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

99X moves from 97.9 to 99.1 on FM dial

The soon to be out-of-date logo

The out-of-date logo

Alternative rock station 99X, which has been on the less-than-compatible 97.9 FM dial position, is now on 99.1. This makes it more “brand reinforcing to have the 99 back,” said Gary Lewis, a senior vice president at Cumulus.

After years of dominance in the 1990s and gradual erosion throughout the 2000s, the station in 2008 lost its coveted 99.7 signal and was relegated to an on-line only presence.

About 15 months later, the station owner Cumulus Media procured a modest signal at 97.9 and started playing the station there in 2009. The 250-watt station covers the central part of metro Atlanta but is hardly the powerhouse 100,000-watt signal 99.7 is. (That’s where top 40 station Q100 resides now)

The revised logo

The revised logo

Lewis said the 99.1 signal is “comparable” to 97.9 though he didn’t have the exact details. Readers of radio-info.com were discussing the signal today and said it’s strong north of I-20 (I can get it on my dorky Sony headset here at AJC headquarters by Perimeter Mall) but the Macon country station at the 99.1 signal eats 99X alive on the southside.

Its ratings have been modest, typically ranking 22nd or 23rd in the market, a far cry from its days when it was a top 5 station in the 1990s on a much stronger signal. And its musical format – alternative rock – is no longer nearly as hot as it used to be. Axel Lowe is one of the few remaining links to the original station and he is now the morning host.

The station will simulcast on 97.9 and 99.1 for now. What Cumulus will do with 97.9 is currently “undetermined,” Lewis said.

UPDATE on 11:55 a.m. June 11, 2011: Radio Insight said Cumulus might turn 97.9 into Journey 97.9, what would be termed as a Hot AC station. The station recently registered 979journey.com and Journey979.com. Cumulus last month launched Journey station in Cincinnati, which is where, coincidentally or not, Lewis was yesterday. A glance at that Journey’s playlist at yes.com shows a playlist that looks like a blend of B98.5 and Star 94.)

Many of 99X’s older fans have wandered elsewhere, be it Pandora or Dave FM. And Project 9-6-1 slices off a good portion of the younger rock audience with its “active rock” format.

For folks who haven’t listened in awhile, here’s a typical hour on 99X from earlier today, according to yes.com

12:02 p.m. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication
12:07 p.m. Pearl Jam – The Fixer
12:10 p.m. Foo Fighters – Walk
12:19 p.m. Blink 182 – What’s My Age Again?
12:21 p.m. Cage the Elephant – Shake Me Down
12:25 p.m. Jet – Are You Gonna Be My Girl
12:28 p.m. The Black Keys – Howlin’ For You
12;32 p.m. Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight
12:36 p.m. Rise Against – Help is on the Way
12:40 p.m. Linkin Park – Somewhere I Belong
12:49 p.m. Middle Class Rut – New Low
12:53 p.m. Radiohead – Creep
12:57 p.m. Sick Puppies – Riptide

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By Rodney Ho, rho@ajc.com, AJCRadioTV blog

61 comments Add your comment

Jay

June 10th, 2011
2:39 pm

AD

June 10th, 2011
2:39 pm

As long as they are goin’ I don’t care where they are….. :)

old devil

June 10th, 2011
2:40 pm

FIRST! I remember 99x. rip

delinda mcd

June 10th, 2011
2:43 pm

yeah! music to listen to again!

99X was way cool... in 1995.

June 10th, 2011
2:43 pm

The ’90s are officially OVER.

Can we please let this station die already?

Chief Wiggum

June 10th, 2011
2:44 pm

FOURTH!!!

What was at 99.1 before the move?

Will Pendarvis

June 10th, 2011
2:49 pm

I remember Power 99…a much better station. 99X died because you can only be forced to listen to early nineties drone for so long…

bigboy

June 10th, 2011
2:54 pm

99.1 is a country signal in Macon. It wasn’t anything up here. I could occassionally catch the Braves games on this Macon affiliate. Q100 needs to move back to 100.5.

Tony

June 10th, 2011
2:56 pm

Say what you will, but 99X is frequently on my iPod Touch, docked on the stereo at home. I like the station more now than I did when it was on 99.7 FM. I guess I just didn’t appreciate it until it was gone.

Funny thing is, my iPod Touch is usually used for listening to one of two stations — 99X, or WABE 90.1. Guess my tastes have got sort of eclectic as I’ve aged.

