|Relays WWWQ-HD3, Atlanta|
|Broadcast area||Atlanta metropolitan area|
|Frequency||99.7 MHz · HD3 (via HD Radio)|
|Format||Classic hip hop|
|Owner||Cumulus Media |
(Cumulus Licensing LLC)
First air date
|c. April 17, 2009|
|Facility ID||n/a (WWWQ: 73345)|
|Class||D (WWWQ: C0)|
|ERP||250 watts (WWWQ: 100,000 watts)|
|HAAT||303 meters (WWWQ: 340 meters)|
|Translator(s)||W250BC/Riverdale, 97.9 MHz|
WWWQ-HD3 (99.7-3 FM) – branded OG 97.9 – is a digital subchannel of Atlanta market radio station WWWQ (99.7 FM). Owned by Cumulus Media, WWWQ-HD3 functions as a commercial classic hip-hop radio station, serving the Atlanta metropolitan area. Using the proprietary technology HD Radio for its main digital transmission, WWWQ-HD2 also simulcasts over Riverdale-licensed low-power analog translator W250BC (97.9 FM), and streams online. The WWWQ-HD3 studios are located in the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs, while the WWWQ-HD3 and W250BC transmitters both reside in Atlanta's Druid Hills neighborhood.
Although licensed as a broadcast translator prohibited from carrying its own programming, it broadcasts under a legal loophole allowed by the Federal Communications Commission, by simulcasting on HD Radio channel 3 of WWWQ FM 99.7, allowing such stations to sidestep the restriction on translators, as well as regulations regarding the excessive concentration of media ownership by a single company in a given media market.
Power and range
It has a power of 250 watts but at great height, and is transmitted from a major broadcast tower near North Druid Hills along with several other FM and TV stations. It has a broadcast range of approximately 20–25 miles (30–40 km), depending on how weather and other factors affect radio propagation conditions of other distant stations that can cause interference.
At 250 watts, W250BC has a broadcast range only slightly larger than 99-watt W256BO, however it also does not suffer from the co-channel RF interference that 99.1 has. Both stations are predicted to cover the core area of metro Atlanta, but the weak signal strength in the exurbs often causes the signal there to be choppy on 97.9, and even more so on 99.1 (which is at 50% power temporarily, dropping signal strength by 30%). Both are at 303.3 meters (995 ft) above average terrain at exactly the same coordinates, indicating their transmitters likely share the same radio antenna through a diplexer. Both are also licensed as class D, meaning they must accept interference from all full-power stations. When Cumulus brought 100.5 in from northeast Alabama in 2001, it was this FCC rule that was used to put WGHR and W264AE off the air.
It was originally a 6-watt translator for WCLK FM 91.9 at Clark Atlanta University, which sold it to another company, which in turn traded it for WZBN FM in south Georgia. It is still licensed to serve Riverdale, although that city has never been within its legally-defined broadcast range. Although identified as "WWWQ HD3" (and previously HD2), the FCC still lists W250BC as rebroadcasting parent station WNNX FM ("Rock 100.5" in analog and HD1, previously no HD2). That station forced two other LPFM stations (like W250BC) permanently off-air when it moved to Atlanta as WWWQ in 2001: WGHR at Southern Polytechnic State University, and W264AE from Georgia Public Broadcasting.
From September 2010 to February 2011, Cumulus also owned W229AG FM 93.7, which broadcasts WCNN AM 680 "The Fan" (originally KAWZ under Calvary Chapel). This was previously carried on WWWQ's HD3 channel, and also transmits FM from the WWWQ tower at the same height, and likely the same antenna as W250BC. It was sold to WCNN owner Dickey Broadcasting by Cumulus, whose CEO is Lew Dickey.
