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99X at 98.9 becomes 98.9/The Bone, grabs Project 9-6-1’s hard rock mantle

372786_139144422896282_1891387218_n99X at 98.9, owned by Atlanta-based Cumulus Media, is grabbing the active rock mantle from Project 9-6-1, which switched to top 40 Wednesday evening.

“We are the saviors of rock,” proclaimed John Dickey, head of Cumulus programming. “We ran Clear Channel out of format. We are going to save rock for all Atlantans.” He noted that they picked up the Regular Guys after 96rock dumped them. “Clear Channel tried to kill off rock. We’re going to save it.”

The station made the switch at noon Saturday with references to Green Day, Offspring, Linkin Park and Godsmack. The first song was Volbeat’s “Warrior’s Call,” followed by the Foo Fighters “Rope.”

Atlanta-based Cumulus, the second largest radio company in the country behind Clear Channel, has reserved,which is just a black screen right now. The company has a rock station called the Bone in San Francisco. Someone found a Facebook page for 98.9 the Bone, too, with the logo above right.

(As for Clear Channel’s move to top 40 with Power 96.1, he said, “They have to get through Star and Q100. I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon. Ryan Seacrest isn’t going to save the day for them. What a mess they’ve dug themselves into.” An effort to reach the new market manager at Clear Channel Matt Scarano failed to render a response.)

For fans of Metallica, Alice in Chains, P.O.D. and Shinedown, this is somewhat good news.

The downside: the signal at 98.9 is relatively weak, a far cry from what 96.1 can project, so it’s not going to be helpful to many harder rock lovers who live outside the Perimeter.

The official change is at noon Saturday with a new name. Right now, the station is airing a sampling of songs that are going to be on the playlist.

488227_139224166221641_1473506249_nFans of 99X’s alternative rock format are going to be disappointed, of course, especially since Dave FM, 99X’s closest cousin, is also dying off in a few weeks for sports talk.

99X’s ratings on such a weak signal were very modest so Cumulus probably figured the signal could pick up more listeners with active rock. It’s a fairly safe bet without a lot of downside.

As a personal fan of Triple A and alternative rock, I’m glad I have Sirius/XM and of course, umpteenth music options on my iPhone to boot.

Historically, 99X was a powerhouse in the 1990s but alternative rock lost its mojo in the 2000s and by early 2008, the station was left online only. In April, 2009, when a translator signal at 97.9 became available, Cumulus placed it back on the FM airwaves. The station in 2011 moved to the very weak 99.1, then to the slightly better signal at 98.9.

I have no clue if 99X will come back in any form. Sister station Rock 100.5 could potentially shift its music mix to attract the now lost Dave/99X listeners. Or not. We shall see soon.

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By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

133 comments Add your comment


August 31st, 2012
6:21 pm

WTF?! I want 99x back!!!


August 31st, 2012
6:22 pm

Steve Craig made posts about

99X Atlanta Is No More

August 31st, 2012
6:26 pm

[...] Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Rodney Ho quotes Cumulus’ John Dickey: We are the saviors the rock. We ran Clear Channel out of format. We are going to save rock for all [...]


August 31st, 2012
6:28 pm

Rodney – his name is Matt Scarano. Might be why he did not return your calls.

Q100 is the worst top 40 station ever

August 31st, 2012
6:43 pm

Q100 SUCKS and so does Star94. Both are not true CHR stations. I’m excited to have a Clear Channel CHR station in Atlanta. Sorry John but most Cumulus radio stations are HORRIBLE!!!

Mike Bell 790

August 31st, 2012
6:49 pm

steve cox

August 31st, 2012
6:58 pm

i dont understand. Why didnt they take rock 100.5 and make it active rock? It has a signal and keep 99x alternative. I cant belive a major city will not have access to new alternative music. Well, i guess thats why i will go to the internet to hear new music. Good bye Atlanta radio, its sucks.


