Familiar tune: New morning radio team at 'K'

12/02/2011 12:00 AM

12/02/2011 3:40 PM

A new morning show debuted this week on WKQC-FM ("K" 104.7), "QC Mornings," teaming Charlotte radio vets Todd Baker and Guenn Peterson.

Baker had a top-rated afternoon show on WKKT-FM ("Kat" 96.9) before leaving the Clear Channel Radio staff six months ago when a new contract could not be reached. Peterson is best-known for her role on "Ace & T.J." After the team left WNKS-FM ("Kiss" 95.1) this year, she remained under contract to CBS Radio.

WKQC-FM has struggled for years to find the right morning mix. In the last five years, a succession of morning hosts have moved through: Tom Jeffries, Derek James, Jon Robinson and Jo Jo Morales. Since January, various personalities at the station have filled in while the company looked for a permanent show.

With Baker and Peterson, the station gets a team well-known in Charlotte, people with "market equity," says WKQC-FM operations manager John Reynolds.

Baker came to Charlotte from Los Angeles, where he worked in radio for a decade. He was turned on by radio when he was young, working for his high-school radio station. Everyone has to start somewhere, and it can be reliably said that Baker started at the bottom - an $800-a-week gig doing overnights at a station in Gillette, Wyo.

From there, he returned to his native Pacific Northwest, working in radio in Seattle, then on to L.A., where he helped establish syndicated comedy networks.

Peterson grew up in Charlotte, graduating from Providence High School and then went on East Carolina University, which led to part-time work in media. When she returned to Charlotte, she landed a job working overnight at WCCB (Channel 18) as a producer for "Fox News Rising."

She picked up work at CBS Radio in Charlotte in promotion and sales, then filled in one morning four years ago with Ace & T.J. Things clicked and she landed that spot permanently.

Reynolds says having co-hosts familiar with the city will give the show an advantage in Charlotte, where syndicated morning programs - both those that come from elsewhere and ones that originate here like "Bob and Sheri," or "John Boy & Billy" - don't have the local focus "QC Mornings" can offer.

"There's a need for people to be connected to their communities," he says.

Now, WKQC-FM is in the middle of its all-Christmas-music month, traditionally the time the station draws its strongest ratings of the year, and a good time to launch a new show.

Baker says he wants a good conversation with the listener in the mornings on lifestyle issues and current events. "Guenn and I can talk about Charlotte and make it local."

And he likes taking calls. "One phone call can change the whole show," he says.

Peterson, who got married last month, says she's going through all those young-adult things nowadays - thinking about the first home, thinking about having a family and getting used to a new dog, a second miniature dachshund named Holly to go with her starter dog, Ozzie.

"It's an interesting time in my life," she says.

Media Movers

Christine Noel joins "Fox News Rising" on WCCB (Channel 18) as co-host with Derek James, replacing Anna Kooiman, who is joining Fox News in New York in mid-December. Kooiman, a Charlotte native, signed off Thursday. Noel, a graduate of Hope College in Holland, Mich., comes from Grand Rapids, Mich., where she worked at the ABC affiliate. She was known there by her real name, Tara Kuhnlein. She gets a stage name in Charlotte to avoid confusion with morning meteorologist Tera Blake. Kooiman is the third TV personality from Charlotte to join Fox News, following Shannon Bream, formerly of WBTV (Channel 3), and Heather Childers, formerly of News 14 Carolina. ...

Jeff Gibson takes over afternoons from Opie Joe Creason on Statesville's WAME-FM (92.9). Creason has moved to a Knoxville, Tenn., station. ... Geof Knight, producer of the Paul Schadt Morning Show on WKKT-FM ("Kat" 96.9), will play Godfather Drosselmeyer in the Harris Y School of Dance's annual production of "The Nutcracker" next weekend in Dana Auditorium at Queens University.

Time Warner Cable's Carolina On Demand channel has a feature called "Around Carolina," a "Carolina Camera"-type travelogue roaming both states and hosted by Richard Green. New episodes debut every two weeks. ... Baltimore-based advertising and marketing agency Clapp Communications opens a Charlotte office led by Beth Sykes.

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