February

KXME (Xtreme Radio @ 104.3) – Honolulu – 2/13/98 – Jamie Hyatt

Jerry Clifton’s New Planet Radio launched 104.3 FM as a new signal in the Honolulu market on October 23, 1997. Per Wikipedia, its initial approach was a variation of the Mainstream CHR format — focused on hip-hop and modern rock — unofficially known as “Extreme CHR”. As heard on this aircheck, the station began emphasizing hip-hop over modern rock, and eventually became a full-blown Rhythmic CHR. The format employed by Xtreme Radio in its early days was brought to sister station KPTY Phoenix in June 1998, as heard here.

WXYV (B102.7) – Baltimore – 2/7/99 – Melanie

In 1997, Baltimore’s WXYV flipped from Urban “V103” to Mainstream CHR as “102.7 XYV”. However, the station would be marred with inconsistency for the next couple of years. It would constantly change its lean from dance to hip-hop to alternative while searching for a gain in audience. In 1998, the name changed to B102.7 in order to prevent a competitor from bringing back B104 and at the same time connected the two CHR’s in Baltimore’s recent history. A newfound mainstream pop lean came in 1999 as it finally found some stability. In 2001, the station moved down the dial and flipped to Urban as “X105.7”. Left intact in this aircheck is a B102.7 commercial recruiting Account Executives.

WPLJ 95.5 – New York – 2/11/95 – Tony Banks (Valentine’s Dedications)

**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 longtime Adult CHR/Hot AC, recorded on the weekend before Valentine’s Day in 1995.  

KZZP – Phoenix – 2/19/99 – Phil Steiner

 During the 80′s, KZZP 104.7 FM in Phoenix was one of the most successful Mainstream CHR stations in the country. According to the station’s Wikipedia page, it “produced a long list of future stars in the radio business”, and offered a music mix that was adventurous for a Top 40 station. However, a combination of changes in personalities, management, and overall pop music tastes led to the station’s downfall (in April 1991). Five years later, owner Nationwide Communications brought KZZP back to the airwaves with a Modern AC format, making an attempt to appeal to the listeners who grew up with the station as a CHR. The station performed well, ranking #1 in key demos by 1998. However, by that point, Jacor (now Clear Channel) had taken ownership of KZZP along with KGLQ (96.9). On Labor Day We...

KDNR (Rhythm-Driven 106-3) – Albuquerque, NM – 2/24/97 – Mark Raider

According to Wikipedia — KDNR (whose call letters supposedly stood for “Dance and Romance”) launched sometime in the Spring of 1995, possibly with an all Dance or very Dance-heavy format. As demonstrated on this aircheck, by early 1997, the station had become rather unfocused as it attempted to broaden its music mix. I’m not sure if the station always used the very odd “Rhythm-Driven 106-3” name – any additional details would be much appreciated. Special thanks to Dave Dart – who at the time was program director of Rhythmic AC competitor KZRQ “Star 105 FM” – for recording this aircheck and meeting me for lunch when he was visiting Phoenix. The station now offers a CHR format known as “Z106.3”.  

KHTO (Hot 106.7) – Springfield, MO – 2/15/97

An uptempo, dance-friendly CHR is not necessarily what one would expect to find in a small Midwestern market, but that’s exactly what Hot 106.7 was at this time.

WBLI (106.1 ‘BLI) – Long Island, NY – 2/7/98 – Doc Medek

WBLI was an upbeat, fun-sounding CHR outlet, offering Long Island a locally focused alternative to similarly formatted stations from New York City.  

WLUP (The Loop 97.9) – Chicago – 2/17/97 – Tim Virgin

  Recorded a little over 20 years ago, this is a sample of Chicago’s longtime Rocker. Based on information posted at Wikipedia, the station had recently dropped a hybrid talk/comedy/rock format — several sweepers heard here emphasize the station’s focus on the music. It seems that the station was evolving from Modern AC to Classic Rock at this time.

CING (Energy 108) – Toronto – 2/28/97

For several years in the early to mid 1990’s, Toronto’s Energy 108 offered a cutting-edge Dance music format, making it a favorite among Dance radio enthusiasts. However, by 1997, the station’s ownership changed hands, and the format eventually evolved to Mainstream CHR.  This brief aircheck (seemingly one of the few in existence) was presumably recorded close to the beginning of that transition. It features snippets of the station’s “Top 50 Countdown” and “All Retro Dance Edition” programs. More information can be found at Wikipedia.  

KDGS (Power 93) * Wichita, KS * 2/15/00 * Ricardo Cherry

    This is a sample of KDGS from its days as an Urban-leaning Rhythmic CHR at its longtime home on 93.9 FM. It moved to 93.5 FM in 2014. Please visit Wikipedia for more information on the history of this station.

WBNJ (B105.5, The Buzz) – Atlantic City, NJ – 2/19/99

In the Spring of 1998, 107.3 WZZP teased Southern New Jersey with a Rhythmic CHR format. With no promotion or publicity, this brand new signal garnered a 2 share (12+) in its first ratings book. Seeing the hole for something between Urban AC WTTH and Adult leaning CHR WAYV, Margate Communications rolled the dice with hopes of being different. Pulling the plug on recently acquired satellite Modern Rocker WDOX, Margate moved the southern half of the Urban AC “Touch” simulcast from 105.5 to WDOX’s 93.1 slot. Rimshotting greater Atlantic City area from Cape May Court House, WBNJ (which quickly became WZBZ) debuted with a Dance CHR format designed to target WAYV, while still protecting WTTH. Within a year, WZBZ moved to 99.3 in Pleasantville, while retaining the 105.5 simulcast as WGBZ, giving ...

WDBZ (105.1 The Buzz) – New York – 2/9/97 – Josh Bennett

This is a montage of the short-lived Modern AC format on 105.1 FM New York, branded as “The Buzz”, about halfway through its life. Quoting from the Formatchange.com post highlighting the station’s debut a few months prior: “105.1 The Buzz debuted as an 80’s leaning Modern AC, attempting to fill a niche in between K-Rock and WPLJ along with gaining listeners disenfranchised by Z100 and WNEW dropping out of the Alternative Rock genre. However, the station may have been too hip and new for its own good. Changing conditions in the marketplace failed to allow The Buzz to reach its first birthday.”

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