What Big Tigger hopes to bring to mornings on V-103

Big Tigger CR: provided by Big Tigger
Big Tigger CR: provided by Big Tigger

Credit: Spe

Credit: Spe

He’s the fourth male lead host in 30 years for the station

Darian “Big Tigger” Morgan was steadily holding down the fort as the afternoon guy on V-103 the past seven years.

But circumstances can change quickly. Morning host Frank Ski surprisingly decided to leave the R&B/hip-hop station last month and re-join WHUR-FM in Washington, D.C. Big Tigger suddenly had to take over this crucial slot two weeks ago.

This was not a planned transition. Tigger is essentially doing the show solo for now. He said he plans to fill out his staff — including co hosts — in the coming weeks.

“We are revamping and redeveloping on the fly,” said Big Tigger, 47, in his 26th year in radio. “I’m looking forward to establishing the show.”

Tigger is the fourth lead male host on the V-103 morning show over the past three decades, including Mike Roberts, Ski (twice) and Ryan Cameron. (Wanda Smith worked with all three of those men.)

“I have always thought he had a lot of talent and I am glad they are giving him a shot,” said Roberts who hosted the morning show with Carol Blackmon from 1990 to 1998 and now runs an R&B station in Macon.

V-103 has been a dominant station for Atlanta’s Black community for much of that run and continues to dub itself “The Big Station.” Rick Caffey — who has run the station the past quarter century — has refused to hire syndicated hosts like most of his rivals. He has insisted on all local jocks and, with program director Reggie Rouse, has developed plenty of talent over the years.

Tigger was already a national figure when he joined V-103 in 2013, with past hosting work on BET’s “106 & Park” and “Rap City.”

He is also well aware of the responsibility of the morning host to nurture V-103′s brand going forward as radio faces multiple challenges including changing commuting patterns due to the pandemic and younger listeners venturing to TikTok and Spotify for new music.

“Morning is always a big chair,” said Tigger, who has filled in many times when predecessors Ski and Cameron were on vacation. He has worked mornings in other markets so he said he’s familiar with “the pressures, the expectations that come along with it. You literally can help someone set their whole day right, give them the right energy getting to work or school or any situation.”

He said the pressure is invigorating. “It lets me know I’m alive and I don’t take it for granted. It takes a lot of hard work and hustle. I care about radio. I love what I do. I’m never one to shy away from a challenge when I think I can do well in it. I bet on myself any day of the week.”

On air, Tigger comes across as a low stress, happy-go-lucky guy. And he said he’s honestly just happy to be in the position he’s in at age 47 “This is Hollywood east,” he said. “Everything that my career has been centered on — music, television and film — is all here. Being here and being on such an amazing station as V-103 is a godsend.”

Right now, Tigger admits his show is currently a bit scaled down from a normal V-103 morning show but he always tries to nab an interview or two a day, including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta rap star and social justice activist Killer Mike, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond.

On Monday, he spoke with a doctor about colon cancer in the Black community after the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, then interviewed the creator of Black Restaurant Week. He also discussed negative feedback regarding British pop star Adele possibly culturally appropriating by donning a Jamaican flag and Bantu knots, a hairstyle traditionally worn by Black women.

The biggest challenge, he said, is getting celebrities to wake up to talk to him, especially on the West Coast. “In the afternoon, I could just hit someone up and see how they’re doing,” he said.

He would love to talk to Oprah Winfrey but has otherwise spoken to almost every big luminary alive, from Beyoncé and Rihanna to Dave Chappelle and Tom Cruise. He is open to talking to either Joe Biden or Donald Trump. Tigger has spoken to Kanye West before but that was ages ago and he said he’d be a bit nervous now given what Kanye might say.

During the pandemic, he misses going out to clubs (and the extra income) and has been filling time by holding online parties Tuesdays and Thursdays. And he said he has completely cleaned out and re-arranged his home.

Over the years, Tigger has done a little acting and has appeared in several reality shows, including “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta.” He especially likes Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker from “RHOA” and Mimi Faust from “Love and Hip Hop.”

He isn’t as blatantly into politics as his predecessor Ski. “You won’t catch me on CNN being a pundit,” he said. “But I know what I know. And I’m very interested in helping people get registered, get educated and get out to vote.”

And as a native New Yorker, he isn’t hometown royalty like Cameron: “But what matters to the audience is you care about the community, show up and show out. I have a good track record of doing that in Atlanta.”

Tigger also believes for the Black community, local radio still resonates. “We get to have direct conversations with people on Peachtree, in College Park. They can call me and ask me a question. We can have dialogue live on the radio. There is something special about live, local radio.”

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