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In Search of Alternative Radio in Atlanta.

It’s a revolution.

Atlanta’s alternative radio went totally outer limits a few weeks ago. Dave 92.9 FM announced they were switching to sports talk radio (ugh). Project 9-6-1 (formerly 96 Rock) switched to a top 40 format. Then 99X (98.9) announced they were switching to 98 The Bone and filling the hard rock format left open by Project 9-6-1. Having a hard time keeping up? Well if you live in Atlanta it has been one shuffle after another.

Some people don’t understand why I’m so upset. I enjoy alternative rock and have listened to it for years. I remember listening to records, tapes and later cds from bands that weren’t on the radio. They were good – really good – and didn’t have a voice like the pop and traditional rock artists.

I got in trouble in fifth grade in Philadelphia, PA listening to Adam Ant’s Prince Charming album on cassette tape in the library (hee). In middle school I learned about all kinds of cool music from mixtapes traded with friends. Listening to punk bands like The Cramps and Sex Pistols, alternative 80s music like The Church, Depeche Mode, The The and so much more. I wrote letters to radio stations in high school in 1985 when I moved to Greenville, SC asking for them to play different music and new bands. (Good news – Greenville FINALLY has an alternative radio station that just started THIS YEAR!)

When radio stations starting playing these bands dubbed “alternative rock”, it was an awakening. It gave new bands a voice and us bored listeners new music. I moved to Atlanta after graduating college at Auburn University in 1993. 99x was my favorite station and finally was a home for alternative music fans in Atlanta.

How ironic that today is the 20 year anniversary for 99x. I am now listening to Barnes & Steve Craig reminisce on ex99 on Live 365 and it’s their last day broadcasting on this station. Steve did say he was going to start podcasting The Steve Show, so that is good news for fans.

I know radio industry naysayers site losing listeners to internet radio, satellite radio and other competition, but I still prefer to listen to the radio in my car without paying a subscription.

“Arbitron, which tracks radio trends, says at least 93 percent of Americans still listen to traditional AM/FM during any given week.” – AJC

What alternative do we have left to listen to in Atlanta? What are you listening to?

As for me, I am listening to ex99 on Live 365 with some of my favorite DJs from 92.9 and 99X. But it ends today as they seek funding. I appreciate  88.5, 89.3, 91.1, but sometimes don’t get a good signal north of Atlanta. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Read on from some smart Atlanta people:

Is 99X Truly Dead? – Rodney Ho questions if 99X is really gone for sure. The website is still live and so are the Facebook and Twitter pages. I really hope it doesn’t go away.

The End of Dave – Aaron Elya reflects on working at Dave 92.9 FM and also being a fan.

“…Get out there and support LOCAL and REGIONAL music. Don’t let the money driven decisions of major radio corporations make up your mind for you. Choose for yourself…and let them know you did. We have the power of technology to let our opinions be known to the world…it’s time to use it.”

Radio Trends behind the recent upheaval on the AM/FM dial – A summary of Atlanta radio changes.


Some of the recent format changes among Atlanta’s radio stations:

Was: 106.7/Atlanta’s Greatest Hits (oldies, 1960s-’80s) Now: All News 106.7

Was: Project 9-6-1 (hard-edged rock) Now: Power 96.1 (top 40)

Was: Journey 97.9 (’80s, ’90s pop) Now: A spinoff of Q100 which plays the top 20 songs at 97.9 from sister station Q100 at 99.7 (top 40)

Was: 99X at 98.9 (alternative rock). Now: 98.9/The Bone (hard-edged rock)

Was: 640/WGST-AM (news/talk) Now: 640/ESPN Deportes (Spanish-language sports talk)

Now: 92.9/Dave FM (adult rock) Now: 92.9/The Game (sports talk)