August 31, 2012
What is going on with Atlanta radio?
First we get word that Z93 (yes, I know it is Dave FM but I have lived in Atlanta for 30 years so it will always be Z93 to me.) is going to switch to sports radio at the end of September or October. Then 96 Rock (again I know it is, er was, Project 96.1) just up and changed to a Top 40 station with no warning.
It just makes me sad. I have always said Atlanta has to be one of the biggest cities with the crappiest radio and now it just got worse. Those of us who enjoy rock music, classic or otherwise, should be especially sad. Apparently, the radio gods hate us. (Us and my parents’ generation. There really isn’t an oldies station anymore.) We only had five rock stations to begin with and we just lost almost half. Without Project or Dave, that leaves The River 97.1, Rock 100.5 and 99x on 98.9.
Project 96.1 was a unique station. It offered some real rock songs. There will now be a void in Atlanta radio for people who want to listen to harder rock. And I doubt they will all of a sudden turn to Top 40. It seems to me that the Project 96.1 audience might be the exact opposite of the Power 96.1 audience. And can we talk about that name? Power 96.1 sounds ridiculous. It just makes me think of the ’80s and Power 99. (Which is now 99x and my favorite of the Atlanta stations.)
I’m saddest about Z93/Dave FM leaving us. It had a nice blend of classic rock and new alternative rock. It was my second favorite station after 99x. I loved the Radio Free Lunch hour with Mara Davis. I loved how all the songs were tied together with a theme and you could hear some songs you hadn’t heard in a long time. And then you could hear some funny, cheesy ones with the daily cheese. And now it is going to be sports talk. Boooooo. Don’t they have a whole band for talk radio called AM? Why do they have to invade the music band? I know FM gets better reception but booooooo. I do not like this trend of talk radio invading my FM stations. Oh and if I’m your passenger and you want me to go to sleep, put on talk radio and in 20 minutes I’ll be nodding off. But that is just me.
It is the slow death of variety. Sure five stations might be a bunch of rock stations but they were/are each unique and didn’t all play the same stuff. The Top 40 stations play the same top 40. I now can hear the new Katie Perry song on what seems like 12 different stations and sometimes all at the same time. That is terrible. What about if you don’t want to hear the new Katy Perry song? What’s an Atlantan to do? You turn off Atlanta radio and listen to a CD or iPod or satellite radio. That’s probably not what Atlanta stations had in mind, but that is what I’m doing and I’m sure several others will, too.
Six years ago, I bought an XM Radio because I was tired of not having a lot of variety and I haven’t looked back. I consider it money well spent. I now have lots of different channels to choose from when I don’t like what is playing and when the XM doesn’t have a song I like, I would see what was on the Atlanta stations. Now I doubt I’ll be checking much on the Atlanta stations since two of my favorites are gone. And that makes me sad.
UPDATE: It looks like 99x is going to take over for Project 96.1 and start a new active rock format starting at noon Saturday. While I am happy that Project 96.1 listeners will still have an Atlanta station to listen to, I am very sad that 99x will die again after being resurrected not too long ago. 99x was my very favorite and I was looking forward to listening to the top 99 of the 90s this weekend. Apparently the radio gods really don't like alternative rock with both 99x and Dave FM dying. Now I might not have a reason to listen to Atlanta radio at all.