1996

WKBQ-FM (Q104) – St. Louis – 4/22/96 – J.T.

This is a sample of the Gateway City’s longtime CHR station (at this point it was somewhat of a CHR/Modern AC hybrid) a couple of years after it moved from its longtime home at 106.5 FM. At one point, a legal ID voiced by the late and great Casey Kasem is heard, even though the station was featuring regular programming at that point.

WBBM-FM (B96) – Chicago – 1/27/96 – Coco Cortez

During a significant portion of the 1990′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 during that decade. This aircheck, recorded at the peak of that era, is a great example of why dance radio fanatics held the station in such high regard.

KBZR (The New 103.9, Arizona’s Party Station) – Phoenix – 12/31/96 – Krazy Kid Stevens & Ruben S (END OF YEAR MIX)

For six months in 1996, KBZR (103.9 FM)/Coolidge, AZ offered one of the most creative stunts in radio history.  In between an automated Rhythmic Oldies format was a series of clever interstitials (voiced by station owner Jerry Clifton) indicating that the station was “moving in from the desert” (referring to a pending signal upgrade to allow for better coverage in the metro Phoenix area) and looking for someone — or something — named “Steve”. On October 30 of that year, KBZR officially launched as “The New 103.9, Arizona’s Party Station”.  Featured on this aircheck is a sample of the outlet 2 months after its debut, as it offered end-of-year mixshow programming on the final day of 1996. Please note that this aircheck is heavily scoped – I kept only the segments featuring songs that I...

KKFR (Power 92) – Phoenix – 12/18/96 – Brian Simpson

During the mid-1990’s, under the direction of Program Director Don Parker, KKFR (Power 92) in Phoenix was at its peak, registering an all-time high 7.1 share (12+) in the Winter 1996 Arbitron survey. The station offered a broad Rhythmic CHR mix that focused primarily on dance and R&B music. In the Spring of 1996, KBZR (103.9 FM) in rural Coolidge, AZ began a six-month stunt focused on “old school” music that eventually led to a hip-hop/old school-friendly Rhythmic CHR format. At the end of October 1996, the station officially signed on as “The New 103.9, Arizona’s Party Station.” In its first full book (Winter 1997), KBZR (eventually KPTY) achieved a 2.9 share 12+ … which was absolutely remarkable considering that it was operating with a signal possibly as weak as 1,100 watts located s...

KJMN (JAMN’ 92.1) – Denver – 12/5/96 – Michael Hayes

JAMN’ 92.1 was a great-sounding but short-lived Rhythmic CHR station. According to the KJMN and KQKS Wikipedia pages, JAMN’ 92.1 debuted in March 1996 and lured away all/most of the airstaff (and even at least one promotion, as heard on the aircheck) from KQKS (which at the time broadcast on 104.3 under the name “KS104”). In November of that year, Western Cities (owner of KQKS) sold the station to Jefferson-Pilot, which also owned Mainstream CHR KHHT “K-Hits 107.5” — a station with a much more powerful signal than 104.3 (and 92.1).  In February 1997, KQKS and its Rhythmic CHR format moved to 107.5 under the name “KS107.5”.  An aircheck of KS107.5, recorded not long after its debut, is also available on this site. One month later, JAMN&#...

KYLD (Wild 107.7) – San Francisco – 12/19/96 – The Dog House

This is a sample of formerly long-running and controversial “Dog House” morning show as heard on the Bay Area’s longtime Rhythmic CHR, KYLD (first on 107.7 FM and later on 94.9 FM). Please visit Wikipedia for more information on the history of this program.

KZZP 104.7 FM – Phoenix – Rick Kurtis – 12/18/96

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. This is a sample of KZZP within its first year of its Modern AC approach, when the station was in its final months of ownership by Nationwide. Courtesy of John Davis, here is some...

WBBM-FM (B96) – Chicago – Nov ’96 – DJ Markski

During a significant portion of the 1990′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 during that decade. This aircheck, recorded in the midst of that era (on a couple of Friday/Saturday nights in November 1996),is a great example of why dance radio fanatics held the station in such high regard. It focuses on the Eurodance genre (arguably at its peak) via mixes from 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 minimal non-music material.

KKND (106.7 the End) – New Orleans – Oct ’96 – Rod Ryan

This is a sample of New Orleans’ modern rocker of nearly a decade shortly after its debut. Per Wikipedia, the station was knocked off the air by Hurricane Katrina in late August 2005. When it resumed broadcasting in January of the following year, the format had changed.

WWZZ/WWVZ (Z104) – Washington, D.C. – 9/2/96 – George McFly

My apologies for the mediocre sound quality during the first 35 seconds of this aircheck – this occurred due to circumstances beyond my control. From about 6 weeks after this debut, this is a sample of the station that represented the Mainstream CHR format in our nation’s capital during the mid to late 90’s. This was recorded during Morning Drive by longtime industry veteran George McFly. Since it was Labor Day, the theme of his show was “who’s working?” – he aired many calls from listeners who were employed primarily at convenience stores.

WKTU (103.5 The New ‘KTU) – New York – 7/5/96 (Top 300 countdown) – Geronimo

In February 1996, Country WYNY flipped to WKTU, offered what we now call a Rhythmic AC format, and went from worst to first in one rating book – an absolutely remarkable feat for any radio station, particularly in America’s #1 market. This is a sample of the station about 5 months after its debut (recorded 20 years ago today, over Independence Day Weekend 1996), when it aired a countdown of the Top 300 New York dance records.

KKFR (Power 92) – Phoenix – 5/1/96 – Supersnake

During the mid-1990′s, under the direction of Program Director Don Parker, KKFR (Power 92) in Phoenix was at its peak, registering an all-time high 7.1 share (12+) in the Winter 1996 Arbitron survey. The station offered a broad Rhythmic CHR mix that focused primarily on dance and R&B music. This extended length aircheck, recorded 20 years ago yesterday, is hosted by Supersnake. He is one of the most recognized personalities in Phoenix radio, being heard at not only KKFR, but also KPTY (“Arizona’s Party Station“), KZZP (“104.7 Kiss-FM”), KZON (“Live 101.5“) and currently KAJM (“Mega 104.3“). Featured on this montage are references to Game 3 of the 1996 NBA Playoff series between the Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs, along with a co...

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