DAY ONE: Frank Ski, with Nina Brown, launches new show on Kiss 104.1

‘The Frank Ski Show’ returns to Atlanta on KISS 104.1 this morning
‘The Frank Ski Show’ returns to Atlanta on KISS 104.1 this morning

He previously worked at V-103

Frank Ski’s first day on air this morning with Kiss 104.1 featured plenty of “welcome back” calls from fans and Nina Brown, his long-time producer, as his co-host.

Amid R&B hits from the past 30 years by the likes of Jaheim, Lauryn Hill and Toni Braxton, Ski picked a range of topics to talk about, including a woman who had an “African American” surcharge placed on an American Airlines bill, a lawsuit accusing Subway of serving tuna without any actual tuna in it, and the Lifetime Wendy Williams film that aired over the weekend.

He also brought back his signature “Inspirational Vitamin,” a note of hope accompanied with a gospel song. The first-day theme: reinventing yourself. The song he chose was Kirk Franklin’s “Love Theory.”

“It feels so natural,” Ski said on air at about 9:30 a.m. “It doesn’t even feel like I’m anywhere new. I just feel like we moved to a better apartment.”

“It’s been so welcoming,” Brown added.

In an interview, he said he purposely kept day one relatively light without any celebrity guests. He will address heavier issues such as crime, the mayoral race and vaccine access in the future.

Ski left V-103 last summer after station owner Entercom demanded that many of its higher-paid staff take pay cuts because of the pandemic. Ski first worked at V-103 from 1998 to 2012, frequently at the top of the morning show ratings with Wanda Smith. He departed the first time to seek a syndication deal that never happened, then worked for a while at R&B station WHUR-FM in Washington D.C. He then returned to Atlanta, worked part-time at V-103, then took over mornings again when Ryan Cameron decided to go elsewhere in early 2018.

At the time he departed V-103 last July, he was pulling in strong ratings but radio overall was suffering after the pandemic changed listening patterns and reduced in-car radio usage, especially early mornings.

Kiss was seeking a big-name morning host at the time Ski became available. The station had aired the Tom Joyner syndicated morning show for more than 20 years until 2017, when it replaced him with Art Terrell, who later added Cory “Zooman” Miller. Kiss last year dropped them. Toni Moore covered mornings for a few months but is no longer on the daily schedule.

Although Kiss announced Ski’s arrival many weeks ago, he had to fulfill a six-month non-compete clause in his contract that kept him off the air until now.

Ski chose Kiss because of station management, a strong sales staff and synergy with the TV station WSB-TV. (Kiss is now majority owned by Apollo under the name Cox Media Group. Cox Enterprises maintains a minority stake.)

“It’s great to have that type of machine behind you,” he said. “It’s been open arms. They are way above board in the way they do business. It’s a breath of fresh air.”

Ski said picking Brown as his co-host was actually Cameron’s idea.

“She’s newly married,” Ski said. “She’s got a kid. She brings so much information from the female side. The target of these urban stations is female. It makes sense to get Nina’s opinion. Management [at V-103) never let me do it” when she was there as a producer.

He said Kiss management told him they want him to be super local to differentiate from many of the syndicated shows in town.

“We’re getting right to the meat of whatever we’re getting to,” he said. “We can talk about issues and genuinely have an understanding of them. We know what’s going on in Atlanta. We’ve grown with this city so long, we get it.”

Ski will also continue to do an afternoon show at WHUR in D.C.

While V-103 has always targeted a broad audience, from ages 18 to 54, Kiss for years has geared itself to an older, largely female demographic. This will likely give Ski — who is 56 — more job stability going forward.

At the same time, Ski remains a music producer and he hit a jackpot last year when one of his classic songs was sampled by No.1 Billboard Hot 100 single “WAP” by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion. He signed a global publishing deal last fall with Sony/ATV. He has about 50-plus songs in the catalog and said he had actually penned many songs decades ago he had forgotten about.

Ski is now working on multiple albums for himself and his son Harrison while also writing songs for multiple artists.

ON AIR

“The Frank Ski Show,” 6-10 a.m., weekdays, Kiss 104.1

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