Morning X - Barnes, Leslie & Jimmy - resurrected as ‘limited series’ podcast in time of COVID-19

The pandemic has brought back casts of old films and TV shows — at least remotely. 

In Atlanta, Steve Barnes decided to take advantage of all this sheltering at home to create a “limited series” podcast that resurrects one of the most popular and entertaining morning radio shows in town: the Morning X, formerly on alternative rock station 99X.

The podcast, which debuted earlier this month, features Barnes, Leslie Fram and Jimmy Baron, the core trio from 1994 to 2003. The episodes are available on Facebook videoSpotify and Apple podcasts

None are in radio anymore. Barnes has a production company that specializes in drone videos. Fram is vice president of music strategy at CMT in Nashville. Baron is one of the most successful realtors at Keller Williams Atlanta

They aren’t doing this for money but just for nostalgia’s sake and have a bit of fun, too.

Baron said he had texted Fram and Barnes last month to get together for what he thought would be a one-time catch up on Facebook Live. 

But Barnes decided to make it a more regular thing, officially launching April 1. “There’s show prep meetings. There’s promos set up. Rodney Ho probably has a press release,” Baron mused during the first episode. 

“It took a pandemic to get this show back together,” Barnes said. “Who knew a deadly virus could have this much power!” 

Barnes this month has interspersed “greatest hits” from the show’s heyday with fresh 40-minute podcasts. They have done eight so far. He also created special Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

“I have, as well as you, nothing to do, and I’ve got technology at my fingertips, so why not?” Barnes said during the opening episode. 

Photo: The Morning X in 1996. CR: File photo

The first episode featured Bob “the Queen” Killough, a regular character from the original show. In later episodes, they interviewed former 99X traffic guy Christopher “Crash” Clark, consumer guru Clark Howard (another 99X regular of yore) and Mike Stiles, a former Star 94 morning producer who described suffering through COVID-19. 

This week, as a bit, Barnes attempted to fly a drone from his home in Buckhead to Baron’s house in Sandy Springs four miles away. 

“It’s been fun to do during quarantine time,” Baron said in a text Monday.

Scott Mahaffy, a huge fan of 99X, said he is thrilled to hear them again. “They are real people with real feelings unlike pre-programmed jocks today,” he said. “I love the dash down memory lane.” 

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About the Author

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