After two decades, radio station 99X, 99.5 FM WXNR New Bern/Kinston (aka “The X”) has changed its format. The station that had long been a standard in modern rock, playing songs from the 1990s to the present, announced it would be transitioning to Top 40. In the days leading to the switch, loyal listeners protested, collected over 3,000 petition signatures, and organized boycotts of advertisers. Marketing manager Bruce Simel said he heard their complaints, but running a for-profit company, he has to play the music that makes the most sense in terms of listenership and advertisers. Top 40, he said, is what is hot now. The station was purchased in May by Curtis Media, which now owns 62 radio stations in various parts of North Carolina, including the very successful Top 40 WPLW Pulse FM, operating on the 96.9 and 102.5 frequencies in Raleigh. Beasley Broadcast Group’s 106.5 FM WSFL will continue to play classic rock for New Bern, Kinston, and Havelock, but that’s a far cry from the Nirvana and Red Hot Chili Peppers former Xaholics crave.