The format will be a repackaged version of what currently airs on 1070 WAPI with a revamped lineup. Matt Murphy, who had been hosting 9am-1pm on WAPI as well as being syndicated to sisters 740 WVNN/92.5 WVNN-FM Huntsville and 1440 WLWI Montgomery will move to 6-10am while ending his show in the other markets. Andrea Lindenberg, who had been hosting 9-11am on Crawford’s “Superstation 101.1” WYDE-FM will join WZRR/WAPI for a 10-11am show after co-hosting Murphy’s morning show. Richard Dixon moves from 1-5pm on WAPI to 11am-2pm. Former WYDE-FM PD/Afternoon host Leland Whaley also jumps to 99.5 for 2-6pm. Syndicated hosts Mark Levin, Michael Savage, John Batchelor, and Red Eye Radio will round out the lineup.
This is not the first time WAPI attempted to move its programming to FM. It simulcasted on 100.5 WAPI-FM Helena from 2010 until August 2013. 1070 WAPI registered a mere 0.6 share in the Spring Phase 1 Nielsen Audio ratings trends.
Cumulus Media announces that WZRR-FM launched this morning as Talk 99.5, Birmingham’s Real Talk. The former Country-formatted station officially became Birmingham’s newest news/talk station this morning at 6:00 a.m. CST, when it made the flip from interim programming that ran throughout the weekend. Talk 99.5 features a live and local line–up from 6AM-6PM and the best in class of network programming from 6PM-6AM.
The new Talk 99.5 line-up is:
6-10AM: Matt and Aunie with Matt Murphy and Andrea Lindenburg
10-11AM: Andrea Lindenberg
11AM-2PM: Richard Dixon
2-6PM: Leland Live with Leland Whaley
6-9PM: Mark Levin
9PM-12AM: Michael Savage
12-5AM: Red Eye Radio
5-6AM: First Light with Evan Haning
Matt Murphy, WZRR-FM/Talk 99.5’s Program Director and Morning Host, said: “Talk 99.5, Birmingham’s Real Talk is designed not only to be a source for breaking news and information, but as a place for Birmingham listeners to talk about the issues important to them. We are extremely excited to bring an all-star lineup to an all-star state. Our commitment to live and local hosts represents our commitment to delivering the very best news, information and talk to the people of Alabama.”
David Walls, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Media-Birmingham, said: “We will be the voice of our community. There is no better time to launch Talk 99.5 than during this hotly contested political season. Nothing delivers for advertisers like spoken word formats with a 100,000-watt flame-throwing signal. To have Talk 99.5 and Jox 94.5 in our stable just solidifies Cumulus Media-Birmingham as the go-to company for spoken word results.”
“This line-up, local and national programming combined, underscores Cumulus’ commitment to news/talk and the growth of spoken word programming,” added Cumulus SVP/Content & Programming Mike McVay.
The flip takes WZRR out of its three-way Country battle with SummitMedia’s 104.7 WZZK and iHeartMedia’s “102.5 The Bull” WDXB. Those two stations combined for a 10.3 share of the Birmingham marketplace, while WZRR was at a 1.9 share in the Spring Phase 1 Nielsen Audio ratings trends. The return of Classic Rock brings WZRR partially back to its heritage format as it was “Rock 99” from 1988 through the end of 2011.
The station is branding as “If it’s from The South, if it’s about The South, it’s on 99.5 The South” with a focus on Classic Rock/Adult Alternative artists.
The first hour of The South consisted of:
Allman Brothers – Southbound
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama
Bob Seger – Hey Hey Going Back To Birmingham
Zac Brown Band – Homegrown
Alabama Shakes – Hold On
Black Crowes – Hard To Handle
Charlie Daniels Band – Birmingham Blues
Chris Stapleton – Traveller
Mudcrutch – Trailer
BB King – The Thrill Is Gone
John Hiatt – Drive South
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Tightrope
Hard Working Americans – Stomp and Holler
Drivin’ N’ Cryin – Honeysuckle Blue
Sturgill Simpson – Brace For Impact (Live A Little)