As the ball dropped on 2016, Cumulus has relaunched the venerable “99X” brand in Atlanta.
98.9 W255CJ/99.7 WWWQ-HD2 dropped their decoy AC “Warm 98.9” format after a week to bring “99X” back. Greg Ausham, PD of sister Classic Rock “Rock 100.5” WNNX, will add those duties at 99X as well.
The newly resurrected format debuted with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” cut off in the middle leading into Nathaniel Ratliff & The Night Sweats’ “S.O.B.” and Cold War Kids “First”.
In the three plus years since dropping the Alternative format, iHeartMedia has established “Radio 105.7” as the Alternative station in the Atlanta market, while W255CJ has gone through iterations as Active Rock “98.9 The Bone“, Christian/Country “98.9 The Walk“, Oldies “True Oldies 98.9“, and Country “98.9 Nash Icon“. None of them made any impact in the market.
Original Report 12/29: Cumulus Atlanta is planning something at their Atlanta cluster for New Years Day.
Many staffers of the cluster tweeted the following video this afternoon with the hashtag #itswhatsnext,
— Sean Shannon (@seashannon) December 29, 2015
As we are not one to leave a mystery alone, we happened upon the long dormant Twitter account for @99X, which just happens to have that hashtag front and center. Will the venerable Alternative Rock brand be returning to the market? If it does we expect it will be on its final home of 98.9 W255CJ and not its longtime home on 99.7 that is now CHR “Q100“. The 98.9 translator flipped this week to a satellite-fed Soft AC format, but that could just be a decoy.
99X debuted in October 1992 and quickly became one of the most influential Alternative stations in the country. The station flipped to CHR in 2008, but the brand would return on a series of translators between 2009 and 2012. Cox Media would bring back the X branding for an Alt Rocker in 2014 but that would flip to Country this past June.
A return to Alternative would give a competitor to iHeartMedia’s “Radio 105.7” WRDA Canton/96.7 WRDG Peachtree City.