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Project 961.png
City of license Atlanta, Georgia
Broadcast area Atlanta, Georgia
Branding Project 9-6-1
Slogan Live Loud...Play Hard!
Frequency 96.1 (MHz)
96.1 HD-2 for New Alternative Rock
First air date 1960
Format active rock
ERP 99,000 watts
HAAT 300 meters
Class C0
Facility ID 11275
Callsign meaning W Kennedy Lathom Swan
Former callsigns WEOA
Owner Clear Channel Communications
Sister stations WBZY, WGST, WWLG, WUBL, WWVA
Webcast Listen Live

WKLS (branded Project 9-6-1) is a radio station in Atlanta, Georgia that plays active rock music.



WKLS' callsign stands for the initials of the founding owners: Don Kennedy, James Lathom, and Arthur Swan ("K", "L", and "S"). The 96.1 frequency was originally WGAA-FM in Cedartown GA. They formed WKLS in 1960 with a $25,000 investment. It was sold 10 years later for $750,000. In its first 12 years or so, WKLS played an easy listening format; in its first five or six years, all voice-tracking was recorded by Kennedy (who now hosts and syndicates "Big Band Jump" nationwide). By 1972, WKLS was more of a then-AM-style Middle of the road outlet with live DJs; its main slogan by then was "96...That's 'Klass'". WKLS changed to a rock music format in 1974 and was renamed "96 Rock," the branding it retained until November 2006.


"96 Rock" (1974–2006)

For a time in 1977 disc jockey "Skinny" Bobby Harper, who was the inspiration for Dr. Johnny Fever of the television sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, graced WKLS.

Since 1974, WKLS has always featured rock music, though the focus has changed somewhat over time. In the 1970s, the station played what was then known as AOR; songs from that period are known in the radio business as classic rock today. WKLS also had an AM daytimer on 970 AM from 1977 well into the mid'1980s, on the station that is now WNIV.

In the early 1980s, 96 Rock cultivated a somewhat macho image. The station often mocked competing stations which played top 40 hits as "wimp rock". WKLS began to play more and more heavy metal, which was increasing in popularity, especially among teenaged boys. However, a backlash began to develop among the station's more mature listeners. In 1985, the station modified its playlist to a mix of older and new rock.

96 Rock continued to play a mixture of classic rock and new rock for the next 19 years. WKLS finally became exclusively a classic rock station in 2004. The 2004 change occurred when competing Atlanta station Z-93 (WZGC) became "Dave FM," switching from classic rock to a broader rock-pop-alternative format. This did not cause a dramatic change in 96 Rock's playlist, however. Even before officially declaring itself a classic rock station, most of its songs in fact fit that category already; only a few new songs were played an hour.

WKLS's longevity as 96 Rock allowed it to claim to have the longest-running format on an FM station in the Atlanta market. The station has honored its history and tradition on several occasions. In 1984, the station recognized its 10th anniversary by airing a Labor Day countdown of the top 296 songs from 1974–1984. The station's 30th anniversary was recognized in 2004 with several promotions; one such promotion encouraged listeners to write to the station and reminisce about events in their lives, in which 96 Rock played a memorable role. Some of this correspondence was read on the air and posted on the station's website.

"Project 9-6-1" (2006-Present)

On November 17, 2006, at 9 a.m., the station dropped the 32-year-old 96 Rock branding in favor of "Project 9-6-1," a more active rock format. This action made WVEE-FM the new longest-running format in the city. At the same time, 105.3 The Buzz (WBZY-FM) ceased independent operations and began simulcasting the new format for several days, until a regional Mexican music format began. The new format is intended to be somewhat of a merger between 96 Rock and The Buzz, although more personalities from The Buzz are on the new station than ones from 96 Rock.

Current Personalities

  • Mornings: Shaffee and El Jefe
  • Traffic: Art "Madman" Mehring
  • Mid-days: Aly (Under The Covers with Aly at 9:30am/12:30pm/3:30pm Weekdays)
  • Afternoon Drive: Chris Williams- Program Director (Friday Work Release Program every Friday afternoon)
  • Nights: Knox (Project Homegrown at 10pm Weeknights)
  • PunkRockalypse (9pm Sundays) : Amy Dumas Formerly known as Lita in World Wrestling Entertainment.
  • Fill-Ins/Weekends: Swan
  • Skratch n sniff: Saturdays at 10 PM EST


Morning show

In April 2004, long-time morning show hosts the Regular Guys (Larry Wachs and Eric Von Haessler) were fired for airing graphic sexual language with porn star Devin Lane as the content bled through a Honda commercial. That content, which aired the previous month, was intended to be played backwards, to mock the FCC indecency crackdown, when they came back from the break. Regular Guys sidekick "Southside" Steve Rickman and former midday host Tim Rhodes took the morning time slot temporarily. A permanent replacement came in the form of the syndicated Bob & Tom Show, as Rhodes and Rickman moved to the afternoon slot. However, WKLS rehired the Regular Guys, who returned to the airwaves on March 21, 2005 and came back to 96 Rock in May, after a brief stint on sister AM talk station WGST.

