Local Radio Saga

I think an interesting history could be written for almost any major area through the lens of its radio stations. Which existed where (i.e. at which frequencies) and for how long, and how popular they were. For example, in the last 18 months or two years Atlanta has had an interesting mini-episode of this.

I suppose we could start by saying that 99.7 FM ("99X") is one of the most popular stations in town. They play tripe most of the time, but that's just one man's opinion out of the several millions of people they reach. Anyway, their format is "alternative" and new rock. It seems that it was around two years ago when a new station located at 96.7 FM ("The Buzz") started up and tried to move in on 99X's market. This proved to be difficult, since 99X is immensely popular, and The Buzz only tried copying them (with little improvement on their format). Add to it that The Buzz's signal was largely static in many places were 99X still came through clearly. After, well, I'm not too sure how long, but I approximate one year, The Buzz dropped the 90s alternative and concentrated only on the worst, most artificial nu-rock they could find. Only recently have they allowed a 90s song to slip through the cracks every now and then.

Cut to 105.3, the 80s station (whose call sign I can't remember). This was not a great station, but was good enough to be one of the presets. (In Atlanta we have a few good college radio stations, NPR, and a handful of mixing and matching among three or four others. Satellite radio, here we come.) There was also 105.7, the oldies station. They played 60s and 70s songs, nothing special. As far as I can gather, there's one of these in most places across the country.

A little over a year ago the 80s station got taken over by a Spanish-language station, and the 80s went...nowhere. Now, the oldies station at 105.7 has been taken over by the Spanish-language station, leaving 105.3 available for The Buzz, formerly of 96.7 FM. What will take over at 96.7 remains to be seen.

There are a million little things that make up a distinct city. There is the architecture, the ethnic groups, the weather, the sports teams, etc. The radio stations are right in that pattern. I'm sure Catallarchy readers can think of the evolution of stations in their own areas. You don't always have it at the front of your mind, but that's part of what makes your city distinct.

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I lived in Atlanta in the

I lived in Atlanta in the late 50’sand 60’s. Most stations were AM but they did have an FM which played all classical. They had a lot of top 40 stations that would rotate the latest hits endlessly. There was really no “college station” that I know of but there was a black station WERD that had a daily jazz program. You got to hear Coltrain, Charles Mingus and Miles Davis as well as speeches by Malcolm X while they were all still alive. Soul music was big in the late 60’s but the psychedelic revolution bypassed Atlanta radio for the most part. You had to go to the store and buy the records without them ever getting much airplay save early Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Atlanta was, however, visited by some very top-notch groups (Janis Joplin, Traffic, etc.) in several “Pop Fests.” Atlanta did have a late 60’s band called the Hampton Grease Band, which was, like a grunge band before there were such things.

The stations I listend to

The stations I listend to most were 62 KGW and KISN 91. They both played pop rock at the time (late 60's early 70s) KISN 91 the last I heard was playing classical (like Vivaldi and Beethoven) and 620 is now Air America. Before it was Air America it was Glen Beck and Rush.