to the wall.”
Though WSB ratings have slackened this year, the station had a long run as the No. 1 station in Atlanta and would often hit double digits in Nielsen shares during the pandemic, far exceeding its rivals. In April, the station finished No. 3 with a 6.4 share behind fellow Cox Radio stations Kiss 104.1 (7.3) and 97.1/The River (7.4).
Camp said he is thrilled that his successor is Moyer. “She’s going to be terrific,” Camp said. “It was a no brainer.”