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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

Journey 97.9 debuts at noon today with 80s and 90s music. First song: ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ ” Of course.

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At noon today, FM 97.9 started a new format called Journey97.9 , which focuses on songs from the 1980s and 1990s.

The name Journey of course is a reference to the seminal 1980s band. A pre-taped introduction from Randy Jackson (who played bass for Journey) opened the station. Naturally, the first song up: “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” Eleven of the first 17 songs are from the 1980s but it’s too early to say how the balance will play out over time.

12:03 p.m. Journey “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” (1981)
12:07 p.m. Madonna “Holiday” (1984)
12:12 p.m. Michael Jackson “Rock With You” (1980)
12:15 p.m. Bon Jovi “Living on a Prayer” (1987)
12:19 p.m. Lenny Kravitz “It’ Ain’t Over Til It’s Over” (1991)
12:23 p.m. Simple Minds “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” (1985)
12:27 p.m. Pat Benatar “Love is a Battlefield” (1983)
12:32 p.m. Matchbox 20 “3 a.m.” (1998)
12:36 p.m. Animotion “Obsession” (1985)
12:40 p.m. Billy Idol “White Wedding” (1982)
12:44 p.m. Annie Lennox “Walking on Broken Glass” (1992)
12:48 p.m. The Cars “You Might Think” (1984)’
12:51 p.m. Ace of Base “All That She Wants” (1992)
12:55 p.m. Hall & Oates “Kiss on My List” (1981)
12:59 p.m. TLC “Waterfalls” (1995)
1:03 p.m. Was (Not Was) “Walk the Dinosaur” (1987)
1:06 p.m Seal “Crazy” (1991)
1:11 p.m. Don Henley “Boys of Summer” (1984)
1:15 p.m. Alanis Morrisette “You Oughta Know” (1985)
1:20 p.m. Toto “Africa” (1983)

The format is an obvious way to take the edge off Star 94’s all-90s weekend and B98.5’s long-standing all-80s weekend. Star ranked No. 2 among 25 to 54 year olds only behind V-103 in May Arbitron ratings during the weekends. That’s stronger than its weekday numbers. B98.5’s most robust time period is weekends as well, ranking fifth among 25 to 54 year olds last month.

B98.5, which has seen ratings erosion this year, recently dropped its slogan “Atlanta’s Best Variety of Soft Rock” to “Your Favorites from ’80s, ’90s and Now.” It also began playing more current songs and now plays 50 minutes of music in a row per hour with only one commercial stop set. Star 94 is on the upswing, beating Q100 among 25 to 54 year olds in May in the Arbitron ratings for the first time in many years.

Journey appears to skew old enough as not to disturb sister station Q100, the top 40 station.

Atlanta-based Cumulus, which owns 97.9, had been airing heritage alternative rock station 99X at 97.9 until last week. 99X has since moved to the more logical 99.1. (Read more about that here.) Both the 97.9 and 99.1 signals are called “translators” and not very strong. But 97.9 does cover the core of Atlanta and the northern suburbs. Of course, you can also listen to the station online or if you had an HD radio at 99.7’s HD3 signal.

Radio Insight expects Rick Dees (remember him and his countdown shows and “Disco Duck”?) will be the syndicated mid-day or afternoon show, as it is at the new Journey station Cumulus created in Cincinnati. [UPDATE on June 24, 2011: Dees will be joining Journey in syndication form starting Monday, June 27 from 3 to 7 p.m. Still no word from Cumulus on whether they plan to add any local jocks at all.]

The jingles sound very old school. I’ve reached out to Gary Lewis, senior regional manager for Cumulus, to see how long the station will go without commercials and whether they plan to add local jocks. He was in a meeting and will call me back.

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

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

41 comments Add your comment

Dan

June 17th, 2011
12:19 pm

Do you think there will be any other DJs besides Rick Dees?

[...] The new format will flank sister CHR “Q100” 99.7 WWWQ against Lincoln Financial Media’s Adult CHR “Star 94” WSTR and Cox’ AC “B98.5” WSB-FM targeting the older end of the female demographic. Rodney Ho of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has more of the launch details. [...]

Rodney Ho

June 17th, 2011
12:27 pm

Not in the near term. It may depend on how much Cumulus can generate in revenue from the station in the early going before they decide whether to invest in local on-air staff.

I'm luvin it

June 17th, 2011
12:41 pm

Sounds good so far. I have SiriusXM and the 80s and 90s are my faves. This station may save me the $12.95 a month. I will give it a few more weeks and see.

D

June 17th, 2011
12:55 pm

4 of the songs in the first half hour set remind me of my high school days (81-85), when It was all about this new music format called “videos”. BET was first on the scene and MTV came shortly there after. You’d constantly switch channels between BET and MTV to see which channel was playing the better video. I’ll tune and program this one in when I get in the car, after work.

