Leslie Fram reunites today with Steve Barnes as co-host of the re-launched legendary 99X morning show now known as “The Morning X with Barnes and Leslie,” Cumulus Media announced Monday. The radio broadcast, which had its original success on Atlanta’s alternative rock station from 1994 to 2003, airs from 6 – 10 a.m. ET each weekday with all-new content as well as classic segments from the legacy show. The show can also be streamed on 99X.com or via the 99X app.
After an unexpected outpouring of fan interest following the launch of a 99X “museum” website in October 2022 commemorating the 30th anniversary of the station’s founding, Cumulus Media acquired the classic call letters and resurrected 99X WNNX in Atlanta in December 2022. The station’s ratings doubled in its first month on the air and exhibited further growth with its January performance, quickly vaulting into Atlanta’s top-ten-rated stations. Barnes has hosted the revamped program since January 2023.
The popular podcast The Pop Culture Show that the duo founded at the onset of the pandemic now re-brands as The Morning X with Barnes & Leslie and joins the Cumulus Podcast Network. Episodes will drop each weekday, featuring both new programming and classic material from the legendary radio show.
In 1994, Brian Philips, now Chief Content Officer at parent Cumulus Media, had paired Barnes and Leslie on the original “Morning X with Barnes, Leslie and Jimmy” (Baron). The show and station enjoyed Atlanta success and national notoriety for more than a decade, and the team earned Billboard Magazine’s National Major Market Morning Show Award in 1996, and Radio and Records’ National Major Market Morning Show of 1999.
“This ‘new original 99X’ was destined to be—it is a passion project, a labor of love. None of us has ever stopped being friends, loving the same music, or laughing at the same jokes,” remarked Philips. “The audience demanded the return of the station via a social explosion of affection and nostalgia. Only in Atlanta could the will of the loyal 99X audience make the impossible happen. It’s unprecedented to be able to entirely rebuild a classic station with members of its original cast.”
“It’s a thrill to come back ‘home’ to The Morning X and 99X,” said Barnes. “It’s mind blowing that the fans asked for our return to the Atlanta airwaves and Cumulus gave us the chance to put our team back together to rebuild this franchise.”
“99X was my home for 17 years and will forever be in my DNA. Those years prepared me for my current role at CMT – understanding a loyal fanbase of music lovers who truly lead the way,” said Fram. “You only have to glance at the comments from 99X listeners reminiscing about their favorite music and memories to appreciate the role this radio station played in their lives. The Foo Fighters sang, ‘If everything could ever be this real forever, if anything could ever be this good again’ … and it turns out it can. I am psyched to be working with some of my lifelong friends and colleagues on 99X again and thankful to my Paramount/CMT family for letting me continue to put my rock hat on with Cumulus during my off hours.”