My Mind Is Playing Tricks On Me: 98.9 Switches Formats?
Ed. Note. On October 31, 2017, at approximately 12 p.m. Central Standard Time, Memphis’ 98.9 The Vibe FM radio station switched formats. We are gathered here today, with contributor Wesley and feedback from other Memphians, to discuss.
98.9 The Vibe was necessary for my morning commute. Sure, Biggie’s “Juicy” was in such heavy rotation that you’d think it dropped last week, but sometimes I’d get treated to Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack”, which is the greatest song ever made, and I have backup on this.
So imagine my surprise Wednesday morning when I hear Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby” on the station. I figured, okay, it’s not throwback hip hop, but everyone loves Eartha Kitt. Maybe they’re weaving in a couple sexy Christmas songs with the regular rotation.
While my requests for comment from the station were not returned, I did find this statement from the station manager:
“We are really excited to offer a new and unique listening experience for the hundreds of thousands of people that enjoy non-stop Christmas music. ‘Christmas 98.9’ offers the River City an exciting choice as soon as you cross the bridge.”
As you can see, there are dozens of us (dozens!!) in our feelings about this.
And the old school hip hop FM station 98.9 the Vibe has switched to 24/7 Christmas music….. NOOOOOO!!#itisntChristmastime!!
— The Working Law Firm (@WorkingLawFirm) November 3, 2017
98.9 The Vibe has started playing Christmas music. It’s Halloween. Unacceptable
— Huxley Brown Maury (@ouidahux) October 31, 2017
RIP 98.9 The Vibe. Can’t Cumulus keep anything??? — feeling sad
— Aisha Raison (@aisharaison) October 31, 2017
Good question, Aisha! They can’t. At all. Let me show you:
This is a timeline I made of all the formats 98.9 has held since they arrived in Memphis from Kennett, Missouri. That’s seven formats in 10 years, all with varying degrees of…popularity.
(Ed. Note: I’ve been monitoring the situation online, and it’s only fair to say that there are plenty of folks who are in favor of this switch. There are others who are more concerned that we couldn’t even get through the entire day of Halloween before it was already Christmas music time. Most seem annoyed at the loss of a station they loved rather than just against holiday tunes in general. A search for “98.9 christmas” on Twitter and Facebook reveals strong feelings all around.)
The format after the holiday season has yet to be announced. Hopefully we’ll get The Vibe back, but I’m not optimistic. However, Al Kapone, the Memphis rapper who was spearheading the station, actually is.
As you all may know, 98.9 has changed formats even though our ratings were very high but I am working on broadcasting from a new station for my classic hip hop lovers and will post when I have something for y’all. I passionately love classic hip hop!!! Thanks for all your love & support! It’s Al Kapone – Al Kapeezy, Oh Boy!
We need 98.9 to remain a classic rap station because it added to the diversity of Memphis radio, and was a good alternative to Hot 107 and K97, which both played Top 40 rap. I listen to both of those stations, but sometimes I don’t want to hear Migos on a loop. Seriously, when “Bad and Boujee” was at its peak, it was completely common to hear that song being broadcast simultaneously on both stations.
We’ve got 59 FM radio stations in Memphis, and now only two of them play rap music. And those two stations play the same songs. That’s boring.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not some scrooge who hates Christmas. I actually love this time of year, mostly because I hate hot weather and I get to listen to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio in proper context. But not all Christmas songs are worth listening to. Some of them might even be trash.
Most Christmas songs fall towards the “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas” end of the spectrum and not Donny Hathaway. That being said “Silent Night” slaps, especially when Boyz II Men sang it on that one Fresh Prince Christmas special.
And before y’all tell me to just use Spotify in my car, I’m not trying to die in a wreck because I was driving and trying to search for “no scrubs”. Because typing and driving is a scrub thing to do.
Anyway, here’s a list of ten songs on 98.9 The Vibe I’m going to miss the most:
- Lil Kim – “Crush On You”
- Geto Boys – “My Mind Playing Tricks On Me”
- DJ Zirk – “Lock Em In Da Trunk”
- Kanye West – “Through The Wire”
- Jermaine Dupri – “Money Ain’t A Thang”
- Missy Elliot ft. Ciara – “Lose Control”
- Ludacris – “Saturday (Oooh! Ooooh!)
- 2Pac – “Dear Mama”
- Digable Planets – “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)”
And of course,
- Mark Morrison – “Return of the Mack.”
Which songs will you miss?
About The Author
Wesley Morgan Paraham loves the 901 so much that his cat is named Belvedere. If playing RPGs were a full time job, he’d be a rich man. He’s currently seeking a degree in public relations at the University of Memphis, and does freelance writing for I Love Memphis and graphic design in the meantime.
Holly has some more questions for y’all:
– What do you think about the station’s switch?
– If you’re not a fan of the switch, is it bad altogether or is it just too early?
– Aren’t there other stations in Memphis that will play holiday tunes later in the season?
– Do you think The Vibe should return on Dec. 26 or is there another kind of station you’d like to see in Memphis?
This article is about our opinions. Feel free to leave yours in the comments!