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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

Catching up with the former members of 99X’s Morning X

Leslie Fram, Steve Barnes and Jimmy Baron back in the heyday of the Morning X in 1996. CREDIT: Charlotte Teagle/AJC

Leslie Fram, Steve Barnes and Jimmy Baron back in the heyday of the Morning X in 1996. CREDIT: Charlotte Teagle/AJC

For much of the 1990s into the early 2000s, one of the most influential and popular morning radio shows in town was the Morning X on alternative rock station 99X.

Nearly seven years has passed since Leslie Fram, Steve Barnes and Jimmy Baron shared a studio, providing Atlantans a daily dose of water-cooler buzz and an upbeat sensibility that personified the era.

There were funny scams (Leo DiCaprio’s answering machine and the fake Hanson brothers come to mind), and notable interviews (Courtney Love, the Dalai Lama.)

Then as Q100’s Bert Show and 96rock’ss Regular Guys siphoned fans and ratings dropped, the Morning X lost its mojo. In October, 2003, Barnes left and the Morning X was no more. Fram and Baron stuck around a few years longer, but it was never the same.

Here’s a quick recap on what they’ve been up to:

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Steve Barnes

As air traffic controller, he infused the show with a frat-boy insouciance. After 99X, he pursued acting and movie production.

In mid-2004, new rock station 92.9/Dave FM gave him a morning host job with Holly Firfer. It didn’t take. Two years later, he was let go. (Barnes later said he felt hamstrung by management.)

More recently, he created a soap series “High Rise, which aired on Comcast on Demand last year. Season two, he said, is set to air on WAGA-TV next year, with ten half-hour episodes.

He’s still open to radio: “I’ve had opportunities to do radio in other cities, but I don’t want to leave Atlanta. And since I’m divorced with kids, I’d hate to move elsewhere.”

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Jimmy Baron

On air, he pumped Morning X with wisecracks and George Costanza-esque self deprecation. As a producer, he did a lot of heavy lifting nabbing guests and prepping material.

He left 99X in 2006 over pay issues but couldn’t find a radio job for three-plus years. At one point, he hosted trivia nights at local bars.

But last summer, Dave FM paired him with fellow 99X alum Yvonne Monet.

“I’m extremely happy now,” he said. Toward the end of 99X, he said he felt old compared to its target audience. At Dave, the recently divorced Baron feels the listeners better match his lifestyle: “I love talking to people with kids and mortgages.”

Leslie 2010

Leslie Fram

On the Morning X, she was the voice of reason and referee between Baron and Barnes.

A decorated program director, Fram led 99X until its initial demise on 99.7 in early 2008.

But she quickly found a new job in New York City as program director of WRXP-FM, a new rock station which blends harder-edged oldies (AC/DC, Metallica) with current acts (Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend).

Fast-paced New York fits her workaholic ways perfectly. Like at 99X, she co-hosts mornings, works all day and attends concerts at night. “I love living in the city,” she said.

But her old station isn’t far from her mind: 99X alums Decker and Steve Craig work there, too.

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26 comments Add your comment

Kar

August 27th, 2010
1:02 pm

I think their biggest claims to fame had to be either Leslee discovering local talent or their infamous April Fool’s Jokes. Still remember when they switched with conservative Sean Hannity. They had been off for a week so management’s comments about ‘cleaning house’ seemed plausible. Not to mention the fact that their audience for the most part had no clue who Hannity was and genuinely believed that he was the new DJ. Never heard/felt such vitriol on non-talk radio before or since.

Or the fake music festival that they had Gavin Rossdale help promote. People were furious because they had quit their jobs to come see this new mega showcase.

The Cheerful Dragon

August 27th, 2010
1:11 pm

Ah, but you forgot to mention how Barnes is positioning himself as a “social media expert” as poseurs and old media people tend to do. That’s old media, as in traditional media (although Barnes also qualifies as a media person who is old, and not just in age).

Love him or hate him on air, Jimmy is brilliant as a producer. He never fails to pick up on trends early and the values that drive them. @Kar: That’s all Jimmy.

Leslie’s talent and her success recognizing and nurturing talent — broadcasters as well as musical artists speaks for itself. She simply can’t have stayed in this business as long as she has without skill and her ability to build relationships.

quake

August 27th, 2010
1:40 pm

Never had much use for Barnes, but it’s nice to hear Jimmy back on the radio,
and good for Leslie programming in the biggest city in the country, I stream them
from time to time and it’s awesome to hear her again.

RolandZ

August 27th, 2010
1:41 pm

Totally miss the old 99X-without Big Day Out and all the show they use to do the music scene is not the same without their support.

Jason

August 27th, 2010
3:45 pm

Loved that show. And I miss it. And I miss the real 99X.
I blame Cumulus for buying out Susquehanna and then screwing everything up. Corporate morons.
I do like Jimmy and Yvonne over on DaveFM, but I wish there was more show and less music. They need to take off the cuffs and let Jimmy do his stuff. He really is a great producer.
Leslie, thank you for bringing us such great music over the years. And I know a lot of artists who you gave a chance to thank you as well.

