Posted Saturday, January 27, 2018 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Ryan Cameron could have chosen to stay at V-103, his agent Norm Schrutt told me.
In fact, during the negotiations, V-103 came back with two different offers. To Schrutt, the second offer was "reasonable."
But Cameron saw the opportunities and potential for upside being a partner at the new branding strategy firm Rakanter and decided to jump ship from the only career he's ever known. He'll be able to share in equity and profits in a way he could never do as an employee at Entercom, which owns V-103.
"To be honest," Schrutt said, "I was surprised. But when he explained it to me, I understood. He is more than a talent. I want the right things for my friend. That's the over-riding thing."
An administrative assistant for Cameron's direct boss Rick Caffey referred calls to a spokeswoman for Entercom in New York, Esther Mireya Tejeda. She declined to comment about the negotiations, only providing a statement from Caffey: “Ryan has been a part of the V-103 family for years and we are sad to see him go. I speak for everyone at the station when I say we wish him the absolute best and support him fully as he moves on to his next phase.”
(Entercom and V-103's previous owner CBS merged recently. I'm told that Entercom is more centrally controlled than CBS, which largely allowed Atlanta management to run the show locally. That's not the case anymore. When V-103 was under CBS ownership, I never had to go to New York corporate for comment.)
Schrutt represents several Atlanta radio and TV personalities, past and present, including Melissa Carter, Mark Arum, Crash Clark, Carl Dukes, Mike Bell and Christopher Rude.
While Cameron's Nielsen Audio ratings have been weaker the past two years than previous years, Schrutt blamed that on a combination of factors, including brutal competition for black listeners and an inability to get the audience to spend more time on the station. He noted that Cameron had the highest number of unique listeners of any morning show but was having trouble keeping them around for long enough periods of time. (Ratings are a combination of both.)
"It's a marketing problem, not a talent problem," Schrutt said.
Schrutt said one major upside for any morning talent leaving radio: "He doesn't have to wake up at 3 in the morning anymore."
"He'll be able to use his creativity in new ways," Schrutt added. "It's what he needs. This opportunity came up while we were negotiating a contract. He was evaluating both. He decided the marketing venture is something he can do. He is one of those people who talks the same language. It's a good idea."
Schrutt has been a fan of Cameron's for more than 20 years. When Schrutt was a radio executive in the 1990s, he tried to hire Cameron at a pop station in D.C. He thought Cameron was capable of doing top 40. But Cameron chose to stick with hip hop and his hometown of Atlanta.
Over the years, Schrutt has represented Cameron as his agent on and off, including the time when Cameron moved from Hot 107.9 to V-103 in 2005. When V-103 offered Cameron the afternoon gig, he resisted at first since mornings are considered by jocks to be more glamorous. But Schrutt pointed out that V-103 was offering him morning-show money while at the same time, he'd be able to make a 8 a.m. tee time. Cameron was won over and he thrived in afternoons at V-103 for eight years.
"Ryan Cameron is an extremely talented radio personality," Schrutt said. "I think it's a loss that will be felt at V-103 for a long time."
And while Schrutt isn't apt to speculate over replacements, he thinks former morning host Frank Ski (1998-2012) is not a likely long-term solution for V-103 given his age. "I'm glad I don't have to make those decisions anymore," said Schrutt, who ran radio stations for many years but has been an agent the past two decades. "It's difficult to go home again."
Radio consultant Tony Gray posted this on Twitter: