99X’s effective replacement, a harder-sounding station called Rock 100.5 with a weaker signal, survived for many years, but was frequently ousted by 97.1/The River. Last fall, Cumulus management posted memories of 99X’s 30th anniversary on social media and on its website.
The response was so strong, Cumulus Chief Content Officer Brian Phillips, who was part of 99X’s early success in the 1990s, decided to drop Rock 100.5 and return the 99X sound to the vintage music the station played in its early years. .. around the sweepers and slogans of the era. So far, the station has two confirmed original 99X DJs, with management promising more to come. The station also plans to revive its Freeloader program, Live X sessions and the annual Big Day Out concert, among other features.
Douglasville bus driver Scott Mahaffey, 56, started a 99X Facebook fan page four years ago, which only had about 150 followers before 99X officially relaunched in December. It has since passed 2,000 followers.
“People my age missed the 99X,” Mahaffey said. “Radio had become so boring. Now people have recharged and become active again.”
Jimmy Baron, a former Morning X show host, said he’s too busy as a successful full-time realtor to join 99X, but will call in from time to time. “They’re trying to tap into nostalgia by hiring ex-aircrew and using old cleaners and commercials. I think it’s a great game from that point of view. When was the last time you heard someone say they listen to radio for DJs? It connects viscerally.”
For now, the morning show will feature “best of” Morning X clips from the 1990s and 2000s, which Baron enjoys, except when he hears his younger self uttering things that won’t make it to 2023. in such as “chicks”. women. “And there’s no way I can be that fast anymore,” he added, “there’s no way I can make jokes like that now.”
At a time when more and more people are listening to on-demand subscription apps like Spotify and the ever-expanding world of podcasts, can Cumulus find magic in embracing 99X’s storied past? It is still too early to say.
Here are 99X’s top talent updates. Many flourish elsewhere, some still on the radio, some not.
Steve Barnes (1992-2004, present). Barnes was the glue that held Morning X together, the man who kept the show flowing through commercial breaks. He made sure the content is varied, the interviews are tight and the laughs come early and often. He left the show in 2004 to pursue film and production work. Although he didn’t become the next Brad Pitt, he did find a place in his own production company. He was an early adopter of drones, using them to create promotional videos for resorts and hotel chains. He continues to travel the world for clients such as the Four Seasons and Marriott.
He was lured back to 99X late last year to re-host the morning show and develop old 99X material while continuing to juggle Barnes Creative Studios. “This is not corporate bull crap,” he said on air the day he returned earlier in January. “I wouldn’t come back for that.”
Leslie Fram (1992-2008). Frame was Morning X’s pillar, considered the “grown-up” in the room, sandwiched between the sometimes fiery Barnes and the often obtuse Baron. And as a program manager, he often worked 15-hour days, had gigs at night and woke up at 4 a.m. to host the morning show. Her presence ensured the station’s appeal to women as she fully embraced the Lilith Fair sound of Sarah McLachlan, the Indigo Girls and Tori Amos. He also helped launch the careers of artists ranging from Shawn Mullins and Collective Soul to Matchbox 20 and Smashing Pumpkins.
After 99X ended, he spent three years overseeing New York alt-rock station 101.9/WRXP-FM before joining Nashville-based CMT, where he is now senior vice president of music strategy. She has been a major voice promoting female singers and now lives on a farm outside of Nashville.
He’s temporarily co-hosting the 99X morning show with Barnes until a new co-host is announced (and eventually it could be him on a more permanent basis).
Jimmy Barron (1993-2006). Baron was the producer of Morning X as well as a regular on-air joker. He was adept at telephone pranks and April fools. He stayed on the morning show for 13 years. He then hosted a morning show on rival Dave FM from 2009 to 2011 with 99X colleague Yvonne Monet. But after Dave canned her, she became a realtor and has since become one of Keller Williams’ best sellers in town.
“We were the right show at the right time at the right station,” Baron said of Morning X. “If the internet was as popular as it is now, we wouldn’t be able to survive just because of all the DJs getting fired. for now.”
Axel Lowe (1992-2008, present). Lowe originally intended to become a record label representative, but fell in love with radio instead. In 99X, he started as a night boy, moving to late nights, then evenings, then afternoons in 1998. He had more of a hard-rock mentality than most of his peers, so when 99X was dismantled, he stayed on at Rock 100.5. his entire 14-year career.
