The Covid-19 pandemic is forcing Atlanta upstart talk outlet WTZA to shutter. The station was built around Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson in afternoons and former WYAY cohort Shannon Burke in mornings (from an Orlando base).
Local entrepreneur Will Regan took over the lease of WTZA (1010) and the Atlanta-licensed translator W271CV at 102.1 and launched the station in February and recruited many of the voices heard on the former “Talk 106.7” WYAY, which Cumulus Media sold as part of a six-station deal with religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation.
Regan says investors backed out after the stock market crashed at the onset of the coronavirus crisis, making him unable to keep the station afloat. “At the end of a day, it was too big of a blow too early in the process,” Regan told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “If you had told me this was going to happen three months ago, I would have laughed at you. This was a perfect storm.”
Since assuming control of WTZA, Regan said damage to the station tower was discovered, with repair costs quoted in the six figures.
The WTZA website says the station will remain on air through Friday, March 27 and hints of future plans. “Something is in the works,” a posting read. “Seriously, it is. So, stay tuned. We’re not dead yet.”
“The Kimmer” and his crew, which included his former WYAY team of sidekick Pete Davis, voice guy and comic Jim Gossett and producer Brent “Flounder” Dundon, broadcast their last show on the station Friday, March 20, the paper reports.
“I don’t think we’ve ever done better radio,” Peterson told AJC’s Rodney Ho. “I made Pete a co-host instead of a producer and it’s been great.” Peterson says he plans to start up his podcast again, which was launched in December 2019, after the sale of WYAY. At the onset, the show secured more than 800 monthly subscribers on Patreon after a little more than a week of publishing, as Inside Radio reported.
In addition to “The Kimmer” and Burke, who continues in afternoons at JVC Media’s “Florida Man Radio” WDYZ Orlando (660), WTZA employed WYAY alum Mike Brooks, who hosted 1-4pm, while Burke was paired with his former “Talk 106.7” co-host Kara Stockton in mornings.