Q100's campaign to excise the word 'Hotlanta': a status report one year later

By RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com, filed Dec. 3, 2010

A year ago, Q100 started a semi-serious campaign to get rid of the word "Hotlanta."

In an unscientific poll I posted then, there was a wide swath of indifference, mixed with a good number who also believe the term ultra-lame in this day and age. The results: 40% didn't care, 38% supported it and 22% liked the term. I've re-posted the poll to see if people's attitudes have changed.

[poll ID-"313"]

The phrase seems to be said more by folks outside of Atlanta as a way to build "cool" points. Frequently, you hear it from out-of-town music artists on stage. (Curt Smith of Tears For Fears used it twice at Chastain in August, for instance.)

Actor Dean Cain said "Hotlanta" to me in an interview in September and I gently corrected him.

"I get people emailing me every week with Hotlanta violations," said Q100 host Bert Weiss. "It's a long, hard battle. It won't be won overnight. It's so old school, it must be done away with. We must force its extinction."

But it sure isn't going away.  Over the past 24 hours, 140 references to "Hotlanta" popped up on Twitter, many using it to contrast the current cold weather. And Bravo PR (not based here) used it, too:

From BravoPR: Hotlanta Housewives keep getting hotter, scoring over 3 million total viewers this week!

BonoGirlinATL Tracy Christian

Bloody cold in Hotlanta!!

At least a couple challenged the phrase:

Do people really still say "Hotlanta?" That was stupid then, it's still stupid now.

Chrissy Harbison RT @Courtany13: #TheRealAtlanta hate when y'all say HOTlanta

And the negative feedback leaves some outsiders confused:

Michelle31AXO Michelle Rodriguez

I'm confused...so is it not cool to say

Hotlanta

anymore? What is it called now? The Big A? I'm losing my cred at an alarming rate! haha

Coincidentally, I just met Michelle this morning. She's a publicist for Brian White, an actor on "Men of a Certain Age." This was Michelle's first trip ever to Atlanta so she is now educated on the avoidance of the term.

Q100's Jeff Dauler said there are signs of success here and there.

"Vampire Diaries" star Nina Dobrev, on the George Lopez Show Nov. 17, (sort of) corrected Lopez when he called it "Hotlanta."  But instead of crediting Q100's Bert Show, she credited (huh?) Tyler Perry. "Tyler Perry tells me not to say it... He doesn't want that association. Sorry, Tyler Perry. It's Hotlanta. It's 100 degrees and humid.  It's hot!"

And it may have been too successful in the case of Sara Bareilles, according to Dauler. She recently referenced it in a concert here and was booed. But as Dauler noted, that only confused her. "There is no easy way to explain to her from the audience why they were booing," he said.

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By Rodney Ho, rho@ajc.com, AJCRadioTV blog