August 31st, 2012
7:29 pm

Where are we suposed to hear up-to-date alternative music? Bad move


August 31st, 2012
7:39 pm

Well that’s just great… if you live inside the perimeter and like “active rock” (wtf is that?). But since 70% or more of the “Metro Atlanta Area” lives outside the perimeter that will still just leave rock fans with just 97.1 (mostly just classic rock) and 100.5 (some classic and some less classic). And now Atlanta radio will be ‘alternative’ free no matter where you live… gee, thanks giant mindless heartless radio corps, just what we needed – another crap pop station. Time to break out the iPod.

charlton heston

August 31st, 2012
7:44 pm

You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! Damn you all to hell!


August 31st, 2012
8:08 pm

Who is going to play 311, red hot chilli peppers, pearl jam the foo fihhters and all the classic 90’s alternative music. Nirvana, no doubt, blink 182 etc they took 99x away like 10 years ago and now again


August 31st, 2012
8:18 pm

Having been here since 68 it kills me to see 961 hemorraging that autotune excrement, and I ALWAYS loved z93/dave and 99x in the glory days. While I don’t run a station, I know they have to show a profit to keep going and why they think 4 stations playing the same exact junk is gonna make em rich is beyond me…sure the dance versions are slightly different but c’mon!!!!!!!!! Atlanta wants to rock this is just insulting to see all the best stations floating down the chattahoochee. Tuscaloosa Alabama has better stations my 77 year old mom and 75 year old dad can rock out better than Atlanta-wtf???? 5 million + are being force fed turds! Sorry for the rant but I just have to say boooooo to corp radio


August 31st, 2012
8:19 pm

98.9 The Bone? Could that name possibly be more juvenile? Blech.


August 31st, 2012
8:21 pm

*deletes 98.9 off of pre-set*

Why can’t we have nice things? Yeah, it was a signal that you couldn’t get OTP, but now we get a station of shouty, angry man-boy music. The “Bone” indeed. Couldn’t they have taken over 100.5 instead? I would imagine the Boner demo is super-OTP.

I wish someone besides Cumulus would take a stab at doing Alternative in Atlanta. The 99x title is meaningless at this point.


August 31st, 2012
8:51 pm

I expected Rock 100.5 to pickup the slack… This week has been full of bad choices… A fourth Top-40, loss of Active Rock, then loss of Alternative for a weak Active Rock… Hopefully they have a good plan for Wild 105.7/96.7 as that is all Atlanta needs in another hip-hop station as I believe two is enough: Hot-107.9 and Streets 94.5… What a waste of radio spectrum. At least for now Journey is safe.


August 31st, 2012
8:59 pm

This is even worse news than 96 going pop, but like you said, the options are with Satellite and internet radio. The problem is this:–says-nielsen-music-360.html

“Radio is still the dominant way people discover music (48%) – followed by tips from friends/relatives (10%), and YouTube (7%), but more teens listen to music through YouTube than through any other source (64%) — followed by radio (56%) and iTunes (53% ) and CDs (50%) – according to results from a comprehensive, in-depth Nielsen study of consumer interaction with music in the United States, the Music 360.”

That means the vast majority of Atlantans over the age of 30 will never hear new alternative, indie, or even singer/songwriter music being released And that is sad.


August 31st, 2012
9:23 pm

I don’t have an iPhone or Sirius/XM radio. 99X was the only thing keeping me current on new, good music. And boy, did it ever! I could go from System of a Down to Fun. From Dead Sara to the Black Keys to Green Day. This was what I listened to religiously during my morning and evening commute. I bragged about 99X to my non-Atlanta friends, who didn’t even know a new Killers album was coming out. All that is gone.

And they did it so unceremoniously, too! At least when 99x went off the air the first time, the DJs knew about it and (mostly) ended their set list with “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”, the ONLY song to say goodbye with. Now, I listen to a little U2 and Social D and then BLAM, 99X is gone. I get the impression that the DJs didn’t even know this was coming.


