Celebrities

Jonathon Rush going country

Two familiar voices on local morning radio will have new homes starting Tuesday.

Jonathon Rush, the longtime host of WNOK-FM 104.7’s “The Morning Rush,” will move his show to WCOS-FM 97.5. He’s replacing Charlie James, who will move to WVOC-AM 560 and begin working with the morning team of Gary David and Christopher Thompson.

All three stations are owned by Clear Channel.

LJ Smith, Clear Channel Columbia’s director of programming, said the moves have been discussed for weeks.“When we saw how many listeners COS and NOK were sharing, we thought it was a no-brainer,” he said. “A lot of people at WCOS would jump over to hear Jonathon Rush.

“And Charlie's always wanted to do news talk.”

Rush, who has been broadcasting locally for 21 years, said the change gives him an opportunity to freshen up his act, though listeners will still hear frequent wisecracks.

Those who grew up listening to him but tired of WNOK’s Top 40 format will get a chance to reunite at country-flavored WCOS, Rush said.

“It gives me an opportunity to reconnect to some listeners that maybe drifted,” he said. “We’re going to be surrounding ourselves with a different set of songs.”

The “Ace & TJ Morning Show,” a syndicated show that originates on Kiss 95.1 in Charlotte, will take “The Morning Rush” slot on WNOK. Tumbleweed, James’ sidekick on WCOS, will now be paired with Rush.And Kelly Nash, Rush’s former partner and the creator WNOK’s popular “Nash Trash” Web feature, gets his own weekday show from 10 a.m.-noon on WNOK.

Last May, James and then co-host Pam Wilder won the Academy of Country Music medium market/on-air personality of the year award. But James, who started his nine-year Columbia radio stint at WVOC, wanted to return to the talk format.

“We’re just going back home,” he said. “Change is always good.”

The first thing Rush and James have to do: Get the call letters correct.

“I’m sure I’m going to slip up a couple of times,” James said.

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