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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

4/17: Morning Mash with the return of 99X — to 97.9

99X, the biggest rock station in Atlanta in the 1990s, is back on the FM dial today after 15 months online only, this time at 97.9.

Cumulus, which owns Q100 and Rock 100.5, recently took over 97.9, which is called a “translator.” It’s a relatively weak in-town signal emanating off the Q100 tower at 250 watts (vs. 100,000 watts for Q100). Even at 250 watts, it’s a “line of sight” issue, so at 1,000 feet, it can carry reasonably well for a 20-mile radius from a Briarcliff Road tower in DeKalb County. Folks in Acworth and Woodstock have been able to hear the station.

“There’s a whole lot of excitement,” said Gary Lewis, the general manager. “The day feels different. The sun is back in the sky with 99X back on the air.” He noted that 5,500 people joined a Facebook page lamenting the end of the station on the FM dial.

If you've listened to the new 99X at 97.9, what do you think so far?

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Lewis will remain at jock mid-days 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with B.J. Kinard from 3 to 7 p.m. and Jillian at night. Matt “Organic” Jones, a holdover from the old days, will keep doing his Sunday morning Organic X from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. (It had been noon but was extended an hour.) 99X promotions such as Live X’s and concerts at Park Tavern will also continue.

Cumulus took 99X off the air but kept it on www.99x.com (and on HD radio for the handful of folks who own HD radio). The station wasn’t merely a jukebox, as many Internet-only stations are but they have used live jocks. I’m not sure how successful it’s been from a financial standpoint, but this current move is an obvious way to get more advertising dollars by at least having 99X on the much more accessible FM airwaves, even in a limited fashion. And though it’s on 97.9, the name remains 99X, since that still has value in this market. (One of the liners even joked about it by saying, “Alternative rock never sounded so… static-y!’)

99X, which launched at the dawn of Nirvana and Pearl Jam in 1992, was a phenomenon in its heyday, drawing 500,000-plus listeners and at its peak, regularly ranked top 3 among 18 to 34 year olds and top 5 among 25 to 54 year olds. It truly captured the zeitgeist of the grunge era.

But when alternative rock lost its edge in the 2000-2003 era, the station couldn’t decide whether to skew young or try to retain its legacy listeners who were not into the Limp Bizkit/Marilyn Manson stuff. The station tried to please both, failing on both fronts. The result: ratings and revenues steadily fell off. Last year, Cumulus hired the Regular Guys and created Rock 100.5, which has played a much harder version of rock than 99X until last week when it lightened things up.

The station at 9:09 a.m. this morning gave a quick synopsis of the station’s history and that people wanted the station back. It then played a bunch of clips from the history of 99X including clips of rock acts saying “I am 99X!” The last one was Scott Weiland crooning “I am 99X!” which was a common one regulars heard back in the day.

First song: “Know Your Enemy” by Green Day (2009)
9:15 a.m.: “I Will Possess Your Heart” Death Cab For Cutie (2008)
9:19 a.m. “Driver 8″ R.E.M (1985)
9:22 a.m. “Breakdown” Seether (2008)
9:26 a.m. “Pride (In the Name of Love)” U2 (1984)
9:31 a.m. “Use Somebody” Kings of Leon (2008)
9:34 a.m. “Mr. Brightside” The Killers (2004)
9:37 a.m. “Baker Street” Foo Fighters cover (1998)
9:42 a.m. “Funny the Way It Is” Dave Matthews Band (2009)
9:47 a.m. “Glorified G” Pearl Jam (1993)
9:51 a.m. “Hey You” 311 (2009)
9:56 a.m. “Pain Lies on the Riverside” Live (1992)
10 a.m. “Viva La Vida” Coldplay (2008)
10:04 a.m. “Misery Business” Paramore (2007)
10:07 a.m. “Lithium” Nirvana (1992)
10:12 a.m. “The Feel Good Drag” Anberlin (2008)

Someone has already set up a link to hear the start of the station on 97.9:

http://www.mediafire.com/?nhmzqddezmf

The technical details of the station are on the FCC Web site.

88 comments Add your comment

Eric

April 17th, 2009
9:25 am

I give them a month before they back to playing the same tired stuff…Pearl Jam, U2, REM, STP, etc. Yawn.

