Mainstream Top 40

KHTO (Hot 106.7) – Springfield, MO – 2/15/97

An uptempo, dance-friendly CHR is not necessarily what one would expect to find in a small Midwestern market, but that’s exactly what Hot 106.7 was at this time.

WBLI (106.1 ‘BLI) – Long Island, NY – 2/7/98 – Doc Medek

WBLI was an upbeat, fun-sounding CHR outlet, offering Long Island a locally focused alternative to similarly formatted stations from New York City.  

WVRT (Variety 97.7) – Williamsport, PA – 1/20/99 – Joe Mama

“Variety 97.7, WVRT” was (and may still be) one of the best small-market CHRs I’ve ever heard.

KZZP (104.7 ZZP) – Phoenix – 1999 – Karen Rite, Marino, Chris Cruze, Ron and Don

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 Wee...

WIOQ (Q102) – Philadelphia – 11/19/98 – Terry Young

This is a sample of Philadelphia’s longtime CHR, hosted by one of my favorite personalities of all time — Terry “Motormouth” Young (who was most famous in the market for his time at Hot Hits! 98 WCAU in the early 1980’s.) In early 1998, after several years with a pronounced Rhythmic lean, Q102 moved in a more Mainstream direction. However, as heard on this aircheck, the station still had quite a few few dance selections (mostly recurrents/classics) in rotation at this time.  

WPST (97.5) – Trenton, NJ – November 1991 – Andy West

At the start of the 90’s, as mainstream pop music became much more fragmented, many formerly “Mainstream” CHRs chose to lean towards either Adult Contemporary or Rhythmic/Dance music. WPST, along with some of its other neighbors in the Philadelphia region like “Y102” WRFY Reading and WSTW Wilmington went in a Rock 40 direction. When was the last time a station ran an all-request show at 3am?

WBLI (106.1 ‘BLI) – Long Island, NY – 9/6/98 – Kramer

  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.  

WTHT (Thunder 107) – Portland, ME – 8/23/91 – Hal Stevens

“So hot, it’s cool…Thunder 107” — This aircheck represents a great example of small market Mainstream CHR in the early 90’s.  Unfortunately, this was the beginning of a period of multi-year struggle for the CHR format as a whole. During the first ~15 seconds, there is some static that drowns out some of the audio.

KIDR 740 – Phoenix – 8/18/98 – Matt Miller & Brotha Fred

During the mid-90’s, KIDR (740 AM) in Phoenix was one of several radio stations across the U.S. affiliated with the childrens’-targetted “Radio AAHS” network. Ten of these stations were owned by Radio AAHS. By January 1998, with Radio Disney having launched its own competing network, Radio AAHS ceased operations. They put the ten stations up for sale (KIDR had joined this group not long before the sale was announced). Until a buyer was found, the affiliates (both the AAHS-owned and non-owned stations) aired a mix of random music and paid programming for 12 hours (4am-4pm PT), and all-dance “Beat Radio” for the remaining 12 hours (4pm-4am PT). In May of that year, KIDR program director Matt Miller elected to begin airing an hour of locally originated prog...

KPXR (Power 102) – Anchorage, AK – 8/8/88 – Jason Hall

By the late 80’s, it seemed that many CHRs in the United States began leaning towards either hairband or rhythmic music. Power 102 was an exception – as this aircheck suggests, the station was more of an AC/Classic Rock/CHR hybrid. According to Wikipedia, along with Robyn Watts (who contributed this aircheck), the station held the KPXR call letters from 1986 to 1994. However, the station did not adopt a CHR format until sometime in 1988. The station is now KDBZ “Oldies 102.1”.  

KLYV (K-Live 105) – Dubuque, IA – 8/6/98 – Scott Thomas

K-Live 105 was a relatively interesting small market Midwestern Mainstream CHR. The station is now known as Y105 (still with the KLYV calls.)

WXXL (XL-106.7 FM) – Orlando – July 1992

“Of all of life’s experiences…you must at one time or another encounter…RAVE”. Voiced by the legendary Mitch Craig, this is a sample of Orlando’s longtime CHR during progressive underground dance mix programming.

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