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Boom 102.9 adds stronger 97.5 signal with Ed Lover & Monie Love aboard

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By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Monday, January 11, 2016

Radio One is giving its classic hip hop Boom station an upgrade to 97.5 while keeping its original 102.9 signal as well.

As of midnight Monday morning, January 11, 2016, Boom added the additional signal.

This change will enable Boom to better compete with rival classic hip-hop station OG 97.9, which is owned by rival Atlanta-based company Cumulus.

OG 97.9 has been beating Boom in the rating, averaging around a 1.3 share vs. a 0.8 share for Boom in recent months, according to Nielsen Audio ratings.

Radio One is investing in on-air personalities while OG 97.9 has been more like a jukebox with no on-air talent.

For nearly a year, DJ Nabs has been OG’s afternoon host. Timothy Davies, who runs Radio One Atlanta, said Atlanta rap star Bone Crusher will also do part-time work for the station.

And starting at 6 a.m. January 11, former “Yo! MTV Raps” host Ed Lover and rap legend Monie Love are debuting a four-hour morning show together out of Atlanta-based studios.

Lover and Monie Love, who began testing their show last month in Philadelphia, will be syndicated in multiple markets. Lover had been on Sirius/XM’s Backspin classic hip-hop channel but left in November. Monie Love, who had several big hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s, has been hosting various radio shows going back to 2004 out of Philly.

Both have chosen to leave the Northeast and work out of Atlanta for this show.

Ed Love Show

Here’s a quick summary of hour one:

The show opened at 6 a.m. with Ed Lover introducing himself and his colleague, who he described “my colleague, my co host, fly girl and a bag of chips and a quart of water Monie Love.”

Her mic wasn’t working at first so she had her come over to his mic. (Technical problems. Always a hallmark of a new show!) Then he made fun of her coffee breath.

He introduced his team Donkers and Big City. (Unlike the Bert Show, people clearly don’t use their real names here.)

Lover then threw out the new phone number (temporarily 1-877-345-7747). “Rock with us!” Lover said. “Let’s kick it!”

This was followed by five consecutive songs: Naughty By Nature‘s “Hip Hop Hooray,” (1993) Lauryn Hill’s “Lost Ones,” (1998) Slick Rick‘s ‘Children’s Story,” (1988) Nas‘ “Oochie Wally” (2000) and M.O.P.‘s “Ante Up.” (2000)

Traffic is from Monique Johnson and news and weather by Denise Dunbar.

Lover came back after the first ad break to complain about the technical issues. “We suck right now. We suck monkey butt right now!” he said. “It’s making us sound less than what we are.”

“What we love is your honesty,” Monie Love said.

“Ladies and gentleman, I refuse to lie to you about everything,” Lover said. “We suck!… Things are playing from outer space. We have records just jumping in! We will be fresh, fly and funny. But now we’re fresh, fly and horrible!”

The next song sequence included Eazy-E’s “8 Ball” (1988) and “Boys-in-the-Hood” (1988), Dr. Dre‘s “Still D.R.E.” (2001), Outkast’s “The Way You Move” (2003) and Lumidee’s “Never Leave” (2003).

Monie Love then read the “morning evening news,” including Powerball and the fact there is no winner yet, then noted that Queen Latifah lost “Bessie” to Lady Gaga on “American Horror Story” on the Golden Globes. Leo DiCaprio snickered, she noted. “A lot of liquor flowing at Golden Globes,” Lover said. “Can’t believe Latifah lost!” She also noted that Sean Penn will be questioned for interviewing El Chapo. She then noted how the Vikings lost to Seahawks and a kicker blew a 27-yard field goal in freezing temperatures. He was also thrilled that the Packers beat the Redskins.

This led to Queen Latifah’s 1989 feminist manifesto ‘Ladies First” featuring Monie Love, of course, traffic, news and a couple of ads before the 7 a.m. hour began. Monie Love then announced Bowie a fellow Brit had died. Lover made fun of her for pronouncing his name Bowie with bow rhyming with cow instead of bow as in go. “He had influence throughout hip hop,” she said, including how Vanilla Ice sampled “Under Pressure” on “Ice Ice Baby.” Bowie’s “Fame” was sampled in a Jay-Z song  “Takeover” as well, Lover noted.

Lover was smart to then play “Takeover,” but not “Ice Ice Baby.”

Sister R&B station Majic 107.5 has been simulcasting on 97.5 for a few years although the signals have significant overlap, especially since Majic’s signal was upgraded three years ago. Davies said 90 percent of Majic listeners were on 107.5 so taking it off 97.5 should have modest impact on the station.

The 97.5 signal has helped Majic on the southside.

For the signal itself, hip hop in Atlanta has gone full circle. It was home to Atlanta’s first hip-hop station Hot from 1995 to 2001 when much of the music the station plays was new before moving to 107.9. New gospel station Praise started there in 2001. In 2009, Majic began its simulcast there with Praise going to 102.5.

This is the estimated coverage map for the new Boom at 97.5, according to radio-locator.com.

Coverage map 97.5The 102.9 signal is a bit stronger north of downtown Atlanta compared to 97.5 but its reach is fairly limited since it’s a translator.

When classic hip hop debuted on three stations in Atlanta within a few days of each other in late 2014, many felt it would be a short-term fad and burn out quickly. But surprisingly, both OG 97.9 and Boom have had relatively stable ratings the past six to eight months. (The third station Old School 99.3 was taken off the air over the summer because the FCC cited signal problems with a another station. Steve Hegwood, who owns 99.3, has not been able to resolve the issue yet.)