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KNRJ (Energy 92.7 & 101.1) – Payson/Phoenix, AZ – 1/10/04 – Pistol Pete

“If you can’t hear us at work…get a new job…” In January 2001, Big City Radio launched all-Dance formatted “Energy 92-7 & 5″ on a trio of signals in suburban Chicago. A year and a half later, Sierra H Broadcasting debuted the very similar “Energy 92-7 & 101-1″ on KAZL (eventually KNRJ) in Payson, AZ — with a simulcast on 10-watt K224CJ in Phoenix. With Big City Radio in financial dire straits, Energy 92-7 & 5 ended in early January 2003. But its Arizona spinoff managed to survive for 6 years — which is about 5 1/2 years longer than most people would probably have predicted. This aircheck was recorded 12 years ago yesterday, and (in my opinion) represents the era in which the station sounded best.

WBBM-FM (B96) – Chicago – 12/27/97 – DJ Markski

During a significant portion of the 1990′s, Chicago’s B96 offered a Dance music-heavy format focused on currents — making it one of the very few major market, full signal commercial stations in the U.S. to find success with that formula. By the end of the decade, the station began taking a more conventional approach to its regular format, focusing on hip-hop and R&B hits. However, B96 still aired significant amounts of Dance during its mixshows — such as this segment from a Saturday night near the end of 1997 featuring Eurodance mixed by DJ Markski. Please note that this montage is more music-heavy than what you’ll normally find on the site; this was done intentionally to highlight the depth of the musical selections, and also because – as is the norm with mix shows – there was m...

WHYI (Y-100) – Kenny Walker & “Rhythm 93.5” – Miami – 10/8/98 & 10/11/98

Recorded 17 years ago this month, this is a sample of Miami’s heritage Mainstream CHR (Y-100) on a Thursday night during live-to-air programming (titled “The House of Style”) from a local nightclub named Cafe Iguana Beach Place in Fort Lauderdale. Following the Y-100 aircheck is a sample of a classic dance-formatted pirate station that was operating in the area at the time, named “Rhythm 93.5”.

KKDL (106.7 KDL) – Dallas/Fort Worth – 9/23/02

Recorded 13 years ago today, this is a montage of a great-sounding but short-lived attempt at making the Dance format work in Dallas/Fort Worth, about a month after its debut.  Please note that this aircheck actually consists of two separate recordings blended together, so there is some repetition of songs. Per Wikipedia, by 2004, the station began moving in a Rhythmic CHR direction as it attempted to target young Hispanic listeners.

KDNR (Rhythm-Driven 106-3) – Albuquerque, NM – 5/24/97 – Mark Raider & Rob Royale

According to Wikipedia — KDNR (whose call letters supposedly stood for “Dance and Romance”) launched sometime in the Spring of 1995, possibly with an all Dance or very Dance-heavy format. As demonstrated on this aircheck, by early 1997, the station had become rather unfocused as it attempted to broaden its music mix. I’m not sure if the station always used the very odd “Rhythm-Driven 106-3″ name – any additional details would be much appreciated. Special thanks to Dave Dart – who at the time was program director of Rhythmic AC competitor KZRQ “Star 105 FM” – for recording this aircheck 18 years ago today.

WZBZ (B105.5, The Buzz) – Atlantic City, NJ – 3/26/99

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 ...

KKFR (Power 92) – Phoenix – 3/17/02 – Charlie Huero & DJ Shy (Aquanet Set)

Since June of 1997, KKFR — both at its former home on 92.3 FM, and at its current home on 98.3 FM — has made hip-hop and R&B the primary (if not exclusive) focus of its Rhythmic CHR format.  However, in the early 2000’s, it would offer a return to its dance-oriented roots for a brief period each Sunday night.  A portion of the “Lowrider Oldies Show” (also known as the “Sunday Night Old School Show”) was known as the “Aquanet Set”.  This program — whose name refers to the hairspray-laden members of freestyle acts in the 1980’s — originated (?) and was made famous by KKFR’s former sister station, KPWR (Power 106) in Los Angeles.

CKEY (FM 101 the Planet) – Niagara Falls, ON / Buffalo, NY – 3/17/97

Recorded 18 years ago this month, this is a sample of CKEY during its days as a dance-heavy Rhythmic CHR. Most of the aircheck is focused on regular programming; however, some form of mix show (hosted by “Sam The Man”) is heard toward the end (along with a heavy dose of static). CKEY now offers a Mainstream CHR format as CFLZ “2 Day FM”.

WMWX (Mix 96.9 & 99.9) – Portland, ME – 1/26/99

Recorded 16 years ago this month, here’s a montage of small town Hot AC radio from just before the beginning of the new millennium, featuring “a 50/50 mix of the 80’s and 90’s”. (IMHO, that’s just way too many numbers to have in a positioning statement…) Left intact is a commercial promoting “free designer phone book covers” with 1980’s-sounding music in the background.

KBOS (B95) – Fresno – 1/31/97

Recorded 18 years ago this month, here’s a montage of Fresno’s heritage Rhythmic CHR, recorded almost entirely during Friday night mixshow programming (courtesy of the syndicated “Hot Mix” service). More information about the history of this station can be found within the text of another B95 aircheck on this site – specifically, the comment from Robyn Watts.

WBBM-FM (B96) – Chicago – 1/7/96 – Julian Perez, Tim Schommer, Candi

During the 1990’s, Chicago’s B96 was one of the most unique Rhythmic CHRs in the U.S. Recorded 19 years ago today, his is a montage of the broad-based, personality-heavy “Street Flava” program.

WPOW (Power 96.5) – Miami – 11/30/98 – DJ Laz & DJ Zog

Miami’s Power 96 is one of America’s heritage Rhythmic CHRs.  It has always offered an approach custom-tailored to its unique market – a rarity in an increasingly homogenized and corporate-dominated radio environment. This is a montage of the station during Afternoon Drive on the last day of November 1998 (recorded 16 years ago today). It includes a sample of the “Traffic Jam” heard during the 5pm hour, with mixer DJ Zog filling in for Slammin’ Felix Sama.

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