WSB-FM (98.5 FM, "B98.5") is an Atlanta radio station. Along with several other Atlanta radio stations, WSB-FM is owned by Cox Enterprises' Cox Media Group subsidiary, and is the group's flagship FM station. It is the only Atlanta FM radio station to continue to share a broadcast callsign with local TV and AM radio stations (WSB AM and WSB-TV), and one of the few such triopolies (under the same ownership) left in the entire U.S..
The station's studios and offices are located at the WSB Television and Radio Group building on West Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta, which is shared with its TV and radio partners. WSB-FM shares a tower with WPBA TV 30, and in fact shares the same antenna with WSTR-FM/94.1 and WVEE-FM/103.3. The three stations' transmitters are diplexed together, so that they all feed to the antenna instead of into each other.
WSB-FM airs an Adult Contemporary format. Since 2012 a majority of WSB-FM's playlist comes from the 2000s, along with music from the 1980s and 1990s. WSB-FM broadcast all-80s weekends from 2001-2003 and again from 2009-2012, and all-'70s weekends during the mid-1990s. The split weekend format ended during January 2012. During the holiday seasons from 2004-2011, the station played all Christmas music from the day before Thanksgiving to Christmas Day. As of 2012, the station did not all-Christmas, mixing Christmas songs in with the regular format as the station did prior to 2004. For the first time ever in 2012, WSB-FM broadcast their normal AC format with mixed-in Christmas songs on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (the station would play nothing but Christmas music on those days even prior to 2004). This is due to polls in 2012 that showed a majority of WSB's listeners rejected the idea of all-Christmas music.
Following in the footsteps of pioneer WSB, WSB-FM was one of the first FM stations in the Southeast, debuting originally on 104.5 FM in 1948. After Cox acquired the Atlanta Constitution, WSB-FM went silent in 1952, and returned in 1955 on 98.5 FM. The station has been an adult contemporary music station since March 15, 1982.
In 1985, WSB-FM, at the time known as "99FM", sued AC competitor WLTA-FM 99.7 "Warm 99", claiming copyright infringement. Arbitron was docking both stations in the ratings because of the common use of "99". In the landmark case, Cox v. Susquehanna Broadcasting, the judge was handed a digital radio and asked to tune to 100.0 MHz. There was no signal. To find the nearest station, he pressed the Scan button, and it stopped on 101.5 MHz (WKHX-FM). Next, he entered 99.0 MHz, which, again, contained no signal. Scanning from there, the radio hit 99.7, WLTA's frequency. In his precedent-setting decision, the Federal district judge stated that on a radio dial "a radio station's frequency is its address" and one cannot copyright an address. He ruled in favor of Warm 99. Soon thereafter, WSB-FM became known as "B98.5FM".
The station plays over 90 minutes of commercial-free music each weekday at 9 am known as The 98 at 9. Until 2006, WSB-FM's primary "listen at work" competitor was 94.9 FM, under the names "95 WPCH", "Peach 94.9", and "94.9 Lite FM" with the WLTM callsign. On December 18, 2006, 94.9 flipped to country as "The Bull". WLTM moved to the weak 96.7 station until December 26, 2007, when the station flipped to classic country WWLG "96.7 the Legend". After 94.9 switched to a country format and WLTM switched to classic country, WSB-FM became the only adult contemporary music station in Atlanta.
On December 29, 2006, WSB-FM became the Atlanta affiliate for the nationally syndicated Delilah show (which was previously broadcast on 94.9 Lite FM/Peach 94.9). Delilah was dropped in December 2011.
In the past, WSB-FM produced an annual "Family Fun Fest" event, where companies that provide products for kids and families showcase what products and services they offer. The show featured live events and appearances from local sports stars. The station conducted a live broadcast both days of the event. The event has not been held since 2009 due to the economic crisis.
A planned merger of GE and Cox in the late 1970s almost caused WSB-FM to be spun off to Ragan Henry with plans to take the WEZA calls.
On July 1, 2008, Steve McCoy and Vikki Locke joined WSB-FM as the morning show after 17 years at top 40 WSTR "Star 94". Steve McCoy was let go on February 25, 2010. Vikki Locke does remain as morning show host. In March 2011, Kelly Stevens from the old "Kelly and Alpha" show rejoined the station and joined Vikki. In August 2012, Stevens' SUV was totaled by a wrong-way vehicle at around 4am while he was driving to work on the Georgia 400 freeway, killing the other driver. His left leg was broken and left elbow shattered, but he was in good spirits later in the morning at Grady Hospital, when he called in to the show.
