Alt 105.7 is off the FM dial, signal now simulcasting Latin hits Z105.3

Atlanta’s primary alternative rock station Alt 105.7 is no longer on the FM dial. That 105.7 signal is now simulcasting Z105.3, the iHeartMedia’s Latin hits station. 

On Sunday night, Alt 105.7 played its final record “Novacaine” by The Unlikely Candidates after seven years on air. At midnight, Z105.3’s “Fantasia” by Ozuna then began airing on 105.7. 

In 2013, the rock station debuted from the ashes of Dave FM, its closest cousin. Dave was killed in the fall of 2012 in favor of Atlanta’s first FM sports talk station called 92.9/The Game, a mandate from the corporate folks at what was then CBS Radio in New York.

But while CBS favored local, personality-based radio, iHeartMedia — which owns the 105.7 signal — opted to focus on the music. It even opted for the most generic name possible for a radio station: Radio 105.7. 

The station played current alternative rock and the greatest hits from the 1990s and 2000s heard on former Atlanta alt-rock king 99X. Radio 105.7’s playlist leaned conservative, with a cautious approach toward adding new songs. 

For a time, Radio 105.7 generated solid ratings, especially among younger listeners, even with a so-so FM signal.

At the end of 2017, iHeartMedia changed the station’s name to something more descriptive: Alt 105.7. It also added a syndicated personality show from Los Angeles for mornings led by Jeff “Woody” Fife but also featuring a former Rock 100.5 and 99X personality Sebastian Davis, known as Sebas.

These moves backfired. Ratings have steadily fallen over the past two years to less than half of what they were in 2017. The latest Nielsen share in March was just 0.9, tied for 24th place overall with Z105.3. Alternative rock itself has been slumping as a genre in recent years while pop and hip-hop have been ascendant. 

Having Z-105.3 on the 105.7 signal expands the pool of potential Latin music listeners.

The 105.7 signal is north-skewing, emanating just south of Woodstock. The 105.3 signal is south-skewing coming between Carrollton and Peachtree City. Combined, the stations pretty much cover all of metro Atlanta. 

“This is a tremendous opportunity to move the signal where more of the Hispanic audience can enjoy the music, information and the top-rated ‘Tu Mañana Con Enrique Santos’ show,” said Meg Stevens, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Atlanta, in a press release. 

The iHeart press release said the station had “moved” to 105.7, which implies this simulcast may not be permanent and a new format may eventually pop up on 105.3. 

This is the current lineup for Z105.3/105.7
Tu Mañana Con Enrique Santos 6 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Orlando Mix 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Luis Treviño 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Jessi Dee 7 p.m. – 12 a.m.

This is also a cost-cutting measure in this uncertain pandemic period. 

Alt 105.7, outside the syndicated morning show, has used three local weekday jocks: Aly Young mid-days, Klinger afternoons and Mike Jones in the evening. Young was the only jock who has been there since day one and was also program director. 

For now, Alt 105.7 will live on as a streaming option and an HD-2 channel on 105.7 for those with HD radio. On Monday morning, Mel Taylor out of Orlando provided hosting duties. 

The remaining alternative rock station on the FM dial in Atlanta is on a weak signal: a version of 99X at 98.9, which focuses on current rock. 

The signal 105.7 has been through eight different names over the past 21 years. 

During the late 1990s, it was a simulcast of news/talk 640/WGST-AM. In 2000, the format changed to rock/pop station Mix 105.7. In early 2002, it became Atlanta’s oldies station Cool 105.7. In 2005, it changed to Viva 105.7, a Latin hits station. In 2009, the bosses switched to Groove 105.7, a dance pop station, re-naming it Wild 105.7 in 2010. It then switched to Radio 105.7 in 2013, then kept the same format with a different name Alt 105.7 in 2017. 

For posterity, here was the final hour of music on Alt 105.7:

11:00 p.m. lovelytheband “Broken (2017)

11:04 p.m. Red Hot Chili Peppers “Californication” (1999)

11:09 p.m. Billie Eilish “everything i wanted” (2019)

11:19 p.m. Gorillaz “Feel Good Inc.” (2005)

11:22 p.m. AJR “Bang!” (2020)

11:25 p.m. Verve “Bittersweet Symphony (1997)

11:28 p.m. Rise Against “The Violence” (2017)

11:33 p.m. Florence + the Machine “Shake It Off” (2011)

11:37 p.m. Green Day “Brain Stew/Jaded” (1995)

11:42 p.m. Grouplove “Deleter” (2020)

11:50 p.m. Cage the Elephant “Social Cues” (2019)

11:54 p.m. Oasis “Champagne Supernova” (1996)

11:58 p.m. The Unlikely Candidates “Novacaine” (2019)

SOURCE: Mediabase 24/7

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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