Fram

April 17th, 2009
9:37 am

Please don’t say Old Man Fram is back… nooo. And I know Barnes has an “illustrious” film and TV career, but let’s leave him out of it as well.

Andy

April 17th, 2009
9:40 am

Eric, you are a tool. Go listen to Q100.

lkjlkj

April 17th, 2009
9:42 am

so far the song list looks OK, but I hope they don’t start playing the teeny-bopper pop/rock that killed 99x. I do believe that was the demise of them. How many people with actual spending money, which presumably advertisers prefer, listen to bands like Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco!? Skewing to the 14-yr. old crowd probably was a bad idea.

Of course, this first Foo Fighters song is a start down the wrong path. I really do believe Dave Grohl had blown someone there, given the constant playing of this horrible band. We’ll see…

MikeD

April 17th, 2009
9:42 am

Well put, Eric. In an industry that loves and thrives on repetition, 99X became the undisputed champs about midway through their run.

Radio sux

April 17th, 2009
9:44 am

Green Day, U2 AND R.E.M….all in the same set? It’s my lucky day!! I can’t remember the last time I heard any of those bands, let alone within minutes of each other. Yippee!!! Welcome back 99X!

OG Power 99

April 17th, 2009
9:45 am

JIMMY!!! Where are you???

[...] FM back on the airwaves For those of you who missed 99X, it is back: 4/17: Morning Mash with the return of 99X — to 97.9 | Radio & TV Talk [+] Rate this post [...]

2010 A Braves Odyssey

April 17th, 2009
9:47 am

Barnes, Leslie, and Jimmy!!!!

2010 A Braves Odyssey

April 17th, 2009
9:48 am

Steve, Vicky, and Moby?

JR

April 17th, 2009
9:50 am

Rich, Crash and Toucher, with their lowest common denominator humor approach, killed 99X.

Chris

April 17th, 2009
10:01 am

i thought toucher and rich were the best things ever on 99x, well except for jeff clark back in the day.

I should be working

April 17th, 2009
10:01 am

Love that they are back, just dont let toucher back on the air. that morning show farce was definitely the last nail in the coffin.

Matt

April 17th, 2009
10:09 am

I have been waiting for some radio station in Atlanta to break the rules again like the old 99X did, and was excited to hear that 99X is coming back…but the music has been very disappointing….the little grassroots hope I had, is quickly fading, and it’s only been an hour….it was the heart that went into 99X that made that station great….they cared about Atlanta, and making us cutting edge….99X gave Atlanta a voice in standing up against the other major music markets….there is STILL no radio voice in Atlanta….so so sad.

Patrick

April 17th, 2009
10:13 am

I wonder how Rich, Crash, and Toucher are doing with their gig (in the New England area?) I really liked Rich as supporting character type in the Barnes, Leslie, and Jimmy days. When he pretended to take a dump at the Home Depot in Buckhead, I nearly laughed my butt off. I also liked Toucher when he did the evenings, but when he got on the Morning X, it was horrible. I can’t remember the name they used, but it was a horrible idea.

I hope 99X does well. I’ll listen for the music, because I’m getting tired of all the radio personalities to be quite honest. Just seems to be the same, recycled folks, that just change places on the radio dial.

Kar

April 17th, 2009
10:15 am

As much as I loved the old 99x, it never touched the early days of Atlanta Blue Sky. No annoying Toucher or Barnes, no stupid fish quiz and no commercials.

Oh, and thankfully no Green Day, Incubus, Fall Out Boy or the other three acts they tended to favor.

Noodles

April 17th, 2009
10:25 am

WOW.
I have never been more thankful to have XM Satellite Radio than I am this morning.

I outgrew 99X at approximately the same time I outgrew puberty.

Coincidence? I think not.

DD

April 17th, 2009
10:26 am

Get rid of “The Regular Pricks” and I may give it a listen.

jim

April 17th, 2009
10:27 am

glad to hear that 99x is back, but I’ll be hard pressed to leave my satellite radio. Don’t miss Barnes or Leslie, but Jimmy was certainly relevant. And for all of those Toucher, Crash and/or Rich haters…….they’re doing quite well in the Boston market with the Toucher & Rich show in the afternoon drive slot.