When purchased by Cumulus Broadcasting, the station was changed from a true translator to be the new home for legendary 99X, which had previously been removed from WNNX FM 99.7 (now WWWQ) to make room for Q100's move from WWWQ FM 100.5 (now WNNX, "Rock 100.5"). In the meantime, 99X had gone to being on Internet radio only, returning to FM broadcasting in 2009 on April 17 at 9:09 a.m. on W250BC. Despite the mismatch between the old moniker and the new frequency numbers, the station continued to carry 99X for just over two years, and identified on air as "WWWQ HD2" but listed as having WNNX (at 100.5) as its parent station. In spring 2011, Cumulus bought noncommercial W205CI FM 88.9 (later W258BU on 99.5) and made an identical move as it had with W250BC. It was changed to 99.1 (FM channel 256), and the supposed "translator" station was moved to the same broadcast tower as its parent station. Its broadcast callsign became W256BO, with the last two serial letters being assigned once its construction permit became a broadcast license. It was under program test authority until then, running at 50% power due to legal requirements to ensure proper engineering and installation of its slightly directional antenna.
On June 10, 2011, 99X began simulcasting on both 97.9 and 99.1 until June 15. On the 15th, 97.9 had dead air all night (possibly unintentionally, due to severe thunderstorms in the evening), then began stunting on the morning of the 16th with an hour-long loop of clips of various genres of music, from smooth jazz to dance to country. It also included a segment of tribute to Michael Jackson, snippets of Casey Kasem describing the then-new Compact Disc technology from a 1980s American Top 40, and even old airchecks of bumpers from 99X (from its days on 99.7 FM) and predecessor Power 99 (WAPW), as well as WQXI.
As "Journey 97.9"
At exactly Noon on the 17th, the station began airing its new format as "Journey 97-9", with a three-minute introduction, and a short promo by Randy Jackson, former bass player for 1980s rock band Journey, followed by their song "Don't Stop Believin'". The format was promoted as a "journey" through 1980s and 1990s popular music, similar to another Journey-branded station Cumulus launched in Cincinnati the month before. Industry website Radio Insight confirmed that Rick Dees would be the network-fed DJ on the station as it is at the Cincinnati station (as well as airing Dees' Weekly Top 40: 90's Edition on Sunday mornings and nights). The station was initially running without radio commercials for a few months (before airing commercials by the Fall of 2011), and despite rumors that local air personalities would appear on the station, the station was primarily run by broadcast automation during its run on the frequency.
As Q100 20 @ 97.9
On September 4, 2012, at 3 p.m., without warning, the station dropped its 80s/90s Hits format and replaced it with a format playing a loop of the then-current Top 20 popular music songs, as well as newer hit music, modeled after SiriusXM's now-defunct 20 on 20 channel. The station was branded as a spinoff of sister station WWWQ ("Q100") as "Q100 20 @ 97.9". The format was created to counter-act rival WKLS, which flipped from its long-running Rock format to Top 40 the week before.
As OG 97.9
As a translator, the station did not make much of an impact in the Nielsen radio ratings for the Atlanta market, garnering a meager 0.6 in the Top 20 format's last month. The station began interspersed Christmas music at the beginning of November 2014, as rumors abounded 97.9 would flip to the format full-time and reveal its new format after the holidays, but this turned out to be merely a ruse.
On November 25, 2014, at Noon, after playing "What I Like About You" by 5 Seconds of Summer, W250BC flipped to the ever-expanding classic hip hop format as "OG 97.9", about a week after WTZA (and its FM translator 99.3 W257DF) flipped to the format. The first song on "OG" was Gin & Juice by Snoop Dogg. In addition, the station will also compete against Radio One-owned W275BK, which flipped to the format 5 hours after W250BC's flip.
- Morning Mash with the return of 99X — to 97.9. . ajc.com. April 17, 2009.
- 99X Moves From 97.9 to 99.1 on FM Dial
- "99X Atlanta Moves On Its Journey". RadioInsight. June 17, 2011. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
- "Journey 97.9 Atlanta Debuts". Format Change Archive. June 17, 2011. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
- "Journey 97.9 Becomes Something New". RadioInsight. September 4, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
- Ross on Radio: Q100firstname.lastname@example.org Transitions to CHR
- "Old School 99.3 Atlanta Shifts To Classic Hip-Hop". RadioInsight. November 20, 2014. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
- "Atlanta Gains A Classic Hip-Hop OG". RadioInsight. November 25, 2014. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
- Ho, Rodney. "Radio and TV Talk: Classic hip-hop OG 97.9 replaces Q100 at 97.9, then 102.9 went Boom!". ajc. Retrieved December 15, 2019.