Power 96.1 cuts all local talent as the Bull loses afternoon host

PK and Denise Kalentzis and Duryan Smith  were the "PK in the Morning" team on Power 96.1 until this week. PUBLIC FACEBOOK PHOTO
PK and Denise Kalentzis and Duryan Smith were the "PK in the Morning" team on Power 96.1 until this week. PUBLIC FACEBOOK PHOTO

Credit: Facebook Public Photo

Credit: Facebook Public Photo

Among those leaving: PK and Denise, Maddox and Otis

Top 40 station Power 96.1 released all of its local talent Tuesday while sister country station 94.9/The Bull lost its afternoon host.

Power (WWPW-FM) dropped its Atlanta-based morning show, which consisted of PK and Denise Kalentzis and Duryan Smith. PK and Denise, a married radio team, arrived in the market five years ago from Houston. Ryan Maddox, the afternoon host, was cut as well. Maddox has been with the station since it launched in the fall of 2012. Their bio pages have been scrubbed from the Power 96.1 website.

Denise, on Instagram Tuesday night, posted a photo of the morning team and wished the fans goodbye, saying “We had the best of times with you: morning, afternoon and night. You are truly our #radiofam and we’ll chat soon. Always love AND #liveagreatstory.”

PK said in a statement that feeling “incredibly grateful would be an understatement. I want to thank our listeners and the people that believed and took a chance on us. As for the future, I’m married to Denise and Duryan is my best friend so the show will definitely go on. You’ll be able to hear us via podcast (PK and DK) or on the next station that takes a chance on three friends and a marriage.”

Power is currently the only station in Atlanta with a maximum 100,000-watt FM signal with no local on-air jocks but the station may end up hiring new folks down the road.

Over at the Bull (WUBL-FM), the morning show of Spencer Graves and Kristen Gates survived, but the music director and afternoon host Jeremy “Otis” Maher was released. He joined the station four years ago.

“If you know me, you know the passion and love I have for my job,” Maher wrote Tuesday on his public Facebook feed. “Today I was let go from iHeart in Atlanta, for reasons out of my control. I’ve had so much fun in ATL and grown so much over the past 4 years. Thank you to my amazing co-workers, now life-long friends, and the awesome Bull family of listeners that have turned my show on and let me share my life with you! Not sure what’s next, but God’s in control, so we’re good!”

Both stations are owned by iHeartMedia, the largest radio company in the nation with about 850 stations including six in Atlanta: Power, the Bull, hip-hop 105.3/The Beat (WRDG-FM), Hispanic pop Z105.7 (WBZY-FM), variety pop 94.9/The Lake (WUBL-FM HD2) and Black Information Network at 640/AM (WBIN-AM).

Of those stations, the only one to land in the top 10 in the most recent monthly Nielsen ratings was the Bull in ninth place with a 3.7 share. Power was ranked 12th with a 2.8 share. Z105.7 was in a tie for 23rd with a 1.1 and the Beat had a 0.9, which ranked 27th in the market. The Lake and WBIN each garnered a 0.1 share.

The iHeartMedia Atlanta market manager Drew Lauter, who recently replaced Justin Schaflander, did not respond to an email for comment.

Earlier this year, iHeartMedia nationwide furloughed hundreds of employees in March with many of those converted to permanent cuts in September. In recent weeks, the company has been making more cuts in places like Philadelphia, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Tampa, St. Louis and Indianapolis.

The radio business has been suffering in recent years, but the pandemic has taken a significant toll on revenues, which remain below their pre-pandemic norms. Cutbacks have become the norm.

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