Yukko the Clown

June 10th, 2011
2:57 pm

Second. Power 99 was a spectacular station, as were 96 Rock and Z93. Rock 100.5 and 97.1 do not measure up.

leah

June 10th, 2011
2:58 pm

99X is terrible. They’ll never be what they were in the 90s. And, you spelled station wrong.

michael

June 10th, 2011
3:04 pm

Come on

June 10th, 2011
3:10 pm

Why in the world can Atlanta not get a true, current alternaive music/rock station? That’s what made the original 99X so great.

PMC

June 10th, 2011
3:21 pm

Come on – conglomerate ownership. There is no freedom on the radio at all. The freedom that they had 20 years ago was what allowed them (Leslie Fram) to achieve what they did.

Now its accountants, HR reps and a computer system that picks the music. It might as well be Apple’s Genius and just do away with the humans altogether.

GenX

June 10th, 2011
3:23 pm

99X died because the quality of “alternative rock” died. When it was Nirvana, smashing pumpkins, pearl jam, soundgarden, weezer, and on and on…. that was real alternative. Now days alternative music consists of a bunch of sissies wearing eye liner and scream crying into a microphone. long live the REAL 99X!!

Leslie Framm

June 10th, 2011
3:34 pm

Watch out, I might come back!

Steve Barnes

June 10th, 2011
3:35 pm

Bring back Barnes, Leslie and Jimmy

D

June 10th, 2011
3:36 pm

By my count 4 out of the 13 songs listed are from the 90s, two of which were 99.

Tony

June 10th, 2011
3:37 pm

Jesus — anything but that!

Tony

June 10th, 2011
3:38 pm

I, too, still mourn Z93.

But then, I miss Fox 97, too.

JB from East Point

June 10th, 2011
3:40 pm

how about bringing back “Power99″? Anyone else remember the precursor to 99X?

Jimmy Baron

June 10th, 2011
3:43 pm

I agree with Barnes!

morning wood

June 10th, 2011
3:48 pm

Bring back the Greaseman!

AtlantaDude

June 10th, 2011
3:56 pm

99x died because they were supposed to be playing “New” or “Alternative” rock, which kinda loses its definition when you’re still playing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in 2005 or for that matter “Tonight, Tonight” from Rodney’s rundown of a current hour.

dan

June 10th, 2011
4:05 pm

one word: SiriusXM. Commercial radio stinks in ATL. the only station I sometimes listen to on radio in a car without Sirius is 97.1.

realitycheck

June 10th, 2011
4:18 pm

GenX…………I agree with you 120%………maybe even 150%!

Fanboy

June 10th, 2011
4:20 pm

How about Barnes and Leslie and no jack ass Jimmy…

Fanboy

June 10th, 2011
4:21 pm

Ok how about Leslie with no self absorbed jack ass Barnes…

GStateBen

June 10th, 2011
4:29 pm

I remember when 99X wasn’t awful and Big Day Out was the premier concert in Atlanta. Those were the days.

Voice Of Reason

June 10th, 2011
4:48 pm

99x died because a 50 year old woman was programming the line up…get real people

Robert

June 10th, 2011
4:52 pm

How about Toucher, Leslie, and Jimmy? Where is Fred Toucher these days anyway? He was hilarious!

loyal project 96.1 listener

June 10th, 2011
4:58 pm

Project 96.1 rules. Aly Chris and jordin rock!!

Jeff

June 10th, 2011
5:02 pm

I agree with some of the earlier posters…. god, I miss the days of Z-93 and 94-Q and Christmas music on Peach 95 and 96 Rock and Fox 97 and Power 99… those were the high-water days of Atlanta radio.

As to some of your questions…. Come on at 3:10 p.m. and PMC at 3:21…

You asked “Why in the world can Atlanta not get a true, current alternaive music/rock station? That’s what made the original 99X so great.”

The reason is that because there IS no good, true, alternative and rock music! In an effort to be SO creative and different and weird and unique and non-conformist, musicians today can’t play a major chord and can’t put three notes together in harmony. Kids today are spoiled rotten and have more wealth and technology than any generation in the history of the world, so there is no “teen angst” to put into music! how many generations can some idiot sing about how he hates his parents and wants his own life and wants to party? Geez, c’mon. And, to be honest, the majority of the market for “alternative rock” nowadays is 15-year-olds on skateboards outside the mall, wearing all black in 95-degree weather… not a lot of disposable income there to spend on advertisers like Acura or Honda or steakhouses or Best Buy or golf vacation packages, is there? Abercrombie & Fitch can only market so much, right?

