Thank You Frank and Wanda

frankandwandaThis is a political blog, but ever so often we touch on other subjects.  This morning, popular Atlanta radio show host Frank Ski announced he was leaving his long running morning show at WVEE. The show, heard locally from 6am – 10am, was the leading morning show of any genre for the last 14 years. Frank and his co-host Wanda Smith will be missed.

The significance of his departure cannot be understated. Black radio, specifically morning shows are a major part of this city and have been for many, many years. When Atlanta’s first black mayor, Maynard Jackson, wanted to talk to “Black Atlanta” he went to black radio stations to deliver the messages. The environment was friendly, the hosts were familiar and the radio stations provided a forum to reach his target audience. Every Atlanta mayor has repeated this specific communication strategy since Maynard. Recent mayors, including myself, made regular visits to Frank’s show.

In the tradition of Maynard, I endorsed Barack Obama the day after the 2008 Iowa Caucus on Frank and Wanda’s show. I’m sure some of the local television stations were not happy, but I wanted the message to reach Frank’s audience first.  Simply put, there is no better place to reach African-American voters in Georgia than the Frank Ski morning show.

One of my fondest memories of Frank’s show was during the 2010 gubernatorial election. The Republican candidate, current Governor Nathan Deal, had a history of making insensitive comments about African-Americans and President Obama.  His opponent, former Governor Roy Barnes capitalized on these comments and made a radio ad that was playing in heavy rotation on V-103. When Deal declined an invitation by Frank to debate Barnes live on his show, Frank clearly had had enough. He took up an entire morning show and criticized Deal for not showing up and took him to task for his insensitive comments about African-Americans. The impact was advertising that you couldn’t afford in elections.

Deal eventually won the elections, but African-American voters in Atlanta turned out to vote that year in greater numbers than any other gubernatorial election in history. Many political observers, including me, attribute this record turnout to Frank’s activism on morning radio.

So I say farewell to the Frank and Wanda Morning show on V-103. The impact you have made on Atlanta and Georgia cannot be measured by just gross rating points. Thank you for giving others and me a platform to communicate with Atlantans. You will be missed and best wishes on your future.

 

 

Comments

  1. Maynard Eaton says:

    Frank Ski has been much more than a DJ and radio personality; he has also proven himself has a damn good newsman and interviewer. I must admit, that as an award-winning journalist with a MA degree from the esteemed Columbia University “J” School, I was very skeptical of Ski’s claims of his journalistic prowess years ago. Now, I am a believer and a fan. He has produced award-winning, headline making, first class radio reporting. One story –among many — that I envied was his exclusive interviews with wrongly convicted “Missing & Murdered Children” killer Wayne Williams. They were riveting and revealing reporting that amounted to quintessential journalism. His body of work as a newsman is both noble and noteworthy! Frank made himself a bonafide star in my business and I salute and applaud his stellar career thus far.

  2. Charles Huddleston says:

    Frank and Wanda’s Show reach so many listeners across Metro Atlanta that they have been the No. 1 morning show for over a decade. Kids listen, adults listen, and politicians listen. But, the Blessing for our community is that for frank and Wanda it has always been about more than the numbers, the fame, the money, or the entertainiment…Frank has always also tried to use this amazing platform to make a positive difference in our community…whether through his willingness to discuss controversial issues, to interview local elected officials and engage in serious discussions about our future, or his championing of youth through his Frank Ski Kids Foundation, his Youth Bowl Weekend or the anti-violence/anti-bullying campaign. Many good causes and a long list of treasured public servants havve used Frank and Wanda’s show to “get the word out,” and most of us have laughed (and cried) listening to the show driving to work. He is a great Ambassador for our City, and a source of positive energy that we cannot afford to lose…so the good news is that he is not leaving Atlanta and he is not leaving radio. And, as his daily Inspirational Vitamins would always remind us…it is not about us, but God’s plan for us…so God Bless Frank and Wanda in their new adventures!