February

WLUP (The Loop 97.9) – Chicago – 2/17/97 – Tim Virgin

  Recorded a little over 20 years ago, this is a sample of Chicago’s longtime Rocker. Based on information posted at Wikipedia, the station had recently dropped a hybrid talk/comedy/rock format — several sweepers heard here emphasize the station’s focus on the music. It seems that the station was evolving from Modern AC to Classic Rock at this time.

CING (Energy 108) – Toronto – 2/28/97

For several years in the early to mid 1990’s, Toronto’s Energy 108 offered a cutting-edge Dance music format, making it a favorite among Dance radio enthusiasts. However, by 1997, the station’s ownership changed hands, and the format eventually evolved to Mainstream CHR.  This brief aircheck (seemingly one of the few in existence) was presumably recorded close to the beginning of that transition. It features snippets of the station’s “Top 50 Countdown” and “All Retro Dance Edition” programs. More information can be found at Wikipedia.  

KDGS (Power 93) * Wichita, KS * 2/15/00 * Ricardo Cherry

    This is a sample of KDGS from its days as an Urban-leaning Rhythmic CHR at its longtime home on 93.9 FM. It moved to 93.5 FM in 2014. Please visit Wikipedia for more information on the history of this station.

WBNJ (B105.5, The Buzz) – Atlantic City, NJ – 2/19/99

In the Spring of 1998, 107.3 WZZP teased Southern New Jersey with a Rhythmic CHR format. With no promotion or publicity, this brand new signal garnered a 2 share (12+) in its first ratings book. Seeing the hole for something between Urban AC WTTH and Adult leaning CHR WAYV, Margate Communications rolled the dice with hopes of being different. Pulling the plug on recently acquired satellite Modern Rocker WDOX, Margate moved the southern half of the Urban AC “Touch” simulcast from 105.5 to WDOX’s 93.1 slot. Rimshotting greater Atlantic City area from Cape May Court House, WBNJ (which quickly became WZBZ) debuted with a Dance CHR format designed to target WAYV, while still protecting WTTH. Within a year, WZBZ moved to 99.3 in Pleasantville, while retaining the 105.5 simulcast as WGBZ, giving ...

WDBZ (105.1 The Buzz) – New York – 2/9/97 – Josh Bennett

This is a montage of the short-lived Modern AC format on 105.1 FM New York, branded as “The Buzz”, about halfway through its life. Quoting from the Formatchange.com post highlighting the station’s debut a few months prior: “105.1 The Buzz debuted as an 80’s leaning Modern AC, attempting to fill a niche in between K-Rock and WPLJ along with gaining listeners disenfranchised by Z100 and WNEW dropping out of the Alternative Rock genre. However, the station may have been too hip and new for its own good. Changing conditions in the marketplace failed to allow The Buzz to reach its first birthday.”

95.9 WRED – Portland, ME – 2/8/97

“Broadcasting from the top of America…” According to Wikipedia, 95.9 WRED was a Mainstream CHR for least of the 1990’s. At some point,  it moved in a more hip-hop/rhythmic direction and remained that way until adopting a Sports format in August 2008. This aircheck was recorded during the syndicated “Hot Mix” program, but still gives a good idea of the station’s air talent and imaging.

KBBT (107.5 The Beat) – Portland – 2/24/97

A station named “The Beat” – especially in combination with the style of logo shown above – is generally presumed to have some sort of Rhythmic-flavored format. This aircheck – our first representative from the Portland market – is the rare exception. On August 1, 1996, KBBT (970 AM) began simulcasting on 107.5 FM and shifted formats from Alternative to Modern AC. The AM was eventually dropped from the simulcast. This is a sample of the station almost 7 months after the transition.    

KZZP – Phoenix – 2/19/99 – Phil Steiner

 During the 80′s, KZZP 104.7 FM in Phoenix was one of the most successful Mainstream CHR stations in the country. According to the station’s Wikipedia page, it “produced a long list of future stars in the radio business”, and offered a music mix that was adventurous for a Top 40 station. However, a combination of changes in personalities, management, and overall pop music tastes led to the station’s downfall (in April 1991). Five years later, owner Nationwide Communications brought KZZP back to the airwaves with a Modern AC format, making an attempt to appeal to the listeners who grew up with the station as a CHR. The station performed well, ranking #1 in key demos by 1998. However, by that point, Jacor (now Clear Channel) had taken ownership of KZZP along with KGLQ (96.9). On Labor Day We...

WPLJ 95.5 – New York – 2/11/95 – Tony Banks (Valentine’s Dedications)

Courtesy of the now-defunct mp3airchecks.com, here’s a sample of New York’s longtime Adult CHR/Hot AC, recorded on the weekend before Valentine’s Day in 1995.

WHTZ (Z100) – New York – 2/9/97 – Clarence Barnes

Generally speaking, at least in the U.S., the larger the market, the less interesting (musically) the radio stations become.  Fortunately, in the mid to late 90’s, Z100 — a heritage Mainstream CHR in Market #1 — was a wonderful exception to this rule.  At this time, the station offered an incredibly diverse music mix, including numerous recurrents and flashbacks.

WBLI (106.1 ‘BLI) – 2/2/99 – Al Levine on the Scene

WBLI was (and may still be) an upbeat, fun-sounding CHR outlet, offering Long Island a locally focused alternative to similarly formatted stations from New York City. This is a sample of the station recorded 17 years ago today.

WBBM-FM (B96) – Chicago – 2/24/00 – Roxanne

  This is a montage of Chicago’s longtime Rhythmic CHR recorded on a Monday afternoon, in early 2000. It’s hosted by Roxanne (Roxanne Steele), who had been part of the B96 team since either late 1996 or early 1997, after being on the air at Phoenix’s Power 92 (KKFR). She enjoyed a 12-year run at B96 before moving to sister station WCFS (Fresh 105.9) for a brief period and then onto her current home — 96.3 WDVD in Detroit. Despite moving away from its Dance-leaning format in 1997, B96 inexplicably continued to position itself as “Chicago’s Dance Beat”. The legendary Mitch Craig was still the voice of the station at this time.

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