Chicago

WBBM-FM (B96) – Chicago – Memorial Day 1996 (5/27/96) – Julian Jumpin’ Perez, Tim Spinnin’ Schommer, Candi, Brian Middleton, Bobby D (mixer)

During a significant portion of the 1990′s, B96 offered a dance music-heavy format focused on currents — making it one of the very few major market, full signal commercial stations in the U.S. to find success with that formula during that decade. This montage, recorded at the peak of that era, is a great example of why dance radio fanatics held the station in such high regard. The aircheck was recorded in the midst of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls 1996 playoff run, preceded by a record-setting 72 win regular season. It includes several references to the team and a variation of “The Roof is On Fire” by To Kool Chris, titled “The Bulls Are On Fire”. Special thanks to Steven Ratz, formerly of Dance Music Authority (DMA) Magazine, for contributing this aircheck.  

WBBM-FM (B96) – Chicago – 12/31/95 – George McFly & Frankie Hollywood Rodriguez (Top 96 of ’95)

During a significant portion of the 1990′s, B96 offered a dance music-heavy format focused on currents — making it one of the very few major market, full signal commercial stations in the U.S. to find success with that formula during that decade. This aircheck, recorded at the peak of that era (and 18 years ago tonight), is a great example of why dance radio fanatics held the station in such high regard. You’ll hear the end of the “Top 96 of 1995” year-end countdown, followed by an outstanding montage counting down the final 3 minutes of 1995, leading into 1996. The hosts are longtime station personalities George McFly and Frankie “Hollywood” Rodriguez. And at the end of this aircheck  are snippets of programming that aired prior to the aforementioned countdow...

WLUW (Energy 88.7) – Chicago – 11/22/96 – Jammin’Down JD & DJ Revel

“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.  

WCBR/WBRO (92.7 Kiss-FM) – suburban Chicago – 11/14/98 (FIRST DAY)

In November 1998, pure Mainstream CHR was heard on Chicagoland airwaves (for the first time in many years) with the arrival of “92 Kiss-FM” on a pair of suburban signals. You can hear the station’s launch (along with the stunting that preceded it) at our sister site, Formatchange.com.  Posted here is a montage of the 30 minutes or so that followed. More information on the history of this station can be found at Wikipedia.

WYTZ (Z95) – Chicago – 9/10/86 – Peter B

In 1986, 94.7 WLS-FM in Chicago changed its call letters to WYTZ and began referring to itself as “Z95”. This new approach, along with a long list of personnel changes, made the station became a serious competitor to the market’s heritage CHR, WBBM-FM (B96).

WGCI (107.5) – Chicago – 8/21/98 – Armando Rivera & Scott Smokin’ Silz

This is a sample of Friday night “Club 107.5” mixshow programming on Chicago’s heritage Urban Contemporary station, WGCI. It was hosted by Armando Rivera with mixes provided by Scott Smokin’ Silz – both of whom worked at the legendary WBMX (102.7) during the 1980’s. At this time, the station (or at least the Club 107.5 mixshow) employed an outstanding high-energy voice talent in Pat Garrett. More information about the history of WBMX (specifically, the “Hot Mix 5” of which Scott Smokin’ Silz was a member) can be found HERE.  

WBBM-FM (B96) – Chicago – 8/13/97 – Terry Foxx

Musically, 1997 was a year of transition for B96. In comparison to previous years, the station began phasing out much of the Dance music that had defined its sound over the prior decade or so. Yet, at this time, B96 still positioned itself as “Chicago’s Dance Beat”, fueling the launch of a suburban competitor earlier in the summer.  

WCBR (Cyber Radio 92-7) – Arlington Heights/Chicago, IL – 6/13 & 6/14/97 – Tony Ortega, Magic Juan (Part 1 of 2)

“Broadcasting from Chicago to the world…” Cyber Radio 92-7 was a brokered Dance CHR format that aired on weekends from approximately May to September 1997 on the suburban WCBR signal. According to this message board posting, it was the first radio station in the Chicago area to broadcast on the Internet. Cyber Radio debuted around the same time that longtime heritage Rhythmic CHR WBBM 96.3 FM “B96” shifted its focus from Dance music to a more traditional Rhythmic CHR approach, yet continued to position itself as “Chicago’s Dance Beat”. Cyber Radio poked fun at its competitor, featuring liners such as “This is a dance beat…(insert dance song)…this is not (insert R&B song)” and “We’ve Got the Beat”. Also from the aforementioned message board posting, legal issues took Cyber Radio off 92....

WBBM-FM (B96) – Chicago – 3/16/97 – Julian Perez, Tim Schommer, Candi

During the 1990’s, Chicago’s B96 was one of the most unique Rhythmic CHRs in the U.S. This is a montage of the broad-based, personality-heavy “Street Flava” program.  

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.

WZZN (94.7 the Zone) – Chicago – 2000/2001 – Jeffrey T. Mason

This is a brief aircheck of Jeffrey T. Mason on 80′s-formatted 94.7 the Zone (WZZN Chicago), playing a jingle from the station’s days as Mainstream CHR WYTZ “Z95”. A similar aircheck (flashing back to the station’s days as “Musicradio WLS”) can be heard here. Note: Please have your speakers at a minimum before beginning to play this aircheck; the audio is very loud and begins suddenly.

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.)

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