Adult Top 40

WKHI (Mix 99.9 KHI) – Salisbury/Ocean City, MD – 8/20/92 – Chris Kelly

For over two decades, 99.9 FM in Salisbury/Ocean City, MD has been a Country station known as “Froggy 99.9” with the call letters WWFG. But prior to that, according to Wikipedia, it was a CHR/Hot AC station known as “100 KHI” (that’s the era associated with the logo attached to this post), “Mix 99.9 KHI” (as heard on this aircheck – not mentioned on the Wikipedia article), “99.9 KHI”, and “Power 99.9 KHI”.

WKQX (Q101) – Chicago – July 1991 – Greg Brown

“More Music, More Fun…Q101” 101.1 FM in Chicago has been synonymous with the Modern Rock format for most of the last 25 years, and so it’s easy to forget that the station didn’t always have that format.  In this montage, you’ll hear Q101 near the end of its days as an Adult Top 40/Hot AC.  According to this Wikipedia page, it evolved into more of a Modern AC direction later in the year and then full-fledged Modern Rock by 1992. Left intact is a commercial promoting the grand opening of the Gurnee Mills mall – which I believe was one of the first of its kind.  (I spent the best years of my childhood in Gurnee and couldn’t resist including this.)

KZZP 104.7 – Phoenix – April 1991 – Jack Hammer

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...

WMME (92 Moose FM) – Augusta, Maine – 3/16/99

92 Moose FM was (and may still be) a standard Adult-oriented CHR with a very nonstandard name.  

KZON (The New Zone, 101.5) – Phoenix – 12/3/99 – Carey Edwards

From mid-1992 through the end of 2005, 101.5 FM offered a number of different formats, but always branded itself as “The Zone”.  The most mainstream (and shortest-lived) of those formats, as heard on this aircheck, was an Adult Top 40 attempt in 1999, likely the result of competitor KZZP abandoning Modern AC in favor of CHR earlier in the year.

WWXM (Mix 97.7) – Myrtle Beach, SC – 7/30/98

This is a sample of Mix 97.7 during its days as an Adult-leaning CHR. The station is now pure Mainstream CHR and, according to Nielsen Audio 12+ ratings, is well ahead of Adult-leaning competitor WMYB (Star 92.1).

WVRT (Variety 97.7) – Williamsport, PA – 7/24/98

“Variety 97.7…playing the uplifting hits of the 80’s, 90’s, and today…guess you could call us radio’s version of Viagra” — Variety 97.7 was an unfocused, but fun small market CHR/Hot AC. Regrettably, there is a fair amount of static on this recording.

KHHT (K-Hits 107.5) – Denver – 12/3/96 – George McFly

This is a montage of “Denver’s 90’s Hit Music Station”, recorded 19 years ago yesterday. K-Hits 107.5 replaced KWMX “Mix 107.5” in early August 1996, only to be shelved in favor of KQKS “KS-107.5” by the second week of January 1997. More details about the history of this short-lived station can be found at The Format Change Archive and this Billboard magazine article accessible via Google Books.  

WPST (97.5 PST) – Trenton, NJ – 11/5/97 – Dan Kelly

Recorded 18 years ago this month, here is a sample of Central New Jersey’s longtime Hot AC/Mainstream CHR, at its previous home on 97.5 FM.  More information about the station can be found at Wikipedia.

WFAT (96.5 The Fat One) – Kalamazoo, MI – 6/8/98

According to Wikipedia, the WFAT call letters lasted a decade and a half on 96.5 FM in Kalamazoo, yet represented a wide variety of formats. This montage (recorded 17 years ago today) is a sample of the station’s brief attempt at a format that appeared to be a hybrid between Mainstream CHR and Hot AC.

WFKS (99.9 Kiss-FM) – Palatka, FL – 2/6/99 – Spencer Davis

Recorded 16 years ago today, this is a sample of WFKS near the end of its 6-year run on 99.9 FM. According to this Wikipedia page, in the year 2000, 99.9 FM moved into the Jacksonville market (with new calls WGNE) while the WFKS calls moved to 97.9 FM (also serving Jacksonville).

WKRQ (Q102) – Cincinnati – 4/22/98 – Chris

According to Wikipedia, Cincinnati’s Q102 has offered some flavor of CHR format since 1975, making it one of the longest-running currently broadcasting Top 40 stations in the United States. This is a sample of the station from 1998, when it took a pure Adult CHR approach.

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