ATLANTA – Atlanta may be the heart of the South but a local DJ's Southern accent may have cost him his job.
James Carney, better known to radio listeners as "Moby," was terminated in August after an 11-year stint as morning DJ for WKHX, Kicks 101.5 — a country station.
Unlike other high-profile DJ firings of late, Carney wasn't fired for foul language or setting up lewd stunts, it is the sound of his voice that's the culprit.
"If you listened to Moby's dialect, it didn't reflect the average Atlanta day," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the station's program director said.
"There were lots of memos about my Southern drawl and about my dialect and my diction and my vocabulary, double entendre," the dismissed DJ said.
"The program director at the time said I should take diction lessons and grammar lessons."
Station officials denied Moby's Southern accent caused his termination. But even that it was an issue during his employment has upset some listeners.
If a British accent is good for the BBC and urban slang for rap stations — why should a Southern twang clash with country?
"It's always been OK to pick on Southern white guys," Carney said.
Moby has since landed a new job — hosting the morning show on another Atlanta radio station, WZGC — which plays rock 'n' roll.
"The accent doesn't really matter to me," said Frank Jaxon, WZGC program director.
"It's what they're saying, what kind of personality they have and how they relate to the audience … and Moby is a master at that."
While the Southern sound of Moby's voice may have been too down-home for a country station, he's landed on his feet in another musical genre known for it's laid-back attitude.
"I was too country for country," he said. "But I'm not too country for rock 'n' roll."