Jennifer

June 17th, 2011
1:35 pm

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there, does it make noise?

Blondie

June 17th, 2011
1:43 pm

Star 94’s 90’s weekend, B98.5 plays 80’s thru today, now. And even True Oldies is now playing 80’s too. You’re right, Cumulus… we really needed a station that plays 80’s and 90’s. #sarcasm.

CJ

June 17th, 2011
1:50 pm

Enter your comments hereHate to bea stickler for details, but Alanis Morresette – You Oughta know was realeased in ‘95, not ‘85 as previously mentioned. …I heard the launch of the station through format change.com and it sounded very well done.

WAR EAGLE

June 17th, 2011
1:58 pm

ok- I saw the line up and it SUCKS! Lame, overplayed songs. Rock with you, white wedding, all she wants, walk the dinosaur- Pathetic. Where is Duran Duran? Fleetwood mac? the Eagles? Boston, 3 Dog Night? Linda Ronstadt? The B52’s? the Gogo’s? Speed Wagon? Kiss? Zeppelin? Instead he gets these songs that would not light up a nite lite! No wonder atlanta radio is so dull.

Troglodyke

June 17th, 2011
2:11 pm

I also enjoy those 2 decades’ music, but why must they keep playing the same tired “hits” from that period? I hear 80s and 90s “hits” all over the place these days. Intersperse the hits with some less-popular tunes from those eras, please.

That’s always been my biggest beef with commercial radio: I know you have thousands of songs…why do I only hear a couple hundred on a regular basis?

When I got my Sirius rado, I was told it would be as I wished, but the sad fact is that the 80s channel and the 90s channel on Sirius do the exact same thing: keep playing the same worn-out songs over and over. At least on Sirius I have more choices by switching channels. Which I do. A lot.

Troglodyke

June 17th, 2011
2:13 pm

And here’s another annoying thing…on “current hits” stations, what happens to the songs after a few months? You never hear them. Like, EVER. It’s as if they can either play them constantly, or never play them.

After a song is getting worn out, and it can’t actually be called a current hit anymore, where does it go?

Drew

June 17th, 2011
2:39 pm

what are the call letters, i want to see if i can stream it on my iphone

Dan

June 17th, 2011
2:49 pm

@Drew It’s on a translator it’s W250BC and it’s on HD-3 on 99.7.

Timothy

June 17th, 2011
3:04 pm

Yeah, that’ll work, same burned out tired songs from decades ago, 1 share likely out of reach with this bad boy LOL

jungleland2

June 17th, 2011
4:13 pm

Atlanta stations are the worst in the country. If they are going to do 80’s they should go all in (and do at least as good a job at Sirrius/XM – although they are very POP – I’d like to see more 80’s variety there too). 90’s doesn’t really work as a format. Of course this station is trying to be the 80’s version of “The River”, the kings of same-old same-old.

Kennesaw Dave

June 17th, 2011
5:12 pm

I hope it doesn’t flop like the all 80s station that they tried on 105.3. I’ll definitely be checking it out when I get home either way though. I don’t know if they could afford him, but it might be a good idea to see if they can get Steve McCoy on there to do mornings. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind being employed again.

Jon Lester

June 17th, 2011
8:06 pm

Like WE says above, the lineup above seems to suggest a rather narrow playlist, perhaps enough to make the old Fox 97’s 300-song bank seem vast by comparison. Nicknaming the station “Journey” does not help matters.

Wink

June 18th, 2011
8:50 am

B98 is in a weakened position and is certainly ripe for the picking but someone needs to do it with a big powerful AC station. Journey will just be an annoying fly buzzing around.

Linda

June 18th, 2011
11:29 am

If this station sticks a Daughtry song on every 20 minutes and plays Kelly Clarkson every 25 minutes along with this current line-up, it will be EXACTLY like B-98.5. Great – one more worthless station on the ATL FM-Dial.

Christoper Rude

June 18th, 2011
11:31 am

Any “Journey” station without programming input from Southside Steve would be a crime…tell em Steve, y’cmon!

Where's Good Music

June 19th, 2011
10:25 am

Whoa! Went to listen to Atlanta’s best radio show, Organic X and hear a Journey song. WTF? A whole station based on a crappy 70′/80’s band? They sucked then and they suck more now. Music for Jersey mall rats. Back to Sirius XM.

greshambrown

June 19th, 2011
10:34 am

But what about the black people?

Braves #17 Fan

June 19th, 2011
10:51 am

I like it. I hope they throw in some Loverboy and Night Ranger as well.