August 31st, 2012
9:50 pm

You can now hear RHCPs and Pearl Jam on 97.1 The River…alt’s moved on to classic rock. Deal.


August 31st, 2012
9:58 pm

Worst. week. ever. Atlanta radio now officially sucks. This makes me embarrassed to live here. Do other large cities deal with this? Sad.


August 31st, 2012
9:58 pm

Dave AND 99x going away? Seriously.. besides business radio 1190, those are the only 2 music stations in ATL worth a hoot, and they’re both going off the air?

Moving full time to Pandora, Spotify, etc online.. good riddance Atlanta radio!

Calling It Lke It Is

August 31st, 2012
10:16 pm

Cumulus saves the day? My ass! They are the ones that started the downward spiral when they bought Sesquhana and killed the original 99x. They flipped frequencies with Q100, and killed 99x yet again (moving to the internet only), created a “Rock” station and moved it to a lower powered antenna. Only to move 99x to a translator antennae with no reach and moved it how many times?

Dave tweaks their format how many times, then announces they are going to Sports Talk. Project tweaks their format, trying to figur1e out what they wanted to be. Both Project and Dave were grasping at genres, trying to get some sense of identity. Project abruptly changes to Top 40, leaving only Classic Rock and weak signaled Alternative to pick up the listener base that was abandoned by Clear Channel’s amazingly bright idea that Atlanta needs another Top 40 station.

And now 99x abruptly goes down to be replaced by a Cumulus backed knock off of Project. They destroyed what was a nationally recognized Alternative station that was one of the best in the country. They are not going to get anywhere with a weak signal.

How many more stations are they going to flip in this market? 2 literally within the last week with no warning, and 1 within the next 30 days. This goes to show WHY Atlanta has some of the worst radio in the country. With all th flipping and new stations popping up, you don’t know what to listen to on what frequency. UNBELIEVABLE!!


August 31st, 2012
10:50 pm

Bands like Black Keys, The Killers, Airborne Toxic Event, Keane, Grouplove, Walk the Moon, Fun., and Young the Giant aren’t classic rock.


September 1st, 2012
12:04 am

John Dickey is just another corporate mouthpiece. He ain’t doing squat because the people want it. He’s doing it because Cumu-sucks thinks they can sell it. Next lesson.

GT Alum

September 1st, 2012
12:23 am

I know someone in the radio industry who said that everyone at 99X was fired. If they were just going to move the alternative format to some other station, I wouldn’t think they would do that. Now, this is 2nd hand information, so it may not be accurate, but I believe this is likely the death of alternative rock radio in Atlanta.

I was thinking about cancelling my satellite radio subscription a couple weeks ago because I never use it anymore and it seemed like money flushed down the toilet. Now I’m happy I didn’t, because I will probably be using it all the time I’m in the car now. 99X was my primary station, and Dave had become my secondary. Without those 2, it’s probably not worth listening to radio anymore for me.

The project is where its at

September 1st, 2012
1:01 am

Bring back the project and its line up… Alternative rock is out of date and it sucks period


September 1st, 2012
1:16 am

God I am so sick of this crap! WTH am I supposed to listen to on the radio? I think it’s time for Sirius.


September 1st, 2012
1:19 am

See what I dont understand is that project played bands like the black keys, foxy shazam, foo fighters and many band which are heard on 99x and Dave. SO it’s one or the other not both.. How bout adding the new format with the current? Nooooooo then it would be tooo simple.. It then be the Old 99x and we can’t have that now can we… -_-

nCNhonky tonk man

September 1st, 2012
4:14 am

Ok nit wits ,wise guys aye !The time has comelready for alternative music to die.Ok ita road kill people, Garbage, Pixies,everything else 99x trys to reach back an play is older than father time .Get over it and get a life. Wah wah grown babies crying over spilled milk. 99x was good ten years ago people.Not Now!!!!!! 96 rock should come back. Remember the days of playing Mrs Pacman in the Arcade,listening to Sammy Hagar “I cant drive 65″ only on pure Rock n roll 96 rock.Bring it back guys dont be Beef Jerkeys.

epic quibble

September 1st, 2012
7:31 am

Willie B. was my first gorilla.


