CHR

KLAZ (105.9) – Hot Springs, AR – June 1997

“Central Arkansas’ 100,000 watt hit music superstation” This is a brief sample of “Central Arkansas’ 100,000 watt hit music superstation” during surprisingly progressive mixshow programming.

WPLJ (Mojo Radio 95.5 FM) – New York – 6/21/91 – AJ Hammer

**New York City’s 95.5 WPLJ will end its current programming format at 7pm EDT today (Friday 5/31/19), following a sale from Cumulus to Educational Media Foundation. We will be featuring airchecks of this longtime CHR/Hot AC station from the past 30+ years throughout this week.** Per Wikipedia – as a final attempt to find success with the CHR format, WPLJ rebranded as “Mojo Radio” in April 1991, shortly after hiring Scott Shannon as morning show host. Four months later, the station began shifting towards Adult Top 40; by February 1992, it had evolved to Hot AC and began calling itself simply “95-5 PLJ”.

WPLJ (The All New ‘PLJ – Power 95) – New York – 1990 – Greg Thunder

**New York City’s 95.5 WPLJ will end its current programming format on Friday 5/31/19, following a sale from Cumulus to Educational Media Foundation. We will be featuring airchecks of this longtime CHR/Hot AC station from the past 30+ years throughout this week.** Courtesy of the now-defunct mp3airchecks.com, here’s a sample of New York’s WPLJ during as days as “Power 95”, but after the station adopted a lean towards more adult-oriented, pop/rock hits. Interestingly, the station also used “Musicradio” (made famous by WABC-AM) and “The All New PLJ” as supplementary monikers. Visit Wikipedia for more information on the history of this station.  

WPLJ (Power 95) – New York City – 10/28/85 – Fast Jimmy Roberts

**New York City’s 95.5 WPLJ will end its current programming format on Friday 5/31/19, following a sale from Cumulus to Educational Media Foundation. We will be featuring airchecks of this longtime CHR/Hot AC station from the past 30+ years throughout this week.** Here’s a sample of WPLJ couple of years after it entered the CHR format, and within the first year of calling itself “Power 95”. Visit Wikipedia for more information on the history of this station.

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.  

KMVA (Hot 97.5) – Phoenix – 8/20/12

Since October 2006, about 18 months after moving from Flagstaff, AZ to Dewey-Humboldt, AZ (in order to better cover the Phoenix market), 97.5 FM has programmed many variations of uptempo formats targeted at adults. It started with MOViN’ 97.5, which launched as a Rhythmic AC but evolved to a Hot AC/Adult Top 40 format. By the end of 2010, the station rebranded as Hot 97.5 but generally kept the same format. It flirted with a Dance-leaning approach early in the decade before returning to Adult Top 40. This aircheck appears to have been recorded somewhere in the middle of that most recent transition. The station began simulcasting on KEXX (now KZON)/Gilbert in January 2014, and now calls itself “Hot 97.5 & 103.9”. Many thanks to Steven Ratz for contributing this airchec...

KHOM (Mix 104.1) – New Orleans – 12/26/96

Mix 104.1 offered one of the most diverse playlists I’ve ever heard on a CHR station.  Reviewing the history of the 104.1 frequency, it seems that this was (not surprisingly) from the days when the station was still independently owned.

WRQX (Q107) – Washington, D.C. – 10/1/88 – Uncle Johnny Walker

107.3 FM in Washington, D.C. has been Hot AC as “Mix 107.3” since 1990. But in the 12 years prior, it was CHR/Top 40 as “Q107”. This sample from October 1988 – recorded during the station’s “Top 10 at 10” countdown – demonstrates the dominance of hairband acts on the pop charts at the time. Thanks to Robyn Watts for contributing this aircheck. Our sister site, Airchexx.com, also features a pair of Q107 samples: Uncle Johnny, 12/26/83 Celeste Clark, 12/26/85

KSIQ (Q96) – Brawley/El Centro, CA – 2000 – Bill Stewart, Mary Jesse

“From Baja to the North Shore, from Pine Valley to Arizona’s Door”. Q96 was one of the best-sounding CHRs I’ve ever heard, and it’s more impressive upon realizing that the area it served (the Imperial Valley in far Southern California) was/is not even rated by Arbitron.  It offered great music, air talent, and production values. This aircheck was recorded sometime in 2000 (presumably in the Summer or Fall, judging by the mention of the 100+ degree temperatures).  Please note that this montage represents two separate segments (one at the end of morning drive, and the other in late afternoon drive), so certain songs are heard twice. Sadly, in an effort to garner more advertising dollars, the owners of Q96 made an attempt to move the station’s signal closer...

KOY-FM (Y95) – Phoenix – Summer ’93 – Bo and Jamie

In the late 80’s, and the very early 90’s, Phoenix was one of the best markets for fans of the CHR format.  Nationwide Communications’ heritage KZZP found itself in a heated battle with The Broadcast Group’s Power 92 (KKFR) and Edens Broadcasting’s Y95 (KOY-FM). KZZP dominated for most of the 80′s.  But with changes in management, personalities, and pop music tastes — ratings dropped significantly in the early 90’s, leading to a format and name change in April 1991. Y95, capitalizing on the changes and later demise of KZZP, enjoyed ratings success at the start of the decade.  But by 1993, ratings had fallen well below those of Power 92, which had begun to establish itself as the market’s preferred CHR (a title which it held through the 90’s).  On September 2, 1993, ...

XHITZ (Jammin’ Z90) – San Diego – 7/4/94 – Nick Monroe

This is a sample of Z90, serving America’s Finest City, recorded on Independence Day 1994.  At this time, Z90 was seemingly one of the most unique-sounding Rhythmic CHRs around; I personally do not recall hearing most of the songs featured on this aircheck anywhere else.

KKFR (Power 92) – Phoenix – 5/5/95 – Carey Edwards

Recorded on Cinco de Mayo 1995 – this is a sample of the only CHR serving the Valley of the Sun in the early to mid-90’s. In late 1993, despite enjoying great success as a Rhythmic CHR, Power 92 flipped to Modern Rock-heavy Mainstream CHR.  Ratings declined, and the station began to move back towards Rhythmic CHR by the Fall of 1994.  When this aircheck was recorded, the station used a Dance-heavy approach; the sound evolved to one more based on R&B (but remained Dance-friendly) by the Fall of 1995, which led to the station achieving an all-time high 7.0 Arbitron share (12+). Featuring entertaining sweepers voiced by Marc Driscoll, Power 92 was just a fun station to listen in this era.  Especially now, I appreciate that they always had live legal IDs at this time.  Also, I&...

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