Radio and TV Talk

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

Latest format change: Warm 98.9 becomes a slightly softer B98.5

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Saturday, December 26, 2015

The latest format at 98.9 is as Warm 98.9 is soft pop, or in radio parlance "adult contemporary."

The station finished its month-long run playing Christmas music at about 1 a.m. this morning.

I am in Minneapolis right now listening online. The station on its website Saturday touts itself as the home to  "soft favorites" from the 1970s to today with acts such as the Bee Gees, the Carpenters and Michael Bolton. But what I've heard so far today sounds more like modern-leaning B98.5.

Warm seems to p lay about four 80s songs an hour compared to two or three on B98.5 with just a tad lighter feel (e.g. "Bette Davis Eyes" and "Hard to Say I'm Sorry," heard on Warm, are too soft for B98.5).

The Warm website on day one features acts that are rarely heard on Atlanta radio nowadays such as Bread, Dionne Warwick, Tina Turner, Air Supply, Michael Bolton and Norah Jones.

Sean Shannon, Cumulus Atlanta market manager, emailed me that this was a mistake:

Web team got the wrong list of artists...not a hot A/C though. This is what Lite A/C's sound like today. Westwood One product...

The Warm mix: a few songs from the 1980s ("Always Something There to Remind Me," "Open Arms," "All Night Long," "Let's Hear It For the Boy") with cuts from the 1990s and 2000s ("To Be With You," "My Immortal," "I'm Like a Bird," "You're Beautiful") and currents ("Hello," "Love You Like a Love Song," "Perfect," "Can't Feel My Face"). Here's a sample hour:

11:56 a.m.: "Wildest Dreams" by Taylor Swift" (2015)

12 p.m. "Home" by Daughtry (2007)

12:04 p.m. "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons (2012)

12:08 p.m. "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele (2010)

12:12 p.m."Lay It On Me" by Rudimental (2015)

12:15 p.m. "Missing You" John Waite (1984)

12:19 p.m. "The Sweet Escape" Gwen Stefani (2006)

12:25 p.m. "Try" Pink (2012)

12:30 p.m. "In Your Eyes" Peter Gabriel (1984)

12:35 p.m. "Suit & Tie" Justin Timberlake (2013)

12:40 p.m. "What About Love" Heart (1985)

12:45 p.m. "Some Nights" Fun. (2013)

12:49 p.m. "Like I'm Gonna Lose You" Meghan Trainor (2015)

Warm - which is on a relatively modest signal - is claiming "soft favorites all day," the station liner noted at the top of the noon hour. And the station's taped announcer on air referenced Barry Manilow, Barbara Streisand, Lionel Richie  and Celine Dion by first name. Later, the announcer also mentions Madonna, Sting and Beyonce, which is more like the mix I've been hearing.

Cumulus has used 98.9 as an experimental home for different formats since 2011. Before Warm, it's been alternative rock (99X, God rest its soul), active rock (The Bone), a blend of Christian/country (The Walk), oldies (Ultimate Oldies/True Oldies) and country (Nash ICON). Nash was the longest surviving format to date, lasting all of 15 months.

This is the copy on the Warm website from Saturday the boss admits included the wrong set of acts:

Warm montage

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About the Author

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

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