Radio and TV Talk

Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

Classic hip-hop OG 97.9 replaces Q100 at 97.9, then 102.9 went Boom!

LL Cool J back in the day.

Fans of Notorious B.I.G., Salt-n-Pepa and LL Cool J rejoice! The classic hip-hop  revolution has begun on Atlanta FM radio.

Last week, it was Steve Hegwood's Old School 99.3/1010. Today? Cumulus has dropped its quizzical Q100 at 97.9 (a top 40 offshoot of Q100) after two years for OG 97.9. OG stands for "original gangsta."

The station, based on its early play today, appears to be covering hip-hop primarily from the 1990s and early 2000s. Over two hours this afternoon, OG played two songs from the 1980s and two from the 2006-2008 period, with six-year-old "Mad" by Ne-Yo the most recent cut played.

You can listen to OG 97.9 here.

You can listen to Old School 99.3/1010 here.

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Another Atlanta station might flip, too, said Hegwood, though he wouldn't say who he thinks might do it. UPDATE at 6:27 p.m.: He was right. Radio One created Boom 102.9 at 5 p.m., a third classic hip hop station in Atlanta you can listen to here at www.myboom1029.com

Details of Boom is here.

OG 97.9 logo

Atlanta's first hip-hop station debuted a generation ago in 1995 at 97.5. Dubbed Hot, it was an immediate hit and forced standard-bearer urban station V-103 to start playing more rap. Since 2001, Hot has been at 107.9.

"The time is right" for the old-school format,  said Mary Catherine Sneed, who helped start Hot in 1995 and over the years, oversaw country, rock and hip-hop stations. "This is similar to way classic rock came to be in the 1980s." She hopes the stations will play more variety than classic rock stations tend to do.

Rob Roberts, program director for OC 97.9 and top 40 station Q100, said this flip was planned  before Hegwood changed 99.3, which had previously focused more on R&B from the 1970s to 1990s. But an earlier plan to change 97.9 first to Christmas has been changed to 98.9 instead. That station began playing country with a slightly older skew than Kicks 101.5 (NASH Icon) in August. I'm not clear how they will format the Christmas there now. I was told 97.9 was going to a be a top 40 heavy Christmas format but it would now make sense to give it a country twist. (Greg Frey, who oversees 98.9, declined to comment.)

This new format is suddenly the rage nationwide, with stations in Houston, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Jacksonville, FL, Philadelphia and Dallas flipping in recent weeks. Sirius XM has had the format since 2009 dubbing it Backspin on Channel 46.

2pac dear mama

Currently, 97.9 has a better signal. (It's a translator, which is by its very nature relatively weak and covers mostly within 20 miles of downtown.). But Hegwood said 99.3 will be moving in two weeks to the same spot where his hip-hop Streetz 94.5 is, emanating out of downtown and maximizing reach to its target black audience.

UPDATE 12/15/14: As Hegwood promised, the signal was moved closer to downtown Atlanta in mid December, so a bigger populace are now able to here it.

97.9 at Q100, which debuted in the fall of 2012, drew a 0.6 share in the most recent ratings book, which isn't bad given the signal and about average. It was presumably set up to try to take away share from Power 96.1 and bolster the mother ship Q100. It played newer music than Q100 and had no jocks. Plus, it gave people who wanted music in the mornings an alternative from the Bert Show.

The ads haven't been updated yet - at least on the on-line version. At 2:53 p.m., OG 97.9 played promos  for Q100 including a big from the Bert Show..

Here is a sampling of OG 97.9:

1:39 p.m "Tennessee' Arrested Development (1992)

1:43 p.m. "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" Missy Elliot (2001)

1:46 p.m. "1-2-3-4" Coolio (1995)

1:50 p.m. "Livin' it Up" Ja Rule (2001)

1:53 p.m. "Loungin' " LL Cool J (1996)

1:58 p.m."2 of Amerika's Most Wanted" 2Pac (1996)

2:03 p.m. "You Owe Me' Ginuwine and Nas (2000)

2:06 p.m. "Ride Wit Me" Nelly (2001)

2:10 p.m. "Mad" Ne-Yo (2008)

2:14 p.m.'Mo Money, Mo Problems,' Notorious B.I.G. (1997)

2:20 p.m. "It Was a Good Day" Ice Cube (1993)

2:26 p.m. "Real Love" Mary J. Blige (1992)

2:30 p.m. "Mona Lisa" Slick Rick (1988)

2:32 p.m. "Lose Control" Missy Elliott (2005)

2:35 p.m. "Rump Shaker" Wreckx-n-Effect (1992)

2:41 p.m. "Let's Get Married" Jagged Edge (2000)

2:44 p.m. "I'll Be Missing You" Puff Daddy and Faith Evans (1997)

2:48 p.m. "No Diggity" Blackstreet (1996)

2:56 p.m. "Ice Ice Baby" Vanilla Ice (1990)

3 p.m. "Frontin' " Pharrell Williams (2003)

3:04 p.m. "Dear Mama" 2Pac (1995)

3:09 p.m. "Blow the Whistle" Too Short  (2006)

3:13 p.m. "Welcome to Atlanta" Jermaine Dupri (2002)

3:17 p.m. "Keep Their Heads Ringin' " Dr. Dre (1995)

3:22 p.m. "I'll Do 4 U" Father MC (1990)

3:25 p.m. "It's Tricky" Run DMC (1986)

3:29 p.m. "21 Questions" 50 Cent (2003)

3:32 p.m. "Bonita Applebum" A Tribe called Quest (1990)

3:36 p.m. "Differences" Ginuwine (2001)

A comparison with what was played in a sample hour on Old School 99.3/1010

3:38 p.m. "Hypnotize" Notorious B.I.G. (1997)

3:42 p.m. "Right Here" SWV (1992)

3:47 p.m. "It's Goin' Down" Yung Joc (2006)

3:52 p.m. "Don't Stop Get It Get It" Uzi  (some sort of remix of schools)

3:58 p.m. "Blame It (On the Alcohol)" Jamie Foxx (2008)

4:03 p.m. "Money Power Respect" Lil Kim (1998)

4:06 p.m. "Not Tonight" Lil Kim, Missy Elliott, Da Brat, Angie Martinez, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes (1997)

4:11  p.m. "I Like" Guy (1989)

4:15 p.m "Freak It" Da Brat (1998)

4:20 p.m. "Dear Mama" 2 Pac (1995)

4:24 p.m. "Push It" Salt-n-Pepa (1987)

4:29 p.m. "ATLiens" OutKast (1996)

4:32 p.m. "How We Do" The Game (2004)

List of Atlanta radio stations

About the Author

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

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