FM

WKDD (96.5) – Akron, OH – 10/17/99

This is a montage of WKDD from its days on 96.5 FM and a Hot AC format. In July 2001, 96.5 FM became Mainstream CHR as “96.5 Kiss-FM”; WKDD moved to 98.1 FM.

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

KNHC (C89.5) – Seattle – 9/17/97

For more than 40 years, KNHC – owned by Seattle Public Schools and operated out of Nathan Hale High School – has been one of the best examples of non-commercial, student-run radio done right. For the majority of that time, it has focused on dance music, making it the longest-running (and one of the very few) stations of that format in the United States. This is a sample of the station from September 1997, when it was transitioning from “C89” to “C89.5”.    

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).

KIBB (B100) – Los Angeles – 8/31/97 (LABOR DAY WKND ’97) – Benny Martinez

Following the “worst-to-first” success of New York’s WKTU in 1996, a number of stations around the U.S. attempted similar formats (essentially Rhythmic AC) in their markets. B100 was one example – but the station never came close to achieving KTU-like numbers.  This aircheck features B100’s “All about the 80’s Weekend”, from Labor Day Weekend 1997, hosted by longtime Southern California air personality Benny Martinez. About 2 months later, B100 flipped to Rhythmic Oldies as Mega 100.  With its instant (but ultimately short-lived) success, the station became the “KTU” for its own format — numerous clones popped up nationwide as part of the “Jammin Oldies” fad. A decade later, Emmis jumped on the “Movin” bandwagon, bring...

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.  

KPTY (103-9 the Party) – Gilbert/Phoenix, AZ – 8/3/00 – Rudeboy

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, 103.9 FM — which targeted the Phoenix area from rural/suburban signals –  held a number of different formats. It began in the Spring of 1996 with a six-month Rhythmic Oldies stunt format named “S-T-E-V-E”. On October 30th of that year, it officially signed on as “The New 103.9, Arizona’s Party Station”, with a hip-hop-oriented Rhythmic CHR format and enjoyed impressive ratings (especially considering the signal limitations).  Its target, the more dance/pop/R&B-oriented KKFR “Power 92”, took notice and transformed itself into a pure hip-hop/R&B station within 9 months. A year later, 103.9 FM (whose calls had become KPTY) went in a completely different direction, offering a mix of a...

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, ...

KKFR (Power 92) – Phoenix – 3/29/91 – Scott Thrower, Danny Partridge, Kelly Boom

Recorded on Good Friday 1991, this is a sample of the dominant CHR station in Phoenix for most of the 1990’s, at the start of that decade. Specifically, this is a montage of the “Power Morning Zoo”. One of the co-hosts was Danny Partridge a.k.a. Danny Bonaduce, who became a TV star via “The Partridge Family” in the 1970’s. He joined KKFR around September 1990. Two days after this aircheck was recorded, Bonaduce was involved in an incident with a prostitute. The next day, he was placed on administrative leave. Many thanks to Beau Duran of WBBM NewsRadio for providing this aircheck.

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.

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