Chicago

WBBM-FM (B96) – Chicago – 12/27/97 – DJ Markski

During a significant portion of the 1990′s, Chicago’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. By the end of the decade, the station began taking a more conventional approach to its regular format, focusing on hip-hop and R&B hits. However, B96 still aired significant amounts of Dance during its mixshows — such as this segment from a Saturday night near the end of 1997 featuring Eurodance mixed by DJ Markski. Please note that this montage is more music-heavy than what you’ll normally find on the site; this was done intentionally to highlight the depth of the musical selections, and also because – as is the norm with mix shows – there was m...

WYTZ (Z95) – Chicago – 10/2/86 – 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). This is a brief sample of Z95 from October of that year (recorded 29 years ago this month).  

WCBR (Cyber Radio 92-7) – Arlington Heights/Chicago, IL – 8/22/97 – Jammin’ Down JD

“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 7, 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 9...

WKIE/WKIF/WDEK (The New 92 Kiss-FM) – suburban Chicago – 8/9/99 – Luis 2Live Lopez

In November 1998, pure Mainstream CHR was heard on Chicagoland airwaves (for the first time in many years) with the launch of “92.7 Kiss-FM“ on a pair of suburban signals. This is a sample of the station about 9 months into its existence (recorded 16 years ago today.) More information on the history of this station can be found at Wikipedia.

WBBM-FM (B96) – Chicago – 6/14/98 – Tim Spinnin’ Schommer

During a significant portion of the 1990′s, Chicago’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. By the end of the decade, the station began taking a more conventional approach to its regular format, focusing on hip-hop and R&B hits. However, B96 still aired significant amounts of Dance during its mixshows. This is a sample of the rather unique Sunday evening “Street Flava” program, which featured regular programming interspersed with Dance mixes from multiple genres, hosted by guest DJs.

WBBM-FM (B96) – Chicago – 2/24/00 – Roxanne

  This is a montage of Chicago’s longtime Rhythmic CHR recorded on a Monday afternoon, in early 2000. It’s hosted by Roxanne (Roxanne Steele), who had been part of the B96 team since either late 1996 or early 1997, after being on the air at Phoenix’s Power 92 (KKFR). She enjoyed a 12-year run at B96 before moving to sister station WCFS (Fresh 105.9) for a brief period and then onto her current home — 96.3 WDVD in Detroit. Despite moving away from its Dance-leaning format in 1997, B96 inexplicably continued to position itself as “Chicago’s Dance Beat”. The legendary Mitch Craig was still the voice of the station at this time.

WLS-FM (94.7) – Chicago – 1/19/86 – Peter B

Recorded 29 years ago this month, this is a sample of Chicago’s heritage WLS-FM near the very end of its 2nd era with those famous call letters. Specifically – according to a promo heard near the end of this montage, the station would be rebranding to “Z95” on “Monday”. This aircheck was recorded on a Sunday, so the aforementioned switch presumably took place the next day. (I don’t know if the call letters actually changed to WYTZ on that day as well.) Left intact in its entirety is the entertaining and uptempo hit “Super Bowl Shuffle“, performed by members of the 1986 Super Bowl-bound (and eventual champion) Chicago Bears. Two other items of note: At the beginning, you’ll hear a series of jingles that were most likely recorded pr...

WBBM-FM (B96) – Chicago – 1/7/96 – Julian Perez, Tim Schommer, Candi

During the 1990’s, Chicago’s B96 was one of the most unique Rhythmic CHRs in the U.S. Recorded 19 years ago today, his is a montage of the broad-based, personality-heavy “Street Flava” program.

WBBM-FM (B96) – Chicago – Jan. ’94 – Frankie “Hollywood” Rodriguez

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, is a great example of why dance radio fanatics held the station in such high regard. This montage features a sample of a classic dance segment on the “Street Mix” along with regular programming, and it’s hosted by longtime station personality Frankie “Hollywood” Rodriguez.  

WKIE/WKIF/WDEK (Energy 92-7 & 5) – suburban Chicago – 12/24/01 – Joe Smith & Chris Shebel

The Chicago division of Big City Radio offered some of the more interesting programming on the Windy City’s radio dial. However, three times, a format they debuted on one of their sets of suburban frequencies (92.7/92.5 or 103.1) ended up being copied and presented in a different form on a full signal in the market. When “92.7 Kiss-FM” (later 92 Kiss-FM) debuted in November 1998, it represented the first serious attempt at a CHR/Pop outlet in the Chicago area since the early 90’s. The suburban trio of 92.7 WKIE/Arlington Heights, 92.7 WKIF/Kankakee, and eventually 92.5 WDEK/DeKalb combined to produce ratings near or at a 2 share 12+. (In comparison, those three signals consistently combined for a “no-show” in the 12+ ratings before Big City took control and linked the signals together.) Ho...

WCKG 105.9 (Cyber Radio) – Chicago – 1/9/99 – Frankie “Hollywood” Rodriguez

Cyber Radio was a brokered Dance CHR format that initially aired on weekends from approximately May to September 1997 on suburban WCBR 92.7 in Arlington Heights, Illinois. 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 92.7 FM. It retur...

WBBM-FM (B96) – Chicago – 12/23/96 – Blue Mike, Bobby D, Julian ‘Jumpin’ Perez

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 (two nights before Christmas 1996), is a great example of why dance radio fanatics held the station in such high regard. It begins with a montage of the “10 O’Clock Remix”, featuring different genres of dance courtesy of longtime B96 mixers Bobby D and Julian’ Jumpin Perez. The mixers are followed by regular programming, hosted by Blue Mike a.k.a. Michael Horn. More information about Horn’s lengthy tenure with B96 can be found at THIS page.

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