Hell-Bent

June 19th, 2011
11:47 am

Ugh. More formatted formulaic pablum. Radio is officially dead in this country, yet Corporate Radio hasn’t gotten the message. Any fool who listens to this crap probably votes Republican anyway. What we need is an independent NON-Corporate radio station in this pathetic town. One in which the DJ realizes we’re not there to listen to his formatted sad excuse of “banter”, but to listen to music. Discover new music which is not backed by some huge corporation and make up our minds for ourselves what is good and what isn’t. Turn OFF your radio and listen to your iPod!!!!!!!

Beck

June 19th, 2011
11:58 am

Gresham – quit trying to racebait; I never cease to be amazed at the ignorance of people who get on here trying to stir something up.

Any idiot would know that (a) black people are not a monolith, period; (b) we are especially diverse when it comes to music, among many other things; and (c) there were SEVERAL black artists in that line up that prove that (perish the thought) (d) white people enjoy lots of different types of music too.

Tyrone Biggums

June 19th, 2011
12:06 pm

Cool, I will be adding this station to my presets.

Traffic Headache

June 19th, 2011
12:39 pm

If the Journey 97.9 playlist plays in the forest and nobody hears it, does it still suck?

Jeff

June 19th, 2011
12:56 pm

Radio is a sound salvation.. Radio is cleaning up the nation.. they say you better listen to the voice of reason.. but they don’t give you any choice cause they think that its treason..

So you had better do what you are told.. you better listen to the radio..

The Other Jeff

June 19th, 2011
1:19 pm

Hey, Hell Bent at 11:47 a.m… great idea! This Republican turned off commercial television news LONG AGO, since it is completely liberal and Democratic-biased and not even ashamed out it. Great point about people thinking for themselves…. you’re absolutely right, we shouldn’t let corporate radio tell us what to listen to. Neither should we let Oprah Winfrey, Keith Olbermann, NPR, Katie Couric, Joey Behar, Pierce Morgan, or anybody else on TV tell us how our traditional values are wrong and outdated and evil.

See how that can be turned around, Hell Bent? Be careful what you wish for, my friend. You said we need to “make up our minds for ourselves what is good and what isn’t.” Much of America is doing that… I think you’ll see some changes in the coming years, and you’re not going to like it, but it’s going to be the best thing for our nation’s character.

DLink

June 19th, 2011
1:30 pm

Wonder if it will get past the firewall at work… Just curious, we have an actual, you know, radio. Sounds good, not too controversial, listening online as I type. Bookmarked.

That said, what’s up with bandwidth in the US? No money for infrastructure? Happy father’s day BTW.

N. W.

June 19th, 2011
10:23 pm

How does publishing the playlists of stations qualify as journalism? You have a platform, start using it for something interesting.

TVboy

June 19th, 2011
11:24 pm

i don’t understand why any ‘new’ format that comes along has to be a re-tread of other formates already here!! i would have much preferred a smooth jazz format or a soft rock/light rock format we currently DO NOT HAVE. OK? i mean, we have 5 rock stations, now we have at least THREE 80s/90s stations, countless urban formats, etc etc.

Rap is C-Rap! (Corparate Rap)

June 20th, 2011
12:06 am

There are non-commercial stations in Atlanta – WCLK, WRFG, WRAS, WABE – please check out and support these wonderful stations.

Chaddd Scottt: living under an I-85 overpass

June 20th, 2011
9:13 am

whoa……….. this is a helluva concept!

th

June 20th, 2011
10:28 am

I hope the program director will take some of the advice given here and change up the playlist to include some more obscure songs. I can’t stomach Star 94’s 90’s weekend anymore!! All I hear is Backstreet Boys & NSync.

Anderson

June 20th, 2011
12:05 pm

I will be checking this new station out…..glad to see that B98.5 is shaking things up a little.

Jim R.

June 20th, 2011
12:07 pm

Oh yes….remember the old Fox 97-wasn’t that the “Great Times, Eight Oldies Station????

The Regular Hacks on 100.5 Rock

June 20th, 2011
12:58 pm

Tune in if you can’t sleep!

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzz

TheLazyComic

June 20th, 2011
8:26 pm

Even thought I didn’t think that music line-up listed here was bad, the station is still owned by Cumu-sucks… which will be be so busy chasing the dollar bill, they’ll have the station sounding like all the other turd properties they own.

Pago Flyer

June 20th, 2011
9:18 pm

Is it just us, or are those Doritos commercials pretty gross.

katlee

June 22nd, 2011
11:05 am

Ok, listened for 2 days off & on… lot of great and missed songs being played by there are so many repeats.. 20 years of music to sort through, there shouldn’t be any repeats… I like Sheryl Crow but come on’…. and the Backstreet Boys, and Paula….. sooo much more out there…