99X’s radio transmitter catches fire

The station’s back-up transmitter is keeping it going at the 100.5 signal

99X’s radio transmitter on top of the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel downtown caught fire Monday afternoon.

Fortunately, the station’s back-up transmitter on the same site was still working and covers about 95% of the original signal, according to Atlanta-based market manager Sean Shannon in a text exchange Tuesday with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“Getting it repaired will take some time,” he said.

The station, which is on the 100.5 FM signal, was formerly a harder-edged classic rock station called Rock 100.5 but switched to 99X last month, playing a format of largely classic alternative rock hits from the 1980s and 1990s gleaned from original 99X playlists. It has not used any jocks the past month.

Shannon said this transmitter problem won’t impact the station’s planned announcement of its opening slate of on-air personalities this Thursday at 7:35 a.m.

“Poor timing for sure,” he noted.

The 99X Facebook page showed video of the fire, noting “this is not a stunt. An investigation is under way.”

Shannon said there was no sign of lightning in the vicinity when the fire started at 1 p.m. Monday.

99X was a seminal alternative rock stations in the 1990s through the 2000s but was taken off air in 2008 due to lagging ratings. Different versions of the station remained on smaller signals since then and most recently had been on 98.9 playing a mix of older and new alternative rock music.

Brian Phillips, chief content officer at Cumulus, helped start 99X in 1992 and is trying to bring back some of the original key on-air members of the station. Axel Lowe, a long-time afternoon jock with 99X who was doing the same with Rock 100.5, will certainly return. Yvonne Monet, who had been doing mid-days at sister station Q99.7, will likely have a role.

Steve Craig recently left his post as morning host and music director at the much more popular rock station 97.1/The River but has not said what his next move will be.

About the Author

Editors' Picks