Joey

April 17th, 2009
10:27 am

Are they going to play music this time or just spout their opinions for an hour (or more)? I gave up after driving for over an hour to work I didn’t hear one song!

George P. Burdell

April 17th, 2009
10:30 am

air pollution.

Kar

April 17th, 2009
10:33 am

People are still paying for XM Satellite Radio? Now who’s talking about outgrowing a bad habit.

Raymond Babbit

April 17th, 2009
10:40 am

97-X BAM! The future of rock & roll…

Noodles

April 17th, 2009
10:44 am

Kar –

I paid for a LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTION for my XM back in 2004. By the beginning of 2007, it had had already more than paid for itself.

I no longer pay for my XM listening.

I no longer listen to radio commercials.

I no longer have to live with FCC-filtered, government-dictated audio in my car or home.

How is your current radio experience, KAR?

Hmmm???

Kar

April 17th, 2009
10:47 am

Internet killed or is killing the Sirius radio which frankly, overpaid it’s talent and was never a viable business model in the first place. Hence it’s barely treading water these days.

Technology has already bypassed it by loading internet radio into cars so you don’t have those monthly fees or bulky units anyway.

SIRIUS Web-Head

April 17th, 2009
10:57 am

Kar, you are terribly uninformed on satellite radio.

I got a permanent subscription to my beloved SIRIUS so could listen to it anywhere over my just-as-beloved iPhone through the available SIRIUS online streaming application.

Satellite Radio – It isn’t just delivered by Satellite anymore, Web-Heads! Besides, nothing regular “Internet Radio” casts compares to what SIRIUS is putting out over the web.

99X.com? Puh-lease!

Joe

April 17th, 2009
11:01 am

“And for all of those Toucher, Crash and/or Rich haters…….they’re doing quite well in the Boston market with the Toucher & Rich show in the afternoon drive slot.” — Actually they got the AM drive slot now, and were up for Alternative Personality of the Year. So they’re doing pretty well.

If 99x can go to its roots of playing the majority of new music, with some old mixed in, they’ll do well. It’s when they got away from its core roots (First adding on too much “Active Rock” and at the end they were playing what, 18% new music) that they started to falter. New music, relevant promotions… people will listen.

lkjlkj

April 17th, 2009
11:01 am

all you sat radio guys, why would you care about terrestial radio at all if sat’s so great? why are you reading this blog? i’d be content in the knowledge i had what i want, wouldn’t be on here at all.

It appears you are trying to rationalize to yourself your purchase of over-priced radios & lifetime subscriptions for a business that doesn’t seem to have much life left.

HH

April 17th, 2009
11:02 am

250 Watts? I have a toaster oven that pumps out a bigger signal.

Clarence

April 17th, 2009
11:03 am

are you joking? have you noticed how much music is out there? and they are playing the same old tired crap they used to. They could play hundreds of artists’ songs once and there’d never be a repeated song. So odd that they are playing the same crap over and over. SO surprising. Radio is dead. Long live Pandora.

Chris

April 17th, 2009
11:04 am

I’ll definetly be giving it a shot on the ride home from work. Dave and Q100 haven’t been doing it for me – I’ll listen to WSB or the mp3. Satellite? Other things I’d rather spend money on.

Kar

April 17th, 2009
11:05 am

Sirius head, I’m sorry, but the company isn’t getting the new subscribers it had expected and yes, it’s having financial problems and has teetered on failing. How they handle their whopping debt is still an elephant in the room.

Radio will still be there inexplicably, just as network news staggers on and print newspapers. I’m not assuming that we’ll be listening to the King Biscuit Flour Hour but they seem to be grasping for a new business model. We’ll see if the new 99x works.

Ramblin Wrecker

April 17th, 2009
11:09 am

Atlanta rock FM radio is dead to me. It’s like my youth, you can’t get it back. So you move on to other interests. I’m a sports talk guy now. My wife prefers country music, so that’s what we listen to when we’re together in the car, but when I’m alone, I’ve got 790 the Zone or 680 the Fan on (whichever one is not in a commercial…arrgh, when is someone going to invent a Digital Audio Recorder (DAR) for your car radio like Tivo is for your TV?)