September 1st, 2012
7:39 am

Again Atlanta shoots itself in the foot of being anywhere near having a great Alternative rock station. Will definitely miss 99x – thank god for Pandora in the car!!


September 1st, 2012
8:01 am

wow. guess i’ll be listening to lots more WABE (i have eclectic taste…) NPR and classical music, at least it drives my kids crazy.


September 1st, 2012
8:24 am

Hideous news. Can Atlanta please, please have some intelligent programming, somewhere?


September 1st, 2012
9:02 am

ATL has the worst radio stations in the country bar none. Thank god for SiriusXM.

really ....

September 1st, 2012
9:03 am

The 98.9 has no signal strength for us south of the city. Saddens me to think of the good ole days when we rocked downtown, bigday out, or even stone mountain park where my wife and i went on our first date. We dont have anything like that now. I am 99X!!!

hey now.....

September 1st, 2012
9:11 am

this week’s radio musical chairs is why I don’t listen to music radio in Atlanta anymore. 790 the Zone is the only local station I listen to. All of my music is streamed on my phone. Atlanta music radio is embarrassing! It’s a joke! I stream KNBT, out of New Braunfels, TX. in the last year, I have, literally, several hundred songs that I had never heard and now have in my collection. 99x/DaveFM quit breaking new ground years ago. They only played what caught on. Both stations were complete jokes!

David Briel

September 1st, 2012
9:13 am

I wished ATLANTA had a 1970’s/1980’s oldies station that plays all types of classic hits such as DONNA SUMMER’S MacArthur Park and MECO’S Star Wars Theme. There were much more better songs in my opinion in those two decades, than now partly because most OF “TODAY’S MUSIC AIN’T GOT THE SAME SOUL.

former RegularGuy listener

September 1st, 2012
9:16 am

Does this mean they are also going to play that God awful Phil Collins’ song–”I Can Feel It Coming In Her Hair Tonight” over, and over, and over again like the other so-called Atlanta’s Rock Stations>?


September 1st, 2012
9:25 am

I’m so sad:( I don’t watch tv…It’s music all day every day in my house. When 99X died it’s horrible death I switched to Dave and it’s been fun…but they are killing that too. Now THIS NEWS???? I’m always amazed when I drive through Knoxville at the awesome rock stations up there…I always hear Tool when I drive through. but here in ATL we can listen to Adele 400 time a day. or Katy Perry. Now on 96.1 too? Really? Way to fill a need there. I guess it’s time to look at satelite radio because what is going to be left to listen too? And I agree…I miss BIG DAY OUT. Best time..awesome music. 99X was THE best in the day. 96.1 Has been rock since I move here in the early 80’s. It makes me sick to think they have debased themselves to play top 40. I’ve been upset about Dave going away since they announcement..but this….I have no words. BAD day for radio in ATL.

Default Settings 2.0

September 1st, 2012
9:29 am

YouTube has become my radio station of choice. (While I am at the house, not driving.)

I am 99X

September 1st, 2012
9:41 am

The DIckey’s are the saviors of rock? What a pompous ass.Cumulus has always been about the money, NEVER about the people or the music. The Dickeys are the walmart of radio…and they will never ‘get it’.

David Puddy

September 1st, 2012
9:42 am

Let’s move Chuck and Turnoff over to The Bone so we don’t have to deal with their pompuos ‘know it all’ schtik anymore.

