Alternative

WZZN (94.7 The Zone) – Chicago – 2002 – Matt Wright

94.7 FM in Chicago has held many formats over the years. In the early 2000’s, it was known as “94.7 The Zone”, which began as a rock-leaning 80’s station but quickly evolved to the Alternative format heard on this montage. NOTE: The aircheck begins with an unnamed personality; Matt Wright takes over as host shortly thereafter.

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.)

WHTG-FM (G106.3) – Eatontown NJ – 6/25/2002 – Dave Wetmore

106.3 WHTG-FM Eatontown, NJ was one of first Alternative Rock stations in the nation, branded as “FM 106.3” from its debut in 1984 until it was sold to Press Communications in 2000. At that time the station was rebranded as “G106.3” as a new staff was brought in and a more mainstream sound. G106.3 would eventually add a simulcast on 98.5 and later 106.5 in Ocean County, NJ rebranding as “G-Rock Radio” in the process. The format would meet its demise in January 2009 for a short lived CHR format as “Hit 106” before finding success following its flip to Country “Thunder 106” in September 2010. This aircheck features the station’s late-night show in June 2002 hosted by Dave Wetmore. The music mix is fairly broad at this time fea...

WNNX (99X) – Atlanta – March & September ’95 – Yvonne Monet

For a good portion of its history, the radio format “Alternative” has been synonymous with “Modern Rock”. However, there was a time when the format encompassed other styles of music that were also considered an “alternative” to the mainstream – as demonstrated on this aircheck. It’s a brief montage of the hosting and production elements surrounding “The Beat Factory”, a progressive dance music show heard Saturday nights on the original incarnation of 99X in Atlanta.  

WDRE (103-9 DRE) – Jenkintown/Philadelphia – 1/12/97

This is an aircheck of Philadelphia’s WDRE about a month before new owner Radio One flipped the station to an Urban format.  Please visit The Format Change Archive and the WDRE page on meltoxic.com for more information on the history of this station.

CIMX (89X) – Windsor, ON / Detroit, MI – 1/29/92 – Skinner

This is a sample of longtime Modern Rocker 89X from its earlier days. More information about the station can be found at Wikipedia.

WPLY 100.3 (Y100) – Philadelphia – 1/12/97 – Lucy St. James

Alternative Rock Radio in Philadelphia has always flowed differently than the majority of the country. Thanks to the lack of a mainstream CHR for much of the 90’s and a very strong Howard Stern powered Active Rocker in 94 WYSP, Y100 had a broader demographic mix than most. Evolving from Hot AC in 1995, Y100 would not rise in popularity until crosstown 103.9 WDRE was sold to Radio-One and flipped to Urban in early 1997. Y100 did have deficiencies in its signal especially in the northern suburbs due to being on the same frequency as Z100 New York which kept ratings low. The launch of Modern AC “Max 95.7” in September 1997 didn’t help nor did “Q102” finally filling the Mainstream CHR void. Y100 itself would be sold to Radio-One in December 1999 but would remain Alternative until 2005 due to i...

KPTY (Party Radio @ 103.9) – Phoenix – 12/30/99 – Dead Air Dave

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, 103.9 FM — which targeted the Phoenix area from rural/suburban signals –  held a number of different formats. It began in the Spring of 1996 with a six-month Rhythmic Oldies stunt format named “S-T-E-V-E”. On October 30th of that year, it officially signed on as “The New 103.9, Arizona’s Party Station”, with a hip-hop-oriented Rhythmic CHR format and enjoyed impressive ratings (especially considering the signal limitations).  Its target, the more dance/pop/R&B-oriented KKFR “Power 92”, took notice and transformed itself into a pure hip-hop/R&B station within 9 months. A year later, 103.9 FM (whose calls had become KPTY) went in a completely different direction, offering a mix of alternative/modern rock and hip-hop in a format unofficially known ...

WHTG-FM (G106.3) – Eatontown, NJ – 11/13/01 – Dave Wetmore

106.3 WHTG-FM Eatontown, NJ was one of first Alternative Rock stations in the nation branded as “FM 106.3” from its debut in 1984 until it was sold to Press Communications in 2000. At that time the station was rebrandedas “G106.3” as a new staff was brought in and a more mainstream sound. G106.3 would eventually add a simulcast on 98.5 and later 106.5 in Ocean County, NJ rebranding as “G-Rock Radio” in the process. The format would meet its demise in January 2009 for a short lived CHR format as “Hit 106” before finding success following its flip to Country “Thunder 106” in September 2010.

WHFS 99.1 – Washington, D.C. – 10/24/98

The WHFS call letters/branding have been found on a variety of frequencies, particularly over the past 10 years or so. Please visit this Wikipedia page for more information on the history of this station.

WPLY 100.3 (Y100) – Philadelphia – 10/25/98 – Lucy St. James

Alternative Rock Radio in Philadelphia has always flowed differently than the majority of the country. Thanks to the lack of a mainstream CHR for much of the 90’s and a very strong Howard Stern powered Active Rocker in 94 WYSP, Y100 had a broader demographic mix than most. Evolving from Hot AC in 1995, Y100 would not rise in popularity until crosstown 103.9 WDRE was sold to Radio-One and flipped to Urban in early 1997. Y100 did have deficiencies in its signal especially in the northern suburbs due to being on the same frequency as Z100 New York which kept ratings low. The launch of Modern AC “Max 95.7” in September 1997 didn’t help nor did “Q102” finally filling the Mainstream CHR void. Y100 itself would be sold to Radio-One in December 1999 but would remain Alternative until 2005 due to i...

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.

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