NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 09: Drummer Patrick Carney and singer Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys perform onstage during the iHeartRadio LIVE performance and Q&A with The Black Keys at iHeartRadio Theater on June 9, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for iHeart Radio)
Photo: Stephen Lovekin
Photo: Stephen Lovekin

Rock 100.5 brings back blend of current and classic rock

Originally posted Friday, August 30, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

In a move Rock 100.5 has been telegraphing for the past couple of weeks, the station today brought back more current rock music while retaining its classic rock backbone.

The music mix is now a merger of  1970s/1980s-focused 97.1/The River and 1990s/2000s-oriented Alt 105.7 with a heavier sound. 

Songs by the likes of ZZ Top, Pearl Jam, Van Halen and Pink Floyd are now mixed in with current hits by newer acts such as Volbeat, Bad Wolves and Five Finger Death Punch. It also plays new songs by older acts such as Collective Soul, Bush and Godsmack

Rock 100.5 has always geared itself to males more than either the River or Alt. The River plays softer hits by the likes of Elton John and Fleetwood Mac that Rock won’t touch. And Alt will include acts such as the Raconteurs and the Lumineers that wouldn’t fit in the Rock 100.5 oeuvre. That won’t change. 

Before the shift, the most recent tune on Rock 100.5’s regular rotation was 2007’s Foo Fighters hit “The Pretender” while going all the way back to the late 1960s with cuts by Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones. The mix over the prior 30 days, according to tracking firm Mediabase 24/7, featured  6 percent 2000s, 28 percent 1990s, 33 percent 1980s, 27 percent 1970s and 3 percent 1960s. 

The mix today over the first 75 songs since the playlist was adjusted at 10 a.m.: 41 percent 2000s to now, 32 percent 1990s, 13 percent 1980s, 7 percent 1970s, 2 percent 1960s. 

The 1960s through 1980s used to represent more than half the playlist. Starting today, it drops closer to 20 to 25 percent with at least two new songs played per hour. 

Over its 12-year history, Rock 100.5 (WNNX-FM) has shifted course a couple of times on playing more current active rock. But it has held largely to its classic focus the past five years covering Hendrix to late-era grunge. 

The station is not doing as well in the ratings as it did last year or even in January so management decided to make the move.

It ranked 18th in July in the overall ratings with a 2.2 share. That’s down from an average of 3.1 last year, good for 15th place in 2018. 

Among 25 to 54 year olds, it averaged a 3.9 share last year, which was 11th place. This year, it has seen that share drop from 3.1 in January to 2.6 last month.  With 18 to 34 year olds, the station finished in eighth place with a 4.5. This year, that share has falling to an average of 3.5 through the first seven months. 

Veteran jock Axel Lowe was brought in as new program director last month, replacing Greg Ausham, who worked there for five years. “When the station is not in the top 10 of their target demos, there’s a problem,” he wrote me at the time. “I have a game plan to make the station win.” (Axel - a former 99X jock who has been with Rock 100.5 on air for many years -  also took back his afternoon shift, replacing Jesse Kage.)

Here is a sample hour from yesterday before the shift, according to Mediabase 24/7:

2:03 p.m. Pink Floyd “Time” 1971

2:10 p.m. Red Hot Chili Peppers “Dani California” 2006

2:14 p.m. Cheap Trick “Surrender” 1979

2:19 p.m. Guns n’ Roses “Paradise City” 1988

2:25 p.m. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers “You Got Lucky 1982

2:29 p.m. Pearl Jam “Jeremy” 1992

2:34 p.m. Van Halen “Jamie’s Cryin’” 1978

2:38 p.m. Led Zeppelin “Dazed and Confused” 1969

2:44 p.m. Green Day “Longview” 1994

2:49 p.m. 6.5 minute commercial break

2:56 p.m. Living Colour “Cult of Personality” 1988

Here is a sample hour from today after the change: 

2:00 p.m. Offspring “Come Out and Play” 1994

2:03 p.m. Foo Fighters “The Pretender” 2007

2:08 p.m. Bad Wolves “Zombie” 2018

2:12 p.m. Lenny Kravitz “Fly Away” 1998

2:16 p.m. Red Ht Chili Peppers “Can’t Stop” 2002

2:20 p.m. Disturbed “Are You Ready” 2018

2:25 p.m. Guns n’ Roses “Welcome to the Jungle” 1988

2:29 p.m. Cake “The Distance” 1996

2:32 p.m. Shinedown “Monsters” 2018

2:36 p.m. Led Zeppelin “Immigrant Song” 1970

2:46 p.m. Stone Temple Pilots “Interstate Love Song” 1994

2:49 p.m. Aerosmith “Sweet Emotion” 1975

2:54 p.m. Linkin Park “What I’ve Done” 2007

2:57 p.m. Queens of the Stone Age “No One Knows” 2002

About the Author

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