Radio Wars: Two Radio Talk Hosts Square Off

By: Domonique Benn
By: Domonique Benn

February 7, 2006
Talk radio is heating up. There’s WGAC’s AM 580 Austin Rhodes, a 14-year veteran in talk radio in the Augusta market. And there’s a new kid on the block, Ryan B. of WAAW-Rejoice 94.7. The two have very different views when it comes to issues in the community.

It’s no secret that the two radio hosts have bickered over the airwaves. So what’s the problem? News 12 sat down with both sides in a special assignment.

News Talk 580 radio host Austin Rhodes has worked in media for 23 years, 14 years of that spent in radio.

“Nobody else has been able to do it with any success except for me, knock on wood,” Rhodes said.

Newcomer Ryan B. is providing competition. Some people even call him the black Austin Rhodes.

“I think he had dominated the airwaves for so long,” Ryan said.

“He should be flattered, he’s got 14 years and a whole lot more money to make before he can be considered the black Austin Rhodes,” Rhodes said.

Rejoice 94.7’s Ryan B. has been on the air for six months. It has been six months of using the airwaves to feud with Austin Rhodes.

“Do you think that Austin is afraid of a little competition?” News 12 asked.
“Absolutely and he has a right to be afraid of a little competition when you have Larry Adamson host of the Water Cooler Moment and Ryan B. providing truth acts. We’re not curving it, we’re not twisting it,” Ryan B. said.

“I give him credit for that he’s making noise, unfortunately it’s like a cow bell, it’s loud and empty and it doesn’t mean anything,” Rhodes said.

Ryan B. says the bad blood started while he was covering former Senator Charles Walker’s trial. Walker was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for conspiracy and fraud.

“I have a fair report and didn’t twist it like other media outlets did,” Ryan B. said.

“My coverage of the Senator Walker trial was no different than my coverage of the Robin Williams trial nor are my feelings any different, they’re convicted felons,” Rhodes said.

“His view is more of a republican out there view and my view is for fairness and equal justice for all,” Ryan B. said.

“I’m somebody that disagrees with but the only effective weapon he has against me cause the truth isn’t going to help them,” Rhodes said.

Both say their goal is to talk about community issues.

“I thought the African American community needed to know what Freddy Handy said how they conspired to fire Teresa Smith and change the city government,” Ryan B. said.

“This show has always been a reflection of what is being discussed in the community,” Rhodes said.

But at times community issues take a back seat while Austin and Ryan throw jabs at one another over the airwaves.

“I think it’s more for his ratings, he needs to boost his ratings,” Ryan B. said.

“He needs to sit down and shut up and listen, not necessarily to me but he needs to go to those Augusta city commission meetings and neighborhoods and learn the long standing political traditions before he starts commenting on them,” Rhodes said.

“He doesn’t understand the people of color and what we’ve experienced over the years or time so he can’t relate or speak for us,” Ryan B. said.

Two sides of talk radio heating up, you decide.

“If you want foolishness, lies and division listen to Austin Rhodes. If you want truth, fairness and equality for all folks listen to Rejoice 94.7,” Ryan B. said.

“I give them all the credit in the world for trying, but if they want to play with the big boys they better not be afraid of them and they are so far,” Rhodes said.

“Are you willing to confront him or talk about the issues or differences with him?” News 12 asked.
“I am a Christian and I don’t believe he is quite where I need him to be to sit in front of me and have a discussion,” Ryan B. said.

“He wouldn’t get anywhere near me for a legitimate debate or discussion because number one he knows that his depth of knowledge compared to mine is zip,” Rhodes said.

So will the two come together and what will happen if they do? That’s part two of this special assignment, coming on February 13.


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