Ryan Cameron announces he is leaving V-103

Ryan Cameron

ATLANTA — Ryan Cameron, one of the most indelible hometown radio personalities in Atlanta history, is leaving the business to become a partner at a new Atlanta-based branding firm called Rakanter.

He made the surprise announcement Friday morning on V-103, leaving the still coveted morning slot after six years.

“I have done everything I can in this field,” said Cameron, who joined V-103 in 1991 and has worked there a collective 18 years. “It’s time for another chapter in my life.”

Rakanter founder Peter Sorckoff was former creative content officer for the Atlanta Hawks, where Cameron has been the long-time game announcer. Sorckoff approached Cameron with this opportunity last year, a chance for the Atlanta native to go in a different career direction, a direction that will enable him to work with major brands such as AT&T, Coca Cola, the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Jets and the Australian rugby team.

With his contract up at the end of the month, the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame inductee decided to move on. He said his final day will be Friday, February 2.

“What I need to do is better myself,” Cameron said. “I’ve been presented an opportunity to do something a lot of people of color aren’t able to do. That is being brought in on the ground level of a very successful business as a partner. Not an employee but a partner.”

Ultimately, he said on air, “I have yacht dreams. So I want you to have yacht dreams.”

He thanked his employer: ” My tenure here at V-103 has been the most fulfilling thing I could ever have done but I have to feel there’s something else that I can do.”

Cameron, 52, was one of the first jocks in town to play rap at V-103 in the early ’90s. He introduced TLC to Atlanta. In 1996, he took over the morning slot at Atlanta’s first rap station, Hot 97.5 (now Hot 107.9), where he nurtured interns such as rapper Ludacris and MTV VJ LaLa.

He spent eight years there, eventually challenging and sometimes beating V-103’s Frank Ski for supremacy among younger listeners. In 2005, he returned to V-103 as an afternoon host.

When Ski left at the end of 2012, Cameron took over the morning show, eventually joined by Ski’s former partner Wanda Smith.

“I’m so proud of you,” Smith said. “I thank you for the years we’ve been friends. We’ve been cool since day one. Congratulations to you.”

Cameron’s voice will not disappear immediately from the airwaves. He plans to continue to do radio ad endorsements. And he plans to continue to do Hawks announcing work at Philips Arena, which is really a labor of love.

V-103 has not announced an immediate replacement for Cameron in the mornings.

Cameron runs the Ryan Cameron Foundation Leadership Academy to mentor teens. And one of his most popular events over the years was his annual father-daughter dance.