California

KDON (102.5) – Monterey, CA – 12/31/98 & 1/1/99 – Paul Robbins/Maverick (EXCELLENT)

Recorded 15 years ago this week,  here’s sample of Monterey’s longtime Rhythmic CHR at the turn of the new year, 1998-99. On the first part of the aircheck are snippets of the station’s end-of-year mix (which includes a lengthy recap of the various concerts and promotions offered by KDON in 1998); that’s followed by a portion of the “Top 102 of 1998”. As you’ll hear, the station offered a relatively broad music mix – a more genuine defintion of “Rhythmic CHR” than was common at the time. In this era, KDON was voiced by the late and great Brian James.

KZQZ (Z95.7) – San Francisco, CA – 12/27/98

Recorded 15 years ago yesterday, this is a montage of San Francisco’s Z95.7 about a year and a half after its launch. As heard on this aircheck of the station from July 1997, Z95.7 initially employed a dance-heavy approach, similar to Z104 (WWZZ) in Washington, D.C. and 102.7 ‘XYV (WXYV) in Baltimore. However, over time, as demonstrated here, the playlist became more balanced.

KYLD (Wild 94.9) – San Francisco – 12/27/98 (“Mickey Fickey Mix”)

Recorded 15 years ago today, this is a sample of the Bay Area’s longtime Rhythmic CHR. Wild 94.9 was (and perhaps still is) one of the most entertaining and well-programmed stations around, custom-tailored for its (major) market.

KBOS (B95) – Fresno, CA – 12/17/91 – Jeff Scott

B95 is one of America’s longest-running CHRs, adopting a Rhythmic lean long before it became the norm to do so. Jeff Scott (featured on the second half of this montage, recorded 21 years ago today) is one of at least three members of the station to later work in the Phoenix market – others include Krazy Kid (KBZR/KPTY, KKFR, KZZP, KZON) and Don Parker (featured in a commercial at the start of the aircheck; as PD of KKFR in the mid-90’s, led the station to its highest ever 12+ Arbitron shares.)  

KHTS (Channel 9-3-3) – San Diego – Nov ’96 – Cha Cha

“All New, All Dance” – this aircheck, from November 1996, represents the sound of Channel 9-3-3 (KHTS San Diego) in its earliest days. It offered an outstanding music mix, talent, sweepers, and all-around production values. IMHO, this is what a Dance CHR station should sound like, and it’s the best I’ve personally ever heard. However, the masses did not agree  – KHTS evolved to a more conventional Rhythmic CHR by the Spring of 1997. –

KHTS (Channel 933) – San Diego – October 1996

“The New Beat of San Diego” – this aircheck, from October 1996, represents the sound of Channel 9-3-3 in its earliest days. It offered an outstanding music mix, talent, sweepers, and all-around production values. IMHO, this is what a Dance CHR station should sound like, and it’s the best I’ve personally ever heard. However, the masses did not agree  – KHTS evolved to a more conventional Rhythmic CHR in early 1997.  

KACD/KBCD (Groove 103.1) – Los Angeles – 9/25/97

In June 1996, KACD-FM (Santa Monica) and KBCD-FM (Newport Beach) switched from a Mainstream AC format to a Underground Dance format known as “Groove Radio”. While Groove Radio was unique, it was perhaps too unique for conventional radio. It never made any sort of dent in the ratings. During the summer of 1997, Groove Radio creator Swedish Egil was fired. The station remained in the Dance arena, but it became more mainstream (better suited for radio) — but not so mainstream that it could truly be considered “cheesy”. The name also changed to “Groove 103.1″, mainly because Egil owned the rights to the “Groove Radio” name. Then, on September 18, 1997, the format changed to an ordinary traditional Rhythmic CHR, yet the name remained “Groove 103.1″. The station was flooded with negative feedbac...

KIIS (102.7 KIIS-FM) – Los Angeles – 8-31-97 – JoJo, Chris Leary

Recorded 16 years ago this month, here’s a sample of “the most listened-to radio station in Western America” from late Summer 1997.

KKXX (105.3) – Bakersfield, CA – 7/23/91

Since 1977, the KKXX call letters have been associated with four different frequencies in the Bakersfield market. This is a sample of the station from 1991 (recorded 22 years ago today), when it was found at 105.3 FM. More detailed information can be found on this Wikipedia page.

KIBB (B100) – Los Angeles – 6/25/97 – Nino

  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. 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, but the end result was a rather unfocused format. The station’s slogan became “The Rhythm of L.A.” (and eventually, as heard on this aircheck, “The New Rhythm of Southern California”). H...

KHQT (Hot 97-7) – San Jose, CA – 5/24/92 – Richard Bolie

“The station of the South Bay, and for the South Bay” — recorded 21 years ago this week, Hot 97.7 is a great example of high-energy Rhythmic CHR from the early 90’s.  I wish that modern-day stations focusing on this era of music would take it a step further and employ the production values from those days as well. One of the few to do so is KWNZ “106.3 Pop-FM” in Reno, NV.

KGGI (99.1) – Riverside, CA – 5/6/05

Recorded 8 years ago today, this is a sample of the Inland Empire’s longtime Rhythmic CHR during its morning show. The majority of this aircheck was recorded during a Friday morning “old school” specialty hour. Thanks to Jeffery Holland for contributing.

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