Anyway, I loved 99X back in the day (and for the record Toucher was the only reason to listen to 99X in those last few years) more than anyone. But we should let it rest in peace.

99X Returns to Atlanta « Left on Lanier

April 17th, 2009
11:20 am

[...] April 17, 2009 99X Returns to Atlanta Posted by Gray under Media | Tags: 99x | No Comments  …well, sort of. [...]

Joe

April 17th, 2009
11:26 am

Radio? Who listens to radio anymore? Most people have ipods or satellite radio these days.

Georgia Satellite

April 17th, 2009
11:34 am

Uh, I am a satellite radio listener and don’t normally read this blog anymore. However, the AJC had this 99X story at the top of the home page on AJC.com, the most visible part of the site. Having listened to it once in my younger days when I didn’t know any better and feeling nostalgic for my youth, I clicked to see. Now, I am sorry I found my way here.

Nick Wright

April 17th, 2009
11:36 am

While I am glad to see alternative rock in Atlanta again, I’m very disappointed there has been no updating of the format. It’s functionally identical to the way it was when it died, so Cumulus apparently has not learned from history.

toto

April 17th, 2009
11:38 am

99 X —> The MICHAEL VICK of FM Radio

Nick Wright

April 17th, 2009
11:40 am

The song you missed was “Breakdown” by Seether, and the Green Day song is called “Know Your Enemy”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_Your_Enemy_(Green_Day_song)

Dan

April 17th, 2009
11:42 am

OK cool haters, whatever, no one is pointing a gun at your head to make you listen. But there are a lot of folks like myself who are glad that 99X is back on the air.

Richard

April 17th, 2009
11:42 am

There’s so much good new music out there that could do for the station like it did in the beginning. Don’t take the easy route and turn it into a “classic grunge” station. We all have those albums already. Take a chance on some lesser known bands (like Leslie used to) that will come out swinging to eager ears… Mellowdrone, Aberdeen City, Metric, Benji Hughes, Hello Dragon, The Breakups, David Roland. There is too much great new music to mention here, get out there and find it! Don’t be cowards, you are up against the internet which offers us new music everyday if we choose.

Brent

April 17th, 2009
11:43 am

Bring back Jimmy…the guy was an ass sometimes but jesus folks…he has been through the ringer.

C.M. Thornton, III

April 17th, 2009
11:43 am

They sucked before….they will continue to suck.

Matt

April 17th, 2009
12:15 pm

Thank you!!! We need more rock on the air! This is a great day! Can we please get Big Day Out back now too? I AM 99X!!! Bring back Toucher, Boston doesn’t deserve him :)

pixie

April 17th, 2009
12:22 pm

I could hear it down here in Henry Co, but I think they should just take over 100.5, it’ll be just as dumb as 99x on 97.9 but there is no way in heck they’d move everything back to the way it was.

Villa Rica DAWG

April 17th, 2009
12:25 pm

I love The Regular Guys too much to ever switch to another morning show. However, I can definately see myself switching to 97.9 during other times of the day. I suppose I am in the minority but I actually liked the “new rock” approach. I am not a fan of everything that came out but I can honestly say that I like Disturbed, Saliva, Fall Out Boy as much as I like U2, REM, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam. More so even when you take into account that some songs have just been played out over the years.

I guess I would really like to see Rock 100.5 modernize their line-up a bit…

Robert

April 17th, 2009
12:27 pm

Thank Gawd – hopefully I will never have to accidentally hear Lady Goo-in-my-Poo singing Poke Her Face again!

Villa Rica DAWG

April 17th, 2009
12:28 pm

By the way… As much as I like Axel, I think his attempt at the morning show and then Sean Demry (or however you spell his name) coming into town was the demise of that station. The morning show is the anchor for any successful station, in my non-expert opinion.

And, for the record, I think Toucher is freaking awesome!

Rob

April 17th, 2009
12:29 pm

A bit of advice, PLAY TOOL, HELMET, AND TURBONEGRO. Then your little station will have decent music on the air.

Villa Rica DAWG

April 17th, 2009
12:29 pm

Fat Kid, Fat Kid, Fat Kid…