During the spring of 2011, the station made dramatic on-air changes due to declining ratings as a result of changes at hot AC WSTR and the success of top 40 WWWQ. All music before 1980 was dropped, more songs from the 2000s were added, and the station abandoned the longtime "Atlanta's Best Variety of Soft Rock" tagline in favor of "Your Favorites From the 80s, 90s, and Now". The tagline has since been shortened to "80s, 90s & Now".
On September 16, 2011, the station changed their "all-80's weekend" format to an "80's and 90's weekend" format to compete with Journey 97.9. As of January 2012, 1980s and 1990s weekends no longer air.
On April 27, 2012, longtime WSB-FM afternoon DJ Kelly McCoy retired after 27 years in the same airshift, joining the station in January 1985. At 4:00 that afternoon, WSB-FM aired a special tribute during his last airshift. It was the first time the station broke format during workday afternoon drivetime.
WSB-FM airs public affairs programming on Sundays at 7 a.m. starting February 21, 2010, when began hosting Health Talk Atlanta.
On January 4, 2013, Cox Radio management fired afternoon host Mike Shannon after just nine months on air. No successor has been named to the position.
After the Christmas Season, WSB Program Director Chris Eagan changed the music format. He added back several softer, adult contemporary songs from the 1980s, as well as the 1990s.
- Denise Alexander, midday host (1987–1991)
- Eddie Bauer, morning host (?-1999)
- Brenda Bissett, midday host (1999–2001) Currently paired with her husband (Pete Michaels) as part of the morning show "Pete & Brenda In the Morning", a nationally syndicated radio show.
- Brian Buzby, morning host (?)
- Michael J. "Mike" Calhoun, morning host/news reader (?-1999)
- Marjorie Coley Davis, morning host/news reader (2007–2008)
- William C. "Barnacle Bill" Duncan, weekend host/fill-in WSB-FM, WJZF, WBTS (1994–2005) Deceased 2007.
- Jason Durden, traffic reporter (1996–2007) Now on WSB-TV in News Chopper 2. Also occasional morning traffic fill-in on B98.5FM.
- Sabrina Gibbons, morning host/news reader (?-1998) Currently at sister station WSB, and hosts state lottery drawings.
- Christy Henry, morning host/news reader (2003–2007)
- Trevor Johns, morning host (?)
- Jeff Laurence, Saturday Night Dance Party host (?-2001)
- Vikki Locke, morning host (2008-2013)
- Bobbi Marks, fill-in/weekend host (?-1999)
- Bob (Bob Marsicano), morning show producer/host(1999–2000). Later employed as a sound designer at Wild Hare Studios, Atlanta. Then worked, on air, at WZGC Z-93 (Now 92.9, Dave FM). Currently working for Cox Radio, Tampa and as instructor at CSB School of Broadcasting.)
- Kelly McCoy, afternoon drive (1985-2012) Retired from radio
- Steve McCoy, morning host (2008–2010)
- Gary McKee, morning host (1994-1996) Worked at WQXI-AM-FM 94 Q (now WSTR Star 94) 1971-1989. Left B98.5FM to move to WZGC Z 93 1997-99.
- Charles McPhee, Dream Doctor Show host (2002–2004) Deceased 2011.
- Michael Mitchell, Atlanta's Love Songs host (2001–2002)
- Dale O'Brien, morning host (?) Later worked at WPCH Peach 94.9 (then WLTM 94.9 Lite FM, now WUBL 94.9 The Bull).
- Nancy Richards, morning host/news reader (1999–2003)
- Chandler Steele, fill-in/weekend host (?)
- Kelly Stevens, morning host (1999-2008 and 2011-2013)
- Rebecca Stevens, Atlanta's Love Songs host (1985–2001) Later worked at WPCH Peach 94.9 (then WLTM 94.9 Lite FM, now WUBL 94.9 The Bull).
- Larry "night train" Lane - overnight - 1987 through 2009 - Worked at WQXI from 1975 through 1986.
- Kristy Tanner, morning host (?-1999)
- Alpha Trivette, morning host (1999–2008)
- Larry O'Neal, middays (1983–84). Left to buy KIX96 in El Dorado, Arkansas. Now owns KKHJ-FM (93KHJ) in Pago Pago, American Samoa.
- Kari Dean(?) morning host/news. Dean is currently a TV news producer at WAGA-TV.
- Jim Larsin, weekend/fill-in (now retired from radio)