Calling It Lke It Is

September 1st, 2012
9:53 am

As much as everyone wants P:roject back….it won’t. Clear Channel owns the name and sure as hell wouldn’t give it to Cumulus. The smart thing Cumulus did was to jump on the format as soon as 96 flipped, but to take down a heritage station in the process?? They are going to HAVE to boost the signal if they are planning to have an on-air staff. Otherwise, how are they going get the ad revenue to pay anyone? And, knowing Cumulus, they will take those same songs they are playing in their “teaser” and those will be their playlist. Gone will be the days of playing new bands or new music until it catches on everywhere else.

They should be using Atlanta like Sesquehana did back in the day..lead, not follow. They have the money and power to make something out of this, but do they have the brains and guts? My bet is no. They will take a handful of bands and songs and you will hear the same ones over and over, like Top 40 does. Let’s see them prove me wrong! I doubt they have the guts to.


September 1st, 2012
9:58 am

Just when you think radio in this city could not get worse, these 2 stupid out of town companies find a way. Congrats Cumulus & Clear, you have driven another radio listener away.


September 1st, 2012
10:00 am

And with this move, Atlanta has 0 radio identity. Great job.

I wonder if programmers read Rodney’s blog. The reaction to the Dave switch, 96.1 and now this has been very positive. (sarcasm)

Sam I Am

September 1st, 2012
10:21 am

Dang! I am still grieving that 106.7 went news and I can’t hear The Beatles on Atlanta radio if my life depended on it. All in all, Atlanta radio is a poor excuse for radio. Does anyone in Atlanta have a clue how to program a radio station anymore? If everyone would find a format and stick to it, instead of going all over the place trying to please everyone and not pleasing anyone, Atlanta radio might once again offer listening pleasure.


September 1st, 2012
10:27 am

A Dedication to Clear Channel and Cumulus

Killer in the Home
Adam Ant/Marco Pirroni

I live the life that I’ve been left
I leave most things unspoken
But deep inside Geronimo is tearing me apart
I’ve seen him in the streets
And I’ve seen him in the pictures
Killer in the home
Killer in the home

Now’s the time I must digress
From going through the motions
Take my head out of it’s sling
Free the warrior
I’ll fight him in my dreams
And I’ll fight him till he kills me
Killer in the home
Killer in the home

They cut you in half with a gun
And give you a bandaid
They cut you in half with a gun
And give you a bandaid

Killer in the home
Killer in the home
IS the home


September 1st, 2012
10:31 am

Radio in Atlanta is pretty bad. Sad that this is the case but, for a city with so much music industry, we don’t have the airplay.


September 1st, 2012
10:39 am

@TheLazyComic, John Dickey’s family OWNS Cumulus Media and he is Co-Chief Operating Officer of the company, hardly someone who can be referred to as a “corporate mouthpiece”. Had his comments been coming from one of his lackeys, they could be considered to be a “corporate mouthpiece”.

Any respect I had for any of the Dickeys went out the window when they could have bought the Thrashers and kept them here. After all, they were among several local groups trying to buy the Braves prior to Time Warner selling them to Liberty Media. It would have made perfect sense to buy the Thrashers, the Hawks and the arena rights from Atlanta Spirit seeing as the most money spent on arena improvements since ASG had bought the two teams was the studio stage Dickey Broadcasting built there plus they already had the radio broadcast rights to both teams.

Radio in Atlanta has sucked for years and as a result, I’ve been a satellite radio subscriber for nearly 7 years. You couldn’t pay me to listen to any of the music stations in Atlanta, as they all suck.


September 1st, 2012
10:39 am

Atlanta radio died years ago when the old 98Rock changed it’s format and stopped playing true Classic Rock and 97.1 The River who says they play it can’t seem to get it right, they must be owed by Elton John since every other song is his and can’t reach out too far past 285….. What happen to REAL Classic Rock???

Long live Pandora !!!!!!

Lindsey Gain

September 1st, 2012
10:39 am

This is BS. The only decent radio in Atlanta will be GSU’s Album 88. Not everyone wants to hear the same songs on EVERY station. Way to introduce music with talent and meaning to Atlanta! We want more Nicki Minaj!!