Tuesday, July 1, 2008

STEVE and VICKI have RETURNED!



After taking the very first caller at her new gig at B98.5, Locke accidentally uttered “Star 94.”

“I’m going to the Dark Side!” she said, moments after realizing her snafu at 5:05 a.m.
Steve McCoy, her on-air partner with Star 94 for 17 years until November, 2007, chuckled and cued the “Star Wars” music. “Ladies and gentleman,” she said, “I bet $100 any time one of us turns to the Dark Side. It took me five minutes!” (The $100 will go to charity.)
Minutes earlier, McCoy opened the show: “As we were saying before we were so rudely interrupted.” (He told my colleague Rich Eldredge in the print edition today that this was his planned joke and he used it.) Here’s that story.
“It’s the dawn of a brand new day,” he noted. “It’s been like Christmas Day for us.” (He hardly slept last night after eight months off the air.) The show did “Quickies From Vikki” gossip, at 40 minutes after the hour from 5 to 7. During the 5 a.m. hour, they took calls, dubbing it “Alive at Five.” And they thanked Scott Slade over at sister station WSB-AM for making the coffee, something they used to do at Star 94.
And while the team is new (Will Gara remains as producer, Mark Arum continues to do traffic and Jeff Hullinger from WSB-AM now does news), the show sounds very much the same.
CREDIT: Rodney Ho/Staff
After the show, I caught McCoy (above) for a few moments. (Vikki had already been whisked away by sales folks eager to show her off to clients.). “It went remarkably smoothly,” he said. “If we hadn’t said it was the first day, I wonder how many listeners would have noticed.”
Tommy Sullivan, who was part of the morning team for more than a decade at Star 94, came by at 7 a.m. Sullivan was not hired by B98.5 but remains co host at “Atlanta & Company” at WXIA-TV. He will join Steve & Vikki every Thursday at 8 a.m. for an unpaid gig to talk about weekend events. Sullivan’s “Atlanta & Company” co-host and former Dave FM host Holly Firfer also came by.
Ludacris, shamelessly promoting his new restaurant Straits, called in (likely the first time he’s ever been on B98.5). Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, Braves veteran pitcher Tom Glavine and McCoy’s neighbor and comic Jeff Foxworthy also checked in to wish them well. “All is right in the world now that you’re back,” Foxworthy said. Ryan Seacrest will be on tomorrow.
While on Star 94, the show aired from 5:30 a.m. to about 9:45 a.m.. At B98.5, they air from 5 a.m. to about 9 a.m. to accommodate the idea that people are out on the road earlier than ever. (The Morning Mess, like the Regular Guys, Frank & Wanda and the Bert Show, all go to 10 a.m., but Giant Brian, Cletus T. Judd and Zack Tyler also end at 9.)
After taking some callers excited about their return, McCoy at 5:17 a.m. said, “We won’t turn this into a lovefest.”
“But we love it!” Locke said.
“We always consider the listeners as family. We love that kind of feeling,” he said. Then he fumbled over the Web site address. (Hey—this is the first hour of the first day!)
According to that B98.5 Web site,, they are using the Chastain Park Amphitheatre Human Regeneration tour for a “return” concert starring Human League, Belinda Carlisle, Naked Eyes, Flock of Seagulls and ABC August 29. Those ’80s nostalgia acts actually preceded the pairing but who’s keeping track? The pair will also be at the Atlanta Pride Festival on Sunday, with Welcome Back Lunches at the different Ray’s restaurants (dates forthcoming.) The site also references a few new elements to the show. “The Ladies Room,” at 8:05 a.m. Wednesdays, will feature women talking about a variety of topics and Robanne’s Style File will include talk about fashion trends.
The Web site bio conveniently omits the name of their predecessor station, Star 94.
At 5:53 a.m., Vikki mocked Steve for going to Italy and then raving about the… gum.
Steve was naturally unapologetic: “I just noticed the flavor lasted for hours! Why can’t we have this in America?”
“You’re strange,” Vikki said.
She also teased Steve’s dedication to radio. “You will die in a radio station - probably this one!”
Vikki noted she “detoxed” on a beach for two months in North Carolina after she left Star 94 in November.
In his offtime, Steve noted at 7 a.m., he became addicted to the videogame “Call of Duty 4” on the Xbox. “I’m very bad at it,” he cracked. “I’m the only one who has been beaten by the French.”
And Steve & Vikki must be thrilled to have day one endorsements from Jim Ellis Audi as well as Airtran.
It appears they are playing four or six songs an hour, about the same as they did at Star 94, compared to 8 to 10 when Kelly & Alpha were on. So for folks who want less talk and more music and enjoy this style of music, well, you have no place to go for now on the FM airwaves.

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