Secondly, PMC lamented “Come on – conglomerate ownership. There is no freedom on the radio at all. The freedom that they had 20 years ago was what allowed them (Leslie Fram) to achieve what they did. Now its accountants, HR reps and a computer system that picks the music. It might as well be Apple’s Genius and just do away with the humans altogether.”

Actually, I disagree… I just think that the forum of music-oriented radio has has been supplanted by today’s technology. When I was a kid in the early 80s, the ONLY way I could hear Motley Crue and Def Leppard and Ratt and Scorpions and Kiss and AC/DC was to listen religiously to 96 Rock… or buy some cassettes from Turtle’s Records and Tapes when my parents weren’t looking. NOWADAYS, every friggin’ kid in America has an Ipod, an Itunes account, an Iphone, an Ipad, and unlimited internet access (not to mention 700 channels of cable and music TV options). In 1984, I had 5 or 6 radio options… and my cassettes… and that’s IT. (No MTV, my parents didn’t have cable). So you see, the increase in technology has allowed people to formulate their own music playlists, find and compile their own favorite genres, and even to listen to music commercial free (Pandora radio, Sirius-XM, etc.) The need for a commercial station to cater to one sub-group of listeners and stubbornly stick with ONE genre of music is now an outdated concept.

I don’t blame things going “corporate”… hey, people gotta pay bills and make profits, that is why they are in business. Yes, conglomerate radio ownership is much worse than individuals owning stations 25 years ago… but it is what it is. As for the “apple genius” comment and not having any humans altogether… hey, I would rather HAVE music and the apple genuius option to research similar artists… I don’t want to listen to hours of overcaffienated DJs ranting and raving and rambling like lunatics.

It is what it is folks…. music stations are geared toward older listeners (over 35) and to certain genres of music that are still radio-friendly (country). The days of my 80s rock dominating a format, or your 90s alternative rock dominating a format, well, those days are gone. So do what I do — buy an Ipod, buy your favorite CDs, listen to satellite radio, and listen to sports and talk on the AM dial to follow the Braves and Falcons and such…. I have not listened to any FM station other than Dave FM in YEARS. It’s what they get for constantly dogging older listeners and drooling over the 15-year-old audience for some reason. Rest in peace, FM radio in Atlanta…..

Bob Johnson

June 10th, 2011
5:29 pm

“The reason is that because there IS no good, true, alternative and rock music! In an effort to be SO creative and different and weird and unique and non-conformist, musicians today can’t play a major chord and can’t put three notes together in harmony.” – Jeff

This is one of the dumbest things that I have read – there is all sorts of great indy alt rock out there. It is a shame that we cannot have a music station that plays relevant music. I was a huge 99X listener back in the day (from day one actually). With a modicum of effort, stations could be playing newer artsists that can play the heck outta their instruments and carry a tune. I guess on-line and satellite radio is where it is at – the people running these sites are putting out tons of great thoughtful music in every genre

[...] post by RollingStone.com: All News and software by Elliott [...]

[...] post by RollingStone.com: All News and software by Elliott Back June 10th, 2011 | Category: Rock Video [...]

Jeff

June 10th, 2011
6:17 pm

Bob Johnson at 5:29 p.m… I take offense to that.

That is NOT dumb. It is fact. I have seen a LOT of local Atlanta bands at various locales, and to be honest, very few of them are worth the price of a beer. Every now and then, you’ll run across a good, hard-rocking, genuine bar band, but too often I see “wanna-be” rock stars that try to play too hard, too fast, too grungy, or too artsy. Learn some chords, learn some harmonies, learn some good hooks and catchy tunes, and do some genuine writing and sing where we can understand you… that’s not a lot to ask.

You said “It is a shame that we cannot have a music station that plays relevant music…. With a modicum of effort, stations could be playing newer artsists that can play the heck outta their instruments and carry a tune.”

That’s your problem, Bob… you assume to know and be able to qualify what is “relevant music.” To you, 99x alternative from the mid 90s is relavant… for me, it’s classic 80s rock… for some people, it’s country… for some, it’s R&B… for some, it’s British invasion stuff from the 60s… you get my drift? You can’t say music is “relevant” just because it’s trendy, hip, alternative, indy, or new. Some older stuff is VERY relevent… some newer stuff is pure garbage.

