WKIE/WKIF/WDEK (Energy 92-7 & 5) – suburban Chicago – 12/24/01 – Joe Smith & Chris Shebel
The Chicago division of Big City Radio offered some of the more interesting programming on the Windy City’s radio dial. However, three times, a format they debuted on one of their sets of suburban frequencies (92.7/92.5 or 103.1) ended up being copied and presented in a different form on a full signal in the market. When “92.7 Kiss-FM” (later 92 Kiss-FM) debuted in November 1998, it represented the first serious attempt at a CHR/Pop outlet in the Chicago area since the early 90’s. The suburban trio of 92.7 WKIE/Arlington Heights, 92.7 WKIF/Kankakee, and eventually 92.5 WDEK/DeKalb combined to produce ratings near or at a 2 share 12+. (In comparison, those three signals consistently combined for a “no-show” in the 12+ ratings before Big City took control and linked the signals together.)
However, with Clear Channel taking over AMFM — and thus Clear Channel’s entrance into the Chicago market — it seemed inevitable that Clear Channel would debut a CHR/Pop “Kiss” outlet on one of its newly acquired full market signals. It finally happened in January 2001, with “Jammin Oldies”-formatted WUBT “The Beat” being axed in favor of “Kiss 103.5″. Considering Clear Channel’s determination to have the exclusive rights to the “Kiss” name in numerous markets, as well as 92 Kiss-FM’s severe signal disadvantage, Big City Radio decided to taken the “92” signals in a new direction. On January 26, 2001, “92 Kiss-FM” flipped to a Dance format (almost nonexistent in the United States), calling itself “Energy 92-7 & 5″. You can hear the debut on our sister site, Formatchange.com.
The montage presented here is a sample of Energy about a year after its debut, recorded on Christmas Eve 2001.