Radio

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...

WBBM-FM (B96) – Chicago – 12/31/95 – George McFly & Frankie Hollywood Rodriguez (Top 96 of ’95)

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 (and 18 years ago tonight), is a great example of why dance radio fanatics held the station in such high regard. You’ll hear the end of the “Top 96 of 1995” year-end countdown, followed by an outstanding montage counting down the final 3 minutes of 1995, leading into 1996. The hosts are longtime station personalities George McFly and Frankie “Hollywood” Rodriguez. And at the end of this aircheck  are snippets of programming that aired prior to the aforementioned countdow...

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.

“WLDW” (Wild 106.7) – southwest Philadelphia – 11/24/13 (OPEN HOUSE PARTY w/Kannon)

This is a sample of an apparent pirate radio station with its signal on 106.7 FM in southwest Philadelphia. It identified itself with the call letters WLDW, which were used (legally) by 96.5 FM ten years prior, albeit for only a short period of time, much to the chagrin of then-owner Beasley, as demonstrated in this amusing announcement voiced by-then consultant Jerry Clifton. The programming heard on the aircheck was of the syndicated “Open House Party”. Given the station’s illegal status, it’s unclear how they were able to air this content. It’s unknown whether this operation still exists with an on-air signal. This aircheck was recorded from its online stream, which continues to this day via its website. Thanks for Ryan Bishop for contributing.  

WLUW (Energy 88.7) – Chicago – 11/22/96 – Jammin’Down JD & DJ Revel

“Club Jam” was a Friday night 8-hour dance music program that made its debut on Loyola University’s WLUW (Energy 88.7) in 1993. Please visit the archived JamTraxx Media Website for more information about the history of this program.  

WCBR/WBRO (92.7 Kiss-FM) – suburban Chicago – 11/14/98 (FIRST DAY)

In November 1998, pure Mainstream CHR was heard on Chicagoland airwaves (for the first time in many years) with the arrival of “92 Kiss-FM” on a pair of suburban signals. You can hear the station’s launch (along with the stunting that preceded it) at our sister site, Formatchange.com.  Posted here is a montage of the 30 minutes or so that followed