Radio stations usually disappear or shift formats with no warning.
But Atlanta-based Cumulus in February sold the 106.7 signal to Educational Media Foundation, which does a nationally syndicated Christian pop format called K-Love.
So for the past three-plus months, Talk 106.7 has been Dead Station Walking. It remained on the air, all the talk show hosts well aware they were losing their jobs. Their shows turned into auditions for future gigs.
Then they got the news that May 31 would be the station’s final day with the switch over happening at 7 p.m. “It’s rare anybody in radio gets a chance to say goodbye,” Shannon Burke noted during his final hour. “Thank you Cumulus for letting us staying as we did. They didn’t have to do that.”
On Friday morning, the studio mood was a mixture of sadness and gallows humor. The talk show hosts didn’t delve much into politics. Instead, they largely took plenty of calls from some of their favorite fans.
“It’s been like the longest funeral ever,” said a truck driver Dwayne on Shannon Burke’s final show. A caller named Helen serenaded them with a farewell song.
Over the years, they had a running joke about Shannon stealing ideas from the former Fox 97.1 hosts Randy and Spiff. So at 10:35 a.m., they spoke with Spiff Carner, who joked with them for a few minutes.
At 10:45 a.m., a fan Jacob Boyack of Commerce came by the studio to drop off a monstrous 1.5 liter bottle of Jameson whiskey.
By 10:50 a.m., Shannon began drinking Coke and whiskey. But he said to keep the stuff away from Kara. “I don’t want Kara hammered,” he said. “She has a long day ahead of her!”
On air, Shannon jokingly asked Kara to distract the woman at the front desk so he can swipe some office supplies.
During a commercial break, Rock 100.5 morning host Jason Bailey stopped by to say goodbye. Bailey had recommended Burke for 106.7 and paved the way for Burke’s job here.
“Thanks for getting this job for me,” Burke said, semi-seriously.
Kara cried when she first came into the studio but held up better as the show went along.
“I’m stressed but I think my stress level is evaporating!” Kara said.
“Is the Jameson helping?” Shannon cracked.
He read a live ad during his final hour. (Everdry!) “I’m a pro!” he said.
Kara told Shannon sincerely: “This is the best job I’ve ever had and it probably will never be the same.”
In the final moments, Shannon said, “You’ve been a great audience, a loyal audience. I had a great time.”
Kara was crying again. “The Kimmer will have to cradle you like a little baby and give you a bottle of Jameson,” he joked.
Kara: “I love you Randy and Spiff.”
She left the studio and came into the office and hugged producer Brent Barney. Then Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson came in and hugged her.
The Kimmer proceeded to complain loudly that Salem wouldn’t hire him because he’s too “controversial.” “I’m not Howard Stern!” he said.
Later in the day, Wayne “No Offense” Kitchens stopped by and joined the Kimmer, Pete Davis and Jim Gossett for their final show. It was a reunion of the WGST team.
The Kimmer gave plaudits to Gossett and his Newsmaker line, the signature comedic bits that started at WGST in the 1990s.
He normally ends at 6 p.m. but he planned to stay on an extra hour before Talk 106.7 officially handed the reins to K-Love.
As for the future, morning host Shelley Wynter is going to do some fill-in work for News 95.5 and AM 750. Mid-day host Mike Brooks has a weekend show on AM920 and contributes to CourtTV. The Kimmer is pondering a podcast if another radio gig doesn’t materialize.
Shannon said someone wants to hire him in Florida, where he used to work and built his following. But it may not be immediate.
“There are people interested down there,” he said. “They haven’t finished purchasing their stations yet.”
Want to say goodbye to the hosts in person? The free going-away party Friday night is at 35 Old Canton Street in Alpharetta, courtesy of Talk 106.7 supporter oXYGen Financial. It is scheduled for 7 to 10 p.m. Producer Brent Barney said about 1,200 people have already RSVPed.
On Saturday, a second party is planned from 3 p.m to 9 p.m. at Big Tex in Decatur.
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