James “Moby” Carney, once a popular country radio host for Atlanta country station Kicks 101.5 (now New Country) in the 1990s, has been hospitalized with stage 4 stomach cancer.
The 69-year-old Roswell resident has been bedridden for several weeks but is moving to a rehab facility in Marietta this week, according to his friend and fellow former radio host Steve Mitchell.
“We are hoping he can at least get up and walk around,” said Moby’s wife Mary Beth.
Moby, in a brief text Sunday, said he is in pain and noted that doctors had also found lesions in his liver.
“It’s pretty bad,” Mitchell said.
His son Jonah said “it’s difficult for him but he’s facing it with a sense of humor and as much positivity as I can imagine a person having in this situation.”
Moby’s heyday in Atlanta in the 1990s at Kicks included five years in syndication. He was a big personality who knew his rural audience well. But in 2002, Kicks program director Dene Hallam dropped Moby, telling The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Moby was too cornpone for the suburban moms he was seeking.
“Listeners told us, ‘We’re proud to be Southern,’ but if you listened to Moby’s dialect, it didn’t reflect the average Atlantan today,” Hallam told the AJC. (Hallam’s honesty cost him his job as well.)
Rock station Z93 picked Moby up soon after, but he didn’t last long there. Moby returned to his country roots and started his own syndicated radio operation, airing on small town radio stations across America, including many stations around metro Atlanta. His slogan: “The biggest small town in America!” For years, his favorite catchphrase to say on air was “Yeah baby!”
Moby, who is in both the Country Radio Hall of Fame and Georgia Radio Hall of Fame, retired in 2016.
In an interview in 2016 with the AJC, he said his philosophy on the radio airwaves was to be provocative, be real, be himself. He was a larger-than-life figure and he wanted people to react strongly to him, be it devotion or hatred.
“Why am I hanging up the headphones, other than, ‘Because of my wife told me to?’,” Moby texted at the time of his retirement. “It’s just come to be time where sleeping past 3:30 a.m. seems like a good idea. As Jerry Garcia said, ‘What a strange trip it’s been’.”