Lowe, 54, one of Atlanta’s longest-running music jocks, now programs the new 99X and also hosts daytime. Wearing a new black 99X T-shirt, he said he wanted to rebuild a brand that meant so much to so many people. “I just made a remote appearance to promote a boat show in Gainesville, and dozens of people came just to share stories about the 99X with me,” he said. “Passion is incredible.”
Steve Craig (1992-2008). The former 99X midday host is considered an encyclopedic music guru, and his love for the punk band the Ramones is legendary. His afternoon show, The Retroplex, delved into the deeper side of 1970s and 1980s alternative rock. After the initial demise of 99X, he worked with Frame at rock station WRXP in New York, spent a brief stint in mornings at Dave FM in Atlanta before its demise in 2012, then established a home at rock flagship 97.1/The River. There he was music director and worked afternoons and then mornings before resigning last month.
It is widely speculated that he will return to the 99X after his six-month non-compete clause at The River expires.
Sean Demery (1992-1999, 2006-07). Cons are the 99X’s main raison d’être.
The quirky music impresario helped launch rock station 99X in 1992 by ditching the station’s Top 40 format entirely without approval from top management. “I strongly believe that if it weren’t for the 10,000 faxes and phone calls we received in the first weeks of that change, we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing today,” Demery told Virtual Alternative. 1999: “We were trying to create a radio station that was outside of anyone’s category. We never paid attention to whether it was true. It just happened.”
Brian Phillips, Cumulus Media’s chief content officer, says Demery is like “a young Andy Rooney on-air opposite. He would go into his high range for comic effect. He introduced people to new music, made you laugh and think, and most importantly, he made you feel like you weren’t alone.”
Over the years, he also worked at stations in Seattle, Milwaukee, San Francisco and Portland. He died in 2018 after a severe stroke.
In 1997, Demery was so taken with the Verve’s new song “Bitter Symphony” that he went out of his regular programming and played it six times in a row. “I guess you could say it was a combination of a good song and not enough Ritalin,” he joked to the AJC at the time. In Demery’s honor, when Rock 100.5 ended on December 2, the station played the song over and over again throughout the weekend until 99X re-aired it on December 5.
Christopher “Crash” Clark (1992-2005). 99X’s hard-partying boy was eternal comic relief for morning X. He was suspended and fired several times.
“I was a wild child,” she said. “I just added a great personality to a great station.”
After he was last canned in 2005 by 99X, he spent several years working with DJs Fred Thatcher and Rich Schertenlieb in Boston before returning to Atlanta for brief stints at Dave FM and V-103 : In 2014, he was hired to cover traffic for 11Alive’s morning show, and now wears a suit to work, though he sometimes dresses up crazy when the mood strikes him.
Fred Toucher (1999-2006) and Rich Shertenlieb (1999-2003). Toucher started at 99X as a late-night jock, where he honed his energetic on-air persona, then hosted the 99X morning show for several years. Schertenlieb started out at the station as Morning X’s hilarious prankster, whether it was handing out fake Star Wars spoilers to a hostile movie theater crowd or poking fun at feminists at the Masters. After both left 99X, they reunited in Boston, first at the rock station and then in 2009 at 98.5 The Sports Hub. They are now the highest-rated sports talk show on the market, generating huge numbers among men 25-54.
Yvonne Monet (1992-1999): Monet hosted 99X’s popular weekend dance show “The Beat Factory,” talk show “The Pleasuredome” and other specials for the station. He later worked at stations in Dallas, then returned to Atlanta at Dave FM, owning a restaurant and bar. He has also DJed at clubs and special events over the decades. In 2021, he joined 99X’s sister Top 40 station Q99.7 as the afternoon anchor. He will likely contribute to the new 99X as well.
Melissa Carter (1995-2001). Carter, Atlanta’s first openly gay on-air talent, began his radio career as a Morning X newsreader, but he’s better known for his 10 years on Q100’s Bertie Show. He later hosted mornings on B98.5 and then produced a podcast called He Persisted. He is currently doing freelance media related work.
Matt “Organic” Jones (1993-2008). He did overnights for 99X and hosted the popular Sunday morning show Organic X, which featured the lighter, more acoustic side of rock. Since then he has been involved in marketing and promotions for Cumulus, experiential marketing and now business development at a healthcare company.
Brian Phillips (1992-1999, present). He was 99X’s first director of programming, establishing its branding and music direction. After 99X, he was president of CMT for 16 years, then joined Cumulus as chief content officer in 2019.
Will Pendarvis (1992-1995). He was the wild and woolly night boy of 99X in his prime. He then worked at New York’s legendary K-Rock before landing at what is now Sirius/XM, where he programs rock stations.