The newest hip-hop station debuted today on 92.3 and 96.7.
IHeartMedia has also come up with a name that may sound familiar: The Beat.
Cox Media ran a station called 95.5/The Beat from 1999 to 2010, a top 40-leaning hip-hop station. It straddled between the top 40 stations like Star 94 and Q100 and the hip-hop stations V-103 and Hot. In 2010, the company decided to simulcast its AM news/talk station WSB at 95.5 as the power of FM talk was becoming more prevalent and AM was losing steam.
Based on the press release, the Beat sounds like a straight-forward R&B/hip-hop station like Streetz 94.5 and Hot 107.9, citing many of the same artists such as Future, Drake, 2Chainz and Usher.
But the station is sprinkling in a few oldies, perhaps seeking listeners who like both classic and current songs on the same station. I haven't had a chance listen for any length yet. Starting at 11:25 a.m., the staiton played 1994's Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy" followed by current song: Young M.A.'s "OOOUUU," DJ Esco's "Too Much Sauce," O.T. Genesis' "Cut It," Chance The Rapper's "No Problem" and Designer's "Timmy Turner."
The market will now have four stations playing similar music along with V-103, Hot and Streetz. Two other hip-hop stations - OG 97.9 and Boom 102.9 - play classic songs from the 1980s through the mid-2000s.
This will be similar to the pop station battles here, where Atlanta has four stations playing many of the same top 40 artists such as Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes and Adele.
IHeartMedia needed a home for its big New York-based morning syndicated show The Breakfast Club, which had been on Streetz the past two years. It is also adding another syndicated show at night called "Big Boy's Neighborhood" from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. The station is also promising to use local air talent as well. Those shows don't debut until December 5.
For now, the station will air 10,000 songs in a row, commercial free. That's a pretty common way to introduce a new station and will take about three-plus weeks.
"On the surface, it would seem odd to some observers, but the reality is they didn't have anything urban in Atlanta," said Mike Roberts, who runs an R&B station in Macon and used to be morning host on V-103. "This opens up more sales possibilities in Atlanta and statewide. They do have urbans in other markets in the state of Georgia. It's probably more of a where can we find another revenue stream."
Neither signal is particularly strong but combined, they cover a good portion of Atlanta inside the Perimeter and south. (I live in Peachtree Corners and neither signal is particularly clear from here. While driving up to Roswell today, I had to switch to the IHeartMedia app to listen.)
Before the change, 92.3 had been Latino contemporary music while 96.7 has been simulcasting rock station Radio 105.7.
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