By LaMonte Hayes and Kevin Ross
Everyone knows that Atlanta has been making great strides over the last few decades as the black music mecca. It’s not surprising that TV and film production followed. Now the city reigns among broadcast markets with the most urban radio stations in the nation.
How can eleven stations avoid clashing when it comes to requesting artists for shows and appearances? It’s not possible. “Having this many stations in the market certainly keeps you on your toes. I actually like the challenge,” one radio programmer told us. But other programmers that we’ve talked to around the country state the opposite; they see this many stations as causing way too much stress and non-stop work. But as many of us in the radio realm know, there are many people who are addicted to the radio industry, who live and breathe it, and enjoy the competition. The programmers in the market have to be some of the best in order to survive.
- Two classic hip-hop stations, WUMJ and WWWQ
- Two urban adult stations, WALR and WAMJ, which simulcasts on another signal
- Four urban stations, WSTR, WHTA, WVEE and WRDG, which simulcasts on another signal
- Urban oldies Old School 87.7
- One gospel outlet, My Praise 102.5
- One urban AM talk station WAOK
On the other end of the musical spectrum, Hegwood also has a great-sounding adult station in Old School 87-7, which plays classic R&B from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s with only the best hip-hop titles. Old School 87-7 has only been on the air for just over a year and is experiencing incredible success. The station features market veteran Porshe Foxx.
Another issue with the current avalanche of urban radio signals in the market is that two stations have air personalities who are homegrown Atlantans, seasoned broadcasters who hold down the fort and are staples in the community representing competition at its best, as real radio is live and local. Both Greg Street and DJ Nabs are long-time on-air staples with rich histories in the market.
In today’s broadcast climate of national programmers, consultants, and national radio playlists composed by large radio conglomerates, Atlanta is still one of the few radio markets left that dances to the beat of its own drum.Atlanta’s urban radio is famous for giving real radio exposure to local independent artists with a buzz. Other markets’ local artists are often pigeonholed into a mix show only on weekends or late nights — pacifying everyone without truly giving the music a fighting chance. In Atlanta, this scenario is the opposite. Several artists can flourish and grow on a national platform, due to the support of the expansive programming approach in the new urban mecca.
There is no doubt that Atlanta, now a well-rounded entertainment market, will continue to dominate urban entertainment culture.