IRISH25

August 27th, 2010
3:51 pm

THEIR LIVE-X’S WERE OFF THE CHAIN!!!!

adam

August 28th, 2010
7:23 am

they were sooooo gay besides…who listens to radio anymore

dana

August 28th, 2010
8:58 am

I feel like I woke up every morning with those three for a decade or more! Thanks for the updates. I am sorry to hear that both Barnes and Jimmy are now divorced. I remember Barnes’ daughters being born, I remember that Jimmy and Lisa went away with Jeff Dauler and his wife and they did a lame bit about Jimmy proposing to LIsa….I also miss hearing Crash Clark!

Eddie43

August 28th, 2010
11:03 am

In their heyday they were unstoppable. I just couldn’t stand Leslie. Too much of a prude!

Motocross Survivor

August 28th, 2010
12:16 pm

The female especially had a face for radio, and dopey too, even for a radio show quacker.

C-King

August 28th, 2010
11:54 pm

I agree I woke up with them for at least a decade. I loved it every morning. I could not agree more that Crash clarke always made me laugh too. I liked Jimmy and Leslie a lot and barnes I thought was a fake but as a trio they were the best.

Randy

August 29th, 2010
12:17 am

They were the voices of my high school days. I will always remember them for getting me to school in a good mood every morning. And I agree that it’s great to hear Jimmy on Dave FM. He’s adapted and grown into the new station well….although I wish they let the two of them talk more. Who cares about the music? That’s what my ipod is for.

Ron

August 29th, 2010
12:45 am

Sorry to sound cliched, but i TOO woke up with these guys for a decade, and honestly that was perhaps the happiest days of my life! I moved away from Atlanta for a while, and was disappointed to hear everything fell apart…this is life!

garrett

August 29th, 2010
12:25 pm

What happened to 99x? The DJs sound like they have no idea what is going on. Does Shawn read cue cards?

Cathy

August 29th, 2010
12:28 pm

OMG-the stunts were hilarious-especially their April Fools stuff like the underground amusement park and the time Sean Hannity took over and denounced Nirvana-just brilliant. Everything now is sapy. My favorite morning show ever in Atl.

John K

August 29th, 2010
9:55 pm

I think if you are on the radio then you are on your way to a crappy marriage probably to an attention craving person looking to latch on to your success and have kids. Then when your career dives as EVERY DJ’s will (looking at these losers-Leslie “loves living in the city” too bad no one listens to her program in NY and she can barely afford her rent), your significant other can’t cope.
Very sad..pathetic people marrying the wrong people for all the wrong reasons. Serves all of them right including the next ones to drop when their pathetic wife leaves them when their show and schtick grows stale.

pcBobby

August 30th, 2010
7:59 am

One of the best moments is when they said Crash Clark impregnated a woman during a drunken binge in New Orleans. Another was when they staged Barnes beating up Clark Howard in a boxing match.

Kar

August 30th, 2010
9:47 am

You could tell though that nobody thought out the crash-impregnates-the-teenager bit though. They supposedly hooked up at Mardi Gras and then before Easter they decided to live together and she was THREE MONTHS PREGNANT.

Obviously no one involved was Christian since they didn’t consider the fact that Lent was only FORTY DAYS.

lkjlj

August 30th, 2010
11:03 am

Congrats on using ‘insouciance’ in one of your blog entries.

BRENDA

August 30th, 2010
11:49 am

99x was good! dave 92.9 was great when barnes in the morning. Now with Jimmy and Yvonne- it is SO BORING!! who has these ideas to play that crappy music? it is SO BAD!!!!!!!! I dont even know how they keep their jobs.

Manny

August 30th, 2010
2:15 pm

When Steve & Leslie went to NY to 1019 I started listening to them. They both sound great and the music on that station beats anything in Atlanta

Randy

August 30th, 2010
4:37 pm

@BRENDA Agreed. Too much boring music in the morning on Dave now. Usually, though, the DJ’s don’t get to make that call. It’s management. Why does Dave hire dj’s with personalities and then continue to serve it’s listeners so much music in the morning?

Rodney Ho Moe

August 30th, 2010
10:17 pm

Man Fram has never been married ????

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Rodney Ho

August 30th, 2010
10:18 pm

She’s been married for many years to a many named Lanny.

Sad Atlanta Listener

August 30th, 2010
11:15 pm

I can’t believe it’s been seven years. I still turn on the radio every morning hoping they’re on…instead I get the grammar impared, uptalking Bert Show hosts yet still listen because there’s just nothing even remotely amusing now. Lisa leaving Jimmy, I saw that coming the day they announced their engagement. She’s a diva and she used him and I’m sorry their child or children have to pay the price.

Lori

August 31st, 2010
6:51 pm

I love Jimmy and Yvonne and also wish they were allowed to talk more. I have all day to listen to music; I don’t need it in the morning. Jimmy is at his best when discussing current and social events.