99X’s The Morning X reunites for 25th anniversary October 26

Steve Barnes and Jimmy Baron reunited with Leslie Fram for the Morning X on the 25th anniversary of the launch of 99X. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Posted Thursday, October 26, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk 

The Morning X came back Thursday for one day only to celebrate 99X’s 25th anniversary launch and the trio had a ball.

Using the old 680/The Fan studios redecorated for the occasion with 99X gear, Leslie Fram, Steve Barnes and Jimmy Baron reunited from 6 a.m. to noon. The team reminisced about their 10 years on air from 1993 to 2003 and what they are up to now. Better yet: it was commercial free!

Past players showed up, including their former boss Mark Renier, former producer Todd “The Butler” Phillips and traffic guy Christopher “Crash” Clark. Regular character Bob the Queen called in. (He’s doing stand-up comedy.) They also had former 99X mid-day host Steve Craig call in from his 97.1/The River, where he does mornings now, and former afternoon host Axel Lowe from Cincinnati, where he programs a station ironically called 96 Rock.

Ed Roland and Will Turpin of Collective Soul came by and crooned “The World I Know.” Shawn Mullins sang the song Fram put on the air in 1998 and helped turn into a big hit called “Lullaby.” (He’ll be performing tonight for a free 99X concert at Live at the Battery Atlanta by SunTrust Park.)

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This is really fun, isn’t it?” Baron uttered during a short break.

“Isn’t it weird to be in this building?” Barnes said.

The trio hadn’t been in the same room in 14 years since Barnes left.

They played some classic pranks and old jingles on 98.9, where 99X now resides. (It used to be 99.7.) Every time someone mentioned a business, Barnes banged the bell like the old days.

Steve Barnes frequently used the bell on the right whenever a business was referenced just like the old days. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Baron noted how so many of their bits would never pass muster today. He was suspended once for asking for a listener to bring the biggest animal to the studio and a woman brought a horse there just as the new owners of the building were meeting. Fram pretended to be a front-desk employee and called up O.J. Simpson, who flirted with her. Rich Shertenlieb went to Gaitlenburg and tried get a T-shirt shop to airbrush the words “Dale Earnhardt Jr. deserved to die” on a shirt. He failed.

He recalled with Fred Toucher, they had a black staffer run down Roswell Road with a television. “You can’t do that bit today,” Baron said.

Baron’s favorite bit was a fake Leo DiCaprio interview after “Titanic” came out. They pretended to keep the mic on during a song and “accidentally” released DiCaprio’s phone number. So fans started leaving messages on his “phone.”

They talked about celebrity interviews with Paul McCartney, Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger (who was awful), John Travolta (who was great), Woody Harrelson and the Dalai Lama.

They also discussed their various April Fool’s jokes. Sometimes, they’d work them in ahead of time such as Barnes having a fake boxing match with Clark Howard. Barnes brought up Magic Island, the fake amusement park at Underground Atlanta. They swapped shows with Sean Hannity, who was on WGST then. One time, Fram lost a bet and supposedly cut off a tip of her finger. One joke was they had a webcam and Fram wasn’t allowed to be on it because she wasn’t attractive enough.

Fram came in from Nashville where she works as the head of music development for CMT. Baron is now a Keller Williams real estate agent. Barnes runs his own video production studio. Clark is now doing morning traffic at 11Alive.

Clark recalled being suspended and fired numerous times. His favorite excuse after getting trashed at a remote? He told Fram: “9/11.” Yup, he went there once.

Leslie Fram at 99X for the reunion show on October 26, 2007. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Crash Clark visits the Morning X reunion. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Shawn Mullins at the Morning X reunion. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Baron said he has zero desire to return to radio. When someone asked him yesterday, he retorted, “Yah, I may as well go as sell typewriters.”

Barnes has had a love/hate relationship with radio but finds waking up the early hours less than enticing but “once you get there, the waking up is not hard.” Fram said she just misses the camaraderie.

Ed Roland of Collective Soul go back in time with the Morning X. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

A week later, 99X offered up the entire six-hour show on Soundcloud. Enjoy!


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