WZOK (97 ZOK) – Rockford, IL – 8/10/98 – Steve Paska

This is a great example of pure small market Midwestern Mainstream CHR from the late 90’s. Voiced by the late and great Brian James.  

KZON (101-5 the Zone) – Phoenix – 8/15/97 – Laura B

This is a montage of “101-5 the Zone” on a Saturday night in the middle of a scorching Phoenix summer.  One of the station’s slogans was “Arizona’s Alternative”, but the sound was very Modern AC-ish at this time.  Heritage 80’s CHR KZZP (104.7) had returned as a Modern AC a year and a half earlier, and was enjoying a ratings resurgence.

WLUW (Energy 88.7) – Chicago – 8/22/97 – Jammin’Down JD

“Club Jam” was a Friday night 8-hour dance music program that made its debut on Loyola University’s WLUW (Energy 88.7) in 1993.  Please visit the archived JamTraxx Media Website for more information about the history of this program. My apologies for the fair amount of static that is present throughout the first half of this aircheck.

WXXL (XL-106.7) – Orlando – 8/5/00 – Kid Cruz, Nikki Knight

This is a montage of Orlando’s longtime Mainstream CHR outlet at the start of the 2000’s. WXXL’s production values at this time were a throwback to a bygone era. The station was still employing the legendary Mitch Craig for voicework (seemingly several years after most CHR stations had stopped doing so). In addition, the station featured live legal IDs (including announcement of the current time!) read by the jock who was on-air during that daypart. Many thanks to Rich Marino for contributing this aircheck.

WZPL (99 1/2, ZPL) – Indianapolis – 8/8/97 – Jason Addams

This is a sample of the “ZPL Hitzone” mixshow from a Saturday night in August 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.

WXXY/WYXX (103.1 WXXY) – Chicago – 8/6/99 (FIRST DAY)

On August 6, 1999, Big City Radio debuted one of the first radio stations in the U.S. focused exclusively on classic hits from the 1980’s. The station’s outstanding presentation made it stand out among the countless others that attempted to clone it in the years that followed. The actual sign-on (along with the stunting that preceded it, and a detailed synopsis) can be heard on our sister site, The Format Change Archive. The very brief aircheck posted here represents a little more of the first hour.

WXYV (102.7 XYV) – Baltimore – 8/2/98 – Melanie

In June 1997, Baltimore’s Urban-formatted V103 came to an end as it flipped to a Mainstream CHR format branded as “102.7 XYV”. The format was dance-friendly, similar to Z104 (WWZZ) in Washington, D.C. and Z95.7 (KZQZ) in San Francisco. (All three were consulted by Dan Vallie.) However, by about the same time next year, the station employed an approach that emphasized hip-hop and modern rock (positioned as “alternative”) with less of a focus on dance, R&B and mainstream pop. The overall concept was similar (but certainly not as “extreme”) to what KPTY in Phoenix and KXME in Honolulu were attempting at this time.

WQQB (Q96) – Champaign, IL – 8/7/98

Q96 was (and may still be) a great-sounding, somewhat eclectic small market Mainstream CHR.

KHOM (Mix 104.1) – New Orleans – 8/31/97

Recorded on this date 18 years ago – and serving “The Party Capital of the World” – Mix 104.1 offered one of the most diverse playlists I’ve ever heard on a CHR station. Reviewing the comments from an earlier Mix 104.1 posting, this was (not surprisingly) from the days when the station was still independently owned.

WVKS (92.5 Kiss-FM) & WDRQ (93.1 DRQ) – Toledo, OH / Detroit, MI – 8/27/98 & 8/28/98

Recorded 16 years ago this week, this is a montage of a pair of CHR stations that served neighboring Midwestern markets. At this time, Toledo’s WVKS (92.5 Kiss-FM) aired its “Club Kiss”  (which was really the syndicated Hot Mix product) dance mixes nightly – this brief sample of the station was recorded on a Thursday night during that program. Following the “worst-to-first” success of New York’s “103.5 The New ‘KTU” in 1996, a number of stations around the U.S. attempted similar formats (essentially Rhythmic AC) in their markets. Among these stations was 93.1 FM in Detroit, which brought back the WDRQ call letters after a 10+ year absence. The station initially positioned itself as “Detroit’s Dance Music Station”, offering a mix of currents and classics from the gen...

KHOP 104.1 – Modesto/Stockton, CA – 8-19-90 – Marco

Recorded 25 years ago this month, this is a sample of KHOP during a previous era as a Mainstream CHR (which is the format it currently holds as well.) According to the Modesto Radio Museum, the station offered various other formats (mostly rock-oriented) during the 1990’s and early 2000’s.  Along the way, it shifted frequencies from 104.1 to 95.1.

WXYV (B102.7) – Baltimore – 8/18/99 – John Bouche

In 1997, Baltimore’s WXYV flipped from Urban “V103” to Mainstream CHR as “102.7 XYV”. However, the station would be marred with inconsistancy for the next couple of years. The station would constantly change its lean from dance to hip-hop to alternative while searching for a gain in audience. In 1998, the station changed its name to B102.7 in order to prevent a competitor from bringing back B104 and at the same time connect the two CHR’s in Baltimore’s recent history. A newfound mainstream pop lean came in 1999 as the station finally found some stability. In 2001, the station would move to 105.7 and flip to Urban as “X105.7”.