**New York City’s 95.5 WPLJ will end its current programming format at 7pm EDT today (Friday 5/31/19), following a sale from Cumulus to Educational Media Foundation. We will be featuring airchecks of this longtime CHR/Hot AC station from the past 30+ years throughout this week.** Per Wikipedia – as a final attempt to find success with the CHR format, WPLJ rebranded as “Mojo Radio” in April 1991, shortly after hiring Scott Shannon as morning show host. Four months later, the station began shifting towards Adult Top 40; by February 1992, it had evolved to Hot AC and began calling itself simply “95-5 PLJ”.
Recorded on Good Friday 1991, this is a sample of the dominant CHR station in Phoenix for most of the 1990’s, at the start of that decade. Specifically, this is a montage of the “Power Morning Zoo”. One of the co-hosts was Danny Partridge a.k.a. Danny Bonaduce, who became a TV star via “The Partridge Family” in the 1970’s. He joined KKFR around September 1990. Two days after this aircheck was recorded, Bonaduce was involved in an incident with a prostitute. The next day, he was placed on administrative leave. Many thanks to Beau Duran of WBBM NewsRadio for providing this aircheck.
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?
After having been granted the call letters WHHH a couple of months earlier, 96.3 FM in Indianapolis hit the air on October 28, 1991 — making it the first new FM signal in the market in over 25 years. This aircheck was seemingly recorded overnight following the station’s first full day. A video of the actual sign-on is posted on Youtube (the logo shown above is a screen shot taken from that video.) In these earliest moments, the station referred to itself multiple ways: “Hoosier 96” “Hoosier Hot 96” “Hot Hoosier 96” “Hot Hoosier 96.3” “Hoosier Hot 96 Dot 3” “Hoosier 96, WHHH” “Hoosier 96 Dot 3, WHHH” “96 Dot 3, WHHH” Today, the station calls itself “Hot 96.3” and offers a...
“Today’s best music mix…the new sound of Eagle 106”. This is a great example of pure Mainstream CHR for its era, recorded just before Halloween 1991.
This is a montage of New York’s Hot 97 from its days as a high-energy Dance CHR. The station debuted with the same format as Hot 103.5 five years earlier, moved to 97.1 in 1988, and began evolving into a hip-hop-oriented station in early 1993.
At the start of the 90’s, as mainstream pop music became much more fragmented, many formerly “Mainstream” CHRs chose to lean towards Rhythmic/Dance music, while others (such as WPST as heard on this aircheck) moved towards Hot Adult Contemporary. However, by the end of 1991, WPST had evolved into something perhaps best described as “Rock 40”, similar to some of its neighbors in the Philadelphia region, such as WRFY “Y102” in Reading and WSTW 93.7 in Wilmington.
Chicago’s Hot 94-7 FM represented the high-energy, but short-lived aftermath of “Hell 94.7”, and the final (as of this writing) attempt of this frequency to compete with heritage Rhythmic CHR WBBM-FM (B96). Please visit this page (scroll about halfway down) for more details.
Throughout the 80’s, KZZP/Phoenix enjoyed incredible success, establishing itself as one of America’s legendary CHRs. Per 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 – as illustrated by the other KZZP montages posted here. But, like many of its peers in the format, KZZP struggled to adjust to changing pop music tastes in the early 90’s. By the Spring of 1991, the station had morphed into an Adult CHR, as heard on this aircheck. (It reminds me very much of what was playing on cable’s VH1 at the time, when it still focused on showing music videos.) Not long after this recording, KZZP’s 11-year run sadly came to an end – owner Nationwide Communications flipped it to AC...
From late December 1991, this is a sample of Waco’s longtime CHR station, at a time when it (like many of its format peers) leaned towards Hot AC. Contributed by Chip Kelley.
In the late 80′s, and the very early 90′s, Phoenix was one of the best markets for fans of the CHR format. Nationwide Communications’ heritage KZZP found itself in a heated battle with The Broadcast Group’s Power 92 (KKFR) and Edens Broadcasting’s Y95 (KOY-FM). KZZP dominated for most of the 80′s. But with changes in management, personalities, and pop music tastes — ratings dropped significantly in the early 90′s, leading to a format and name change in April 1991. Y95, capitalizing on the changes and later demise of KZZP, enjoyed ratings success at the start of the decade. This is an unofficial station composite of the station from the Fall of 1991.
This is a sample of Atlanta’s Power 99 — which, according to Wikipedia, was the “dominant top-40 station in the Southeast” at the start of the 90′s — about a year before it flipped to Modern Rock as 99x. The personality is Telephone Tony — later known as Tone E. Fly. Before Power 99, Telephone Tony was Kid Kelly’s producer/sidekick at Z100/NY and now hosts mornings at KTWN “96.3 K-Twin” in Minneapolis-St. Paul (under the name Tony Fly, according to ktwin.com) Perhaps somewhat ironically, this aircheck was recorded during one of the games of the 1991 World Series between the Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins. Telephone Tony was apparently filling in for personalities Domino and Crash, who were suspended for an incident related to the World Series. Many thanks to Benji Kurtz (via Robyn Wat...