1997

KIBB (B100) – Los Angeles – 8/31/97 (LABOR DAY WKND ’97) – Benny Martinez

Following the “worst-to-first” success of New York’s WKTU in 1996, a number of stations around the U.S. attempted similar formats (essentially Rhythmic AC) in their markets. B100 was one example – but the station never came close to achieving KTU-like numbers.  This aircheck features B100’s “All about the 80’s Weekend”, from Labor Day Weekend 1997, hosted by longtime Southern California air personality Benny Martinez. About 2 months later, B100 flipped to Rhythmic Oldies as Mega 100.  With its instant (but ultimately short-lived) success, the station became the “KTU” for its own format — numerous clones popped up nationwide as part of the “Jammin Oldies” fad. A decade later, Emmis jumped on the “Movin” bandwagon, bring...

WBBM-FM (B96) – Chicago – 8/13/97 – Terry Foxx

Musically, 1997 was a year of transition for B96. In comparison to previous years, the station began phasing out much of the Dance music that had defined its sound over the prior decade or so. Yet, at this time, B96 still positioned itself as “Chicago’s Dance Beat”, fueling the launch of a suburban competitor earlier in the summer.  

KCDD (Power 103) – Abilene, TX – 6/28/97

According to Wikipedia, KCDD has been known as Power 103 since 1987, making it one of the longest-running CHR stations in the United States. This is a sample of the station about ten years into its existence.  

KHTS (Channel 933) – San Diego – March ’97 – Boomer

In September 1996, Channel 933 debuted with a gold-friendly Dance CHR format, as demonstrated in this aircheck from October of that year and this one from November. However, within a few months, the station became much more current-based, replacing much of the classic dance with contemporary R&B and pop.  

KDNR (Rhythm-Driven 106-3) – Albuquerque, NM – 2/24/97 – Mark Raider

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 and meeting me for lunch when he was visiting Phoenix. The station now offers a CHR format known as “Z106.3”.  

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.

KCAQ (Q-104.7) – Oxnard/Ventura, CA – 1/25/97 – Kat Torres

This is a sample of Ventura County’s longtime Rhythmic CHR (now found on 95.9 FM), voiced by the late Brian James. At this time, Q104.7 still offered a relatively balanced Rhythmic CHR format, featuring a mix of R&B, dance, hip-hop and rhythmic gold/oldies selections.

WIOQ (Q102) – Philadelphia – Jan. 1998 – Terry Young

This is a sample of legendary Philadelphia jock Terry Young during his days at Rhythmic CHR WIOQ (Q102) in the late 90’s. Young is most famous in the market for his time at Hot Hits! 98 WCAU-FM in the early 1980’s. Additional Terry Young airchecks can be found here.

KIBB (B100) – Los Angeles – 11/19/97 (LAST DAY)

With the pending demise of KSWD “100.3 The Sound” later today, here’s a look back at the final day of a previous format/station on the same frequency, from almost exactly 20 years ago. Following the “worst-to-first” performance of New York’s WKTU in 1996, a number of stations around the U.S. attempted similar formats (essentially Rhythmic AC) in their markets. B100 was one example – but the station never came close to achieving KTU-like numbers. It debuted in the Fall of 1996, emphasizing 70’s and 80’s Dance/R&B selections and positioning itself with the slogan “LA’s Hot FM.” Several months later, Viacom sold the station to Chancellor (which became AMFM). During the Spring of 1997, Chancellor tried to improve the station by making it more current-intensive and modifyi...

WSNX 104.5 – Grand Rapids, MI – 8/15/97 – Keith Curry

WSNX was one of the best CHRs of the mid/late 90’s, offering an upbeat music mix and outstanding jingles & sweepers, voiced by the late and great Brian James.  This was very impressive for a medium-sized market.

Kiss 100 – London – 7/21/97

This is a sample of London’s long-running Rhythmic CHR. More information about the history of the “Kiss” franchise can be found here.

99.5 WZPL WZPL (99 1/2, ZPL) – Indianapolis – 5/31/97 – Jason Addams

This is a sample of the “ZPL Hitzone” mixshow from a Saturday night in May 1997.  This was a high-energy program broadcast live from an upscale beach-themed nightclub (now defunct) named Gators on the fourth floor of the Circle Center Mall in Indianapolis. At this time, the station’s primary voice was the late and great Brian James.

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