On October 23, 2006, however, Clear Channel Radio terminated the Regular Guys for good following an incident in which Wachs recorded bathroom conversations between the two morning show hosts on WWVA-FM (Viva 105.7), while all three men were using the bathroom. The recording was played on the air a couple of days later. The WWVA hosts (known as "Yogi and Panda") complained to management and subsequently sued Clear Channel and The Regular Guys. Wachs said, "A case of a humorous prank has turned into a culture clash, a suppression of First Amendment rights, and a ridiculous smear campaign against me as well as termination of my income without due process."

On July 7, 2007, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that the new morning show host for Project 9-6-1 would be "Giant" Brian Carothers, morning producer and sidekick for John DeBella at WMGK-FM in Philadelphia. Carothers was joined by co-host Shaffee, former radio personality from WRIF-FM in Detroit and The Giant Show debuted on October 1, 2007.

On October 2, 2009, it was announced that "Giant" Brian Carothers would no longer be a part of the morning show and The Giant Show would be replaced by a show hosted by Shaffee and El Jefe.

Former Disc-Jockeys

Morning Drive: The Regular Guys (now on Rock 100.5 in Atlanta)

  • Christopher Rude (now doing Mornings on 680 The Fan in Atlanta), Radical Bradford, Lorna Love, Jools Brandt
  • Nick & Jeff
  • Mark & Steve (Mark McCain & Steve Mitchell formerly of Eagle runs a voice over and video production company. Also host Thunder Road a weekly syndicated Nasar and Country Music show.
  • Mark McCain & Eileen Kimble
  • "Skinny" Bobby Harper
  • Jeff Winter


  • Fin (now at 96 Rock in Cincinnati as PD and Afternoon drive host)
  • Tim Rhodes (now at 100.1 the Bulldog WPUP in Athens, GA
  • Johnny Turner
  • Ditch
  • Willard (Worked at Z-93, then went into sales and retired from in 2008)
  • John Boy Bryant
  • Melissa
  • Lorna Love


  • Jennifer Reed (now doing Afternoons in Philadelphia at 94 WYSP
  • Southside & Rhodes ("Southside" Steve Rickman on The Regular Guys on WNNX Rock 100.5 in Atlanta, Tim Rhodes on 100.1 the Bulldog 7 WPUP in Athens, GA),
  • Dick & Justice
  • Christopher Rude "The Rude Ride Home" (now doing Mornings on 680 The Fan in Atlanta)
  • Kaedy Kiely (now the morning host at WSRV 97.1 The River
  • Dean Clark


  • Big Rig (Does Mid-days at WXTB 98 Rock in Tampa, FL)
  • B.C. and Bubba (also B.C. and Woody & B.C. & Missi)
  • Tim Rhodes (now at Bulldog 103.7 WPUP in Athens, GA)
  • Alan Ayo (now at KDGE Dallas, TX)
  • Blake "Blade Runner" Anthony
  • Bubba The Love Sponge
  • Willard


  • English Nick (now on WNNX Rock 100.5 in Atlanta)
  • Uncle Jesse
  • Big Wood
  • Greg Clarkson "The Dark Side"(now weekends at WZGC 929 Dave FM
  • McKenzie Scott

Weekends/Fill In DJs: Beth Kepple. Geoff Cole, JT (now doing weekends at sister station WUBL 94.9 The Bull), Cousin Deke (p/t WUBL94.9 the Bull), Mr. Bill, Alfred, Jason Gore, Murray, Sabrina, Rob Butterly, Brian Greathouse (Peach Jam), Matt Walsh CNN, Billy Thomas "BT" CNN), Rick Hangin (went to WZGC Z-93 Atlanta then resigned due to a brain tumor).


In 2005 and 2006, in addition to broadcasting music, WKLS carried broadcasts of Atlanta Braves baseball games, along with sister station WGST-AM. When the new format changed, sister station WUBL-FM ("94.9 The Bull") took over the broadcasts effective with the 2007 season. The broadcast contract runs through the 2009 season.On March 2, 2009 WKLS announced that the Atlanta Braves would return to WKLS.

WKLS broadcasts in IBOC digital radio, using the HD Radio system from iBiquity.

On January 30, 2006, the station added a separate HD2 carrier, known under the branding "The Incubator," which features an Adult Album Alternative format. It had since changed names to "The Alternative Project" or "Project 9-6-2".

See also

External links


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