I’m sorry, Bob, but commercial radio in a top-ten market is no place to try and find an indy-rock, alternative, hipster niche… the stakes are too high. You can do that at a college radio station or a small-town station or on satellite radio… but if you want to get a major advertising account by an Audi car dealership in Atlanta, you’d better be able to guarantee them than more than 17 people in their early 20s are listening every day!

It’s not that I don’t think newer music has a place… it’s just that in this market and this economy, with media so competitive, you can’t take a flyer and just play a lot of indy or new artists and HOPE that people like it. It’s the same reason that some great, creative TV shows get canceled… producers and advertisers don’t give ‘em enough time to build an audience, so we’re stuck with non-clever garbage like legal dramas, cop shows, and stupid reality shows.

You are right about one thing, Bob…. satellite radio seems to be the answer, since it can cater to every genre and the subsription fees are set and can pay for things. People don’t want to hear commercials every 10 minutes on the radio, nor do they want to hear a bunch of bands they don’t know… people tend to like that they are familiar with.

If an Atlanta rock station wanted to, they could try this… have a night each week (or an hour every night) dedicated to different genres. If 96 Rock wants me to listen to some new artists, fine, have an indy hour, but you ALSO need to have a 70s hour where you play some Zeppelin or Boston or Clapton, and also an 80s hour where you play some Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Scorpions, Kiss and Van Halen. Your 90s rock hour could have Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bush, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, etc.

I don’t know if that would ever work… but back to your point, Bob, if you can tell me when, where, and who in terms of GOOD new rock groups who KNOW how to play and at least VAGUELY resemble some song stylings of the 70s and 80s, I’d definitely give them a listen.

tvBoy

June 10th, 2011
7:38 pm

move it anywhere you want, there still won’t be any listeners. but i respect cumulus radio for being loyal enough to keep a once great station

[...] post by RollingStone.com: All News and software by Elliott Back June 10th, 2011 | Category: Rock Video [...]

Kristoffer

June 10th, 2011
9:43 pm

Problem is they play the same stuff over and over and over, just like every other radio station. There is plenty of alternative music out there… I listen to it all the time over the internet or sat. radio and hear something new all the time. If 99x could do the same thing they would have a listener back.

Phil

June 10th, 2011
11:06 pm

I tried to tune in up in Buford (around the Mall of GA) area and the signal seemed less strong than 97.9’s . . .

Nick Wright

June 11th, 2011
1:02 am

Actually, given that range downgrade, it sounds like even fewer people will be listening.

With ratings so low and not gaining momentum, why NOT gamble by hipping up the format? The reason alternative was a powerful format in the 90s is because it introduced people to music they wouldn’t have heard otherwise. You have to be willing to educate your listeners, and you don’t do that by constantly replaying the same 15 songs from the 90s over and over again.

NG

June 11th, 2011
9:29 am

Glad your back! Please play some of STOKEWOOD’s new cd In the Field of the Vibrations.

Dan

June 12th, 2011
1:50 am

Why are all you guys so negative on here? People listen to 99X. Their facebook has 10,000 likes that more than a lot of other radio stations. Be thankful their not like they were in 2007. Completely overtaken by corprates playing all 90s music like pearl jam’s “Jeremy” or soundgarden’s “black hole sun” because everyone “likes those songs.” it’s not leslies fault it was like that. It was cumulus’. Management wouldn’t listen to her and thought this was the way to program it. Leslie didn’t play music that was from the 90s because she was “too old.” The company that owns the station can be heavily involved in programming. That’s why there’s a lot of good programmers out there that can’t use their full potential.

Dan

June 12th, 2011
1:54 am

The majority of the playlist on 99X is new. Sure it’s not as cutting edge as it used to be and gets over played a little bit. It’s still good

Dan

June 12th, 2011
2:10 am

Jeff do you even know what you talking about? I don’t think anyone here has read (or cared for that matter) about your book long responses wining about how when you were a kid u didn’t have MTV or an iPod. Maybe you need to understand what your saying is your an opinion not a fact.

Chaddd Scott: rolling pennies for Oodles of noodles money

June 12th, 2011
5:20 pm

I wish they would bring Leslie MAN Fram back ?

Barnes

June 12th, 2011
9:34 pm

I don’t car what the new 97.9Journey station plays as long as they PLAY MUSIC. Please no yappin’ morning show dj’s!

WAR EAGLE

June 13th, 2011
1:35 pm

Who cares! the statiion sucked after Power 99 left.

Steve Holman

June 13th, 2011
7:56 pm

Nice. Now pumping out 250 watts of Hawks basketball play-by-play on 99.1 FM!!!!