February

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.”

95.9 WRED – Portland, ME – 2/8/97

“Broadcasting from the top of America…” According to Wikipedia, 95.9 WRED was a Mainstream CHR for least of the 1990’s. At some point,  it moved in a more hip-hop/rhythmic direction and remained that way until adopting a Sports format in August 2008. This aircheck was recorded during the syndicated “Hot Mix” program, but still gives a good idea of the station’s air talent and imaging.

KBBT (107.5 The Beat) – Portland – 2/24/97

A station named “The Beat” – especially in combination with the style of logo shown above – is generally presumed to have some sort of Rhythmic-flavored format. This aircheck – our first representative from the Portland market – is the rare exception. On August 1, 1996, KBBT (970 AM) began simulcasting on 107.5 FM and shifted formats from Alternative to Modern AC. The AM was eventually dropped from the simulcast. This is a sample of the station almost 7 months after the transition.    

WHTZ (Z100) – New York – 2/9/97 – Clarence Barnes

Generally speaking, at least in the U.S., the larger the market, the less interesting (musically) the radio stations become.  Fortunately, in the mid to late 90’s, Z100 — a heritage Mainstream CHR in Market #1 — was a wonderful exception to this rule.  At this time, the station offered an incredibly diverse music mix, including numerous recurrents and flashbacks.

WBLI (106.1 ‘BLI) – 2/2/99 – Al Levine on the Scene

WBLI was (and may still be) an upbeat, fun-sounding CHR outlet, offering Long Island a locally focused alternative to similarly formatted stations from New York City. This is a sample of the station recorded 17 years ago today.

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.

KIIS (102.7 KIIS-FM) – Los Angeles – 2/26/00 – Christian B (FULL FREQUENCY)

On multiple occasions from 1991 to 2003, the two 103.1 FM’s in the Los Angeles area (originating from Santa Monica and Newport Beach, respectively) programmed varying flavors of the Dance format under a variety of different names — MARS FM 103.1, Groove Radio, Groove 103.1, and 103.1 KDL. Supposedly, in a (no-longer-accessible) article which appeared on laradio.com, Roy Laughin (then general manager of Mainstream CHR 102.7 KIIS-FM) admitted that (KIIS owner) Jacor bought Groove 103.1 and changed the format so that it KIIS’ ratings would improve, due to the loss of a competitor. The montage heard here (recorded 15 years ago today) certainly seems to validate that story. For approximately five years following the demise of Groove 103.1, KIIS aired a Dance music program on F...

KHTS (Channel 9-3-3) – San Diego – 2/17/97 – Boomer

In September 1996, Channel 9-3-3 debuted with a gold-friendly Dance CHR format, as demonstrated in this aircheck from October of that year and this one from November. However, within a few months, the station became much more current-based, replacing much of the classic dance with contemporary R&B and pop.  

WJBQ (Q97.9) – Portland, ME – 2/11/99 – John Garabedian (OPEN HOUSE PARTY)

Recorded 16 years ago this month, this is a brief sample of the long-running syndicated “Open House Party” as heard on WJBQ in Portland, Maine.

WKZS-WJBQ-WMME – Portland/Augusta, Maine – 2/8 & 2/14/97

  Recorded 18 years ago this month, this is a sample of three CHR/CHR-leaning stations serving the state of Maine in early 1997: WKZS, Auburn/Portland — “99.9 Kiss-FM” (also heard on 96.9 FM), 2/8/97 – recorded during the high-energy “Kiss Club Night” mixshow programming. The station sounded much better in this era than it did a couple of years later, when it had rebranded as “Mix 96.9 & 99.9”.  (I have not been able to locate a logo for this station.) WJBQ, Portland — “Q 97 Dot 9”, 2/14/97 — Absolutely one of the best small market CHRs I’ve ever heard. J.J. Jeffries was both the voice and (I think) the owner of the station. WMME, Augusta/Brunswick/Bangor — “92 Moose”, 2/8/97. Another s...

WFKS (99.9 Kiss-FM) – Palatka, FL – 2/6/99 – Spencer Davis

Recorded 16 years ago today, this is a sample of WFKS near the end of its 6-year run on 99.9 FM. According to this Wikipedia page, in the year 2000, 99.9 FM moved into the Jacksonville market (with new calls WGNE) while the WFKS calls moved to 97.9 FM (also serving Jacksonville).

“95X” – New York City/Long Island area – Special K, DJ T.O.N.Y., Mike Matthews – 2/1/97

From February 1997, this is a sample of a pirate station broadcasting on 95.1 FM, presumably from somewhere in the New York City/Long Island area. It offered a cutting-edge Dance format, presumably as a rebuttal to the more Rhythmic AC-oriented WKTU, which had debuted a year earlier.

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