Pearl Jam’s “Alive” was a fitting anthem as the rejuvenated alt-rock radio station 99x welcomed back original morning show host Steve Barnes and afternoon host Axel Lowe.
Barnes – along with Leslie Fram and Jimmy Baron – were the original hosts of the irreverent and beloved “The Morning X” show, which will return.
Baron, now a successful real estate agent, said he would pop in from time to time, while Fram, now senior vice president of music strategy for CMT, is likely to make appearances as well. She called in this morning from Nashville to welcome the station back.
Barnes said the station will dig into the archives and present the best of “The Morning X” for the next few weeks.
“You’re going to love what’s coming,” Barnes told listeners. “We just can’t say it yet, so please hold tight and enjoy the best of ‘The Morning X’ for the next couple of weeks.”
Barnes said he wouldn’t be leaving his digital marketing business, which keeps him on the road four or fives months out of the year, but said technology advances meant he could broadcast from anywhere in the world.
“We have studios we take with us, so we can be anywhere,” Barnes said. “I’l be in Turks and Caicos in February, but I’ll still be doing the show.”
Lowe returns to the airwaves starting this afternoon from 3-7 p.m. for the evening drive show.
“The gap in between those shows will be filled and you’re going to like it,” Lowe said, alluding to more familiar voices from 99x’s past rejoining the station.
“Stick with us,” Barnes said. “We just need more time to let this play out. The conversation really just started a month ago.”
99x’s comeback started over the weekend of Dec. 3-4 when low-rated Rock 100.5 began playing The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” on a continual loop. Barnes said this was in tribute to late 99x DJ Steve Demery, who died in 2018.
On Dec. 5, 99x heralded its return with a playlist including Nirvana, R.E.M., Foo Fighters, The B-52’s, Green Day, Kate Bush, and Simple Minds.
The Cumulus Media-owned station has also hinted that the “Big Day Out” concert series and other favorite events from the 1992-2008 heyday of 99x will return.
If you’re not in your car, you can stream 99x here.