April

WZPL (99 1/2, ZPL) – Indianapolis – 4/19/97 – Cramer

From its days as a Mainstream CHR, this is a sample of the “ZPL Hitzone” mixshow from a Saturday night in April 1997. Features sweepers from the late and great Brian James, and soundbites from the recently resurrected Beavis and Butthead.

KHYS/KJOJ (Kiss 98.5, Kiss Again 103.3) – Houston – 4/4/98

“Kiss 98-5, Kiss Again 103-3″ (KHYS/KJOJ) debuted on February 24, 1997 with a Dance-oriented approach targetted at Latinos, similar to Power 96 in Miami. Styles of music heard on the station included house, freestyle, bass, tropical, and R&B. While the station seemed to be making some progress in the ratings early, it never got to the next level. This brief aircheck was recorded around the time (or shortly before) a shift to a more Mainstream approach — essentially a more Rhythmic version of the heritage Mainstream CHR in the market, KRBE. The station threw in the towel altogether on 1/1/99 as it jumped on the “fad” format of the era — Rhythmic Oldies (better known as “Jammin’ Oldies”).  

KZZP (104-7 ZZP) – Phoenix – 11/19 & 11/20/00

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. The station performed well, ranking #1 in key demos by 1998. However, by that point, Jacor (now Clear Channel) had taken ownership of KZZP along with KGLQ (96.9). On Labor D...

WKSS (KISS 95.7) – HARTFORD, CT – 6/20/98

Recorded 17  years ago this month, here is a sample of Friday night programming on Hartford’s longtime CHR outlet. Featured are the end of a live-to-air mixshow from a nightclub named “2001” followed by regular programming, along with a lengthy promo for the “Dysfunctional Morning Radio” morning show.

KHYI (Power 95) – Dallas/Fort Worth – 4/30/91 – Ken Barnett

Beginning sometime in 1986, 94.9 FM in Dallas was known as Y95. During its run, it forced multiple competitors out of the CHR format. But in the early 90’s, with changing popular music tastes, many Mainstream CHR stations in the U.S. faced an identity crisis. According to DFW Radio Archives, this aircheck was recorded just after the station was rebranded as Power 95 with a more Rhythmic approach (24 years ago today). About six months later, it became “Oldies 94.9″. Contributed by Robyn Watts.  

WQHT (Hot 103) – New York – 4/29/87 – Bill Lee

Recorded 28 years ago today, this is – in my opinion – the best and most successful example of a Dance CHR station in the United States. Hot 103 debuted in August 1986 and became Hot 97 (on 97.1 FM) in September 1988. Additional, very detailed information about the history of Hot 103 can be found on Wikipedia.

KZZP 104.7 – Phoenix – 4/11/99 – Phil Steiner

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. The station performed well, ranking #1 in key demos by 1998. However, by that point, Jacor (now Clear Channel) had taken ownership of KZZP along with KGLQ (96.9). On Labor Day Wee...

KPWR (Power 106) – Los Angeles – 4/24/87 – Jay Thomas

In February 1986, Emmis Broadcasting flipped 105.9 FM in Los Angeles from KMGG “Magic 106” (apparently some form of Hot AC as suggested in this article) to Rhythmic CHR (then a relatively new format) as “Power 106”.  The station became an instant hit, surpassing heritage Mainstream KIIS in all dayparts except Morning Drive, where Rick Dees continued to dominate. In an effort to reverse this trend, Emmis brought in Jay Thomas, who had been hosting mornings on New York’s WKTU (the original) until the year prior.  This is a sample of Thomas’ show about six months after its debut, recorded 28 years ago this month.  

WWSK (107.1 The Shark) – Myrtle Beach, SC – 4/7/96 – John Boy & Billy

Recorded 19 years ago this month, here’s a sample of a station that branded itself (to a degree) as a CHR (with the positioning statement “Mega Hits”), yet offered a Rock-leaning Hot AC format. More information about the history of this station/frequency can be found at Wikipedia.

WKSS (Kiss 95.7) – Hartford, CT – 4/11/97

Recorded 18  years ago this month, here is a sample of the “Kiss Club” dance mix show on Hartford’s longtime CHR outlet. In this era, the station offered an upbeat, high-energy presentation voiced by two of the industry’s finest: Mark Driscoll and Eric Edwards.  

KHYI (Y95) – Dallas/Fort Worth – 4/11/91 – Jo Jo Wright

In the early 90’s, with changing popular music tastes, many Mainstream CHR stations in the U.S. faced an identity crisis.  Y95 – which had launched in 1986 and forced multiple competitors out of the format – was no exception.  According to DFW Radio Archives, this aircheck was recorded just before before the station was rebranded as Power 95 with a more Rhythmic approach.  Six months later, it became “Oldies 94.9″. Contributed by Robyn Watts.

KXYL 1240 (Kiss-AM) – Brownwood, TX – 4/2/95 (CHR on AM!)

Deviating from the name and predominant theme of our site, and recorded a little over 20 years ago this month, here’s a sample of what had become a rarity by the mid-90’s: a (Mainstream) CHR station heard on AM, without an FM simulcast partner.

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