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Leslie Fram and Steve Barnes Reunite to Re-Launch Legendary 99X Atlanta Morning Show

Re-vamped Program “The Morning X with Barnes & Leslie Includes New Content and Classic Segments from the Vault

Podcast The Pop Culture Show Rebrands as The Morning X with Barnes & Leslie and Launches on the Cumulus Podcast Network

Fram to Retain Senior Executive Role with CMT/ Paramount

ATLANTA, Feb. 27, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cumulus Media (NASDAQ: CMLS) announced that beginning today Leslie Fram reunites with Steve Barnes as co-host of the re-launched legendary 99X morning show now known as “The Morning X with Barnes and Leslie.” 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 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.”

For 99X Video, please click here.

About Steve Barnes
Steve Barnes is an American television and film actor, television host, television and film producer, radio personality, and digital and social media executive. He is also president of Barnes Creative Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, which specializes in digital marketing and social media strategy. He has performed guest-starring and recurring roles in several television shows, including “Drop Dead Diva,” “One Tree Hill,” “Prison Break,” MTV’s “Road Rules,” “Guiding Light,” “Ned & Stacy,” “As the World Turns,” and “The Young and the Restless.” In 2009, Barnes created, starred in, and produced the television series “High Rise.”

About Leslie Fram
Leslie Fram serves as Senior Vice President of Music and Talent for CMT, overseeing all music integration within the CMT brand. In this capacity, she also serves as Executive Producer for the CMT Music Awards and Executive in Charge of Talent for all music specials. Since joining CMT in 2011, Fram has created numerous franchises to support emerging artists, women, and diversity.

Respected for both her hit intuition and hard-driving passion for music, Fram was the first woman to receive the TJ Martell Award in recognition of outstanding performance in the music industry in 2000, was the first recipient of the ‘Innovation In Music’ Award, and was honored as a Lifetime Achievement Inductee in the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame in 2009. In addition, Fram was presented with the NARAS-Atlanta Chapter Heroes Award for her outstanding contributions to music and the music community, honored as Billboard Country Executive of The Year, and given the 2022 CMA Media Achievement Award. Leslie currently serves on the Board of The Recording Academy/Nashville Chapter, The Grammy TV Committee, and Save The Music Advisory Board.

About Cumulus Media
Cumulus Media (NASDAQ: CMLS) is an audio-first media company delivering premium content to over a quarter billion people every month — wherever and whenever they want it. Cumulus Media engages listeners with high-quality local programming through 404 owned-and-operated radio stations across 85 markets; delivers nationally-syndicated sports, news, talk, and entertainment programming from iconic brands including the NFL, the NCAA, the Masters, CNN, the AP, the Academy of Country Music Awards, and many other world-class partners across more than 9,400 affiliated stations through Westwood One, the largest audio network in America; and inspires listeners through the Cumulus Podcast Network, its rapidly growing network of original podcasts that are smart, entertaining and thought-provoking. Cumulus Media provides advertisers with personal connections, local impact and national reach through broadcast and on-demand digital, mobile, social, and voice-activated platforms, as well as integrated digital marketing services, powerful influencers, full-service audio solutions, industry-leading research and insights, and live event experiences. Cumulus Media is the only audio media company to provide marketers with local and national advertising performance guarantees. For more information visit

Contact: Karen Glover | Westwood One |

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