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Besides Frank Ski, others working part-time in hopes of full-time radio work

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Friday, April 29, 2016

Frank Ski walked away from a secure morning hosting job at V-103 in 2012, hoping to find a great syndication deal that never quite came together.

Instead, he spent two years at a station in D.C., then came back to Atlanta last fall, angling to get back on the air locally. Rick Caffey, who runs V-103, didn't forget how crucial Ski was to the station's success from 1998 to 2012. So earlier this month, he brought Ski back into the fold.

But there weren't any openings in the weekdays, with Ryan Cameron and Ski's former co-host Wanda Smith firmly in place in mornings, Ramona DeBreaux in mid-days, Big Tigger in afternoons and the indomitable Greg Street in evenings. The station, after some ratings struggles after Ski left, has since recovered its swagger and rightfully holds the mantle of the "Big Station."

Caffey instead granted Ski nine hours on the weekends. (He can be heard from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and 7 to 11 p.m. Sundays.) For now, Ski is like the sixth man off the bench and will likely be a primary fill-in host when weekday jocks are on vacation. He will wait in the wings, hoping to get back into the starting line-up at some point if the opportunity arises.

This type of situation has worked for others. DeBreaux lost her gig at Hot 107.9 in 2007 and soon nabbed part-time work at V-103. Working her way into the station's good graces, she eventually received full-time work.

Tripp West, after losing his full-time mid-day job at Star 94 in 2009, joined Clear Channel part time for eight months at the Bull, then went full time at 105.7/the Groove before that station went way. He eventually made it over to Cox Radio, first as an hourly worker, cobbling a duel job juggling nights at B98.5 followed by overnights at WSB. Last fall, he took over for Jordan Graye at mid-days and became a salaried employee again. "When you do radio, it's in your blood," West said.

Here are some others who are currently working part time or doing fill-in work while awaiting a possible full-time opportunity:

Eric Von Haessler

His last full-time gig: The Regular Guys at Rock 100.5.

When he lost his full-time job: September, 2013.

What he is doing now: The Von Haessler Doctrine on News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB on Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. He also does three podcasts a week for the WSB app. WSB brought him in early last year.

What he could potentially do: He could take over any potential opening during weekdays and already fills in for Erick Erickson and Herman Cain. For now, the weekend show allows him to hone his skills as a lead radio host. He said he is a salaried employee and is being treated like a full-time employee. "They've given me real estate on the front page of the app and have given me the freedom to create as much content there as I like until the show gets more on-air time," he texted me. "The truth is I've never felt more like a part of a broadcast family as I do now at WSB."

Tim Andrews

His last full-time gig: The Rock 100.5 morning show

When he lost his full-time job: October, 2015.

What he is doing now:  He had been doing his own podcast and joining Von Haessler's podcast as well. Just this month, he also came on Von Haessler's WSB show since his non-compete clause is now up.

What he could potentially do: He was a great support player on the Regular Guys and could very well join Von Haessler in a weekday show.

Larry Wachs

His last full-time gig: The Regular Guys

When he lost his full-time job: December, 2014, replaced by Jason Bailey

What he is doing now: He has his own podcast on an app he created called a Modcast. He also recently began doing fill-in work at NewsRadio 106.7.

What he could potentially do: He's angling to do a solo talk show and NewsRadio 106.7 could accommodate him at some point.

Emperor Searcy

His last full-time gig: Afternoons on Hot 107.9

When he lost his full-time job: July, 2015, replaced by Mz Shyneka

What he is doing now: Since February, he has been doing weekends on V-103 from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. He's spending weekdays doing real estate investment.

What he could potentially do: He was a steady presence at Hot for 20 years. He could easily slip into a full-time role at any urban station.

Mara Davis

Her last full-time gig: Mid-days at the now defunct rock station 92.9/Dave FM

When she lost his full-time job: September, 2012

What she is doing now: She does a weekly music segment with Steve Goss on 90.1/WABE-FM and a weekly "Atlanta Eats' radio show on NewsRadio 106.7 from 4 to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

What she could potentially do: She is a great personality who has been in Atlanta for two decades. If any radio station wanted to leverage her popularity, she's there for the taking.

Joyce Littel

Her last full-time gig: Late evenings on V-103 hosting the Quiet Storm.

When she lost her job: January, 2010

What she's doing now: In April, 2014, V-103 brought her back for weekend shifts. She also hosts a "Love and Relationships" show on WAOK-AM Sundays from 4 to 6 p.m.

What she could potentially do: V-103 has never replaced Littel for the Quiet Storm, where she was on for 19 years. She could always go back, but ratings seem fine with just music in that time period so Caffey has not chosen to do anything.

WSB and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are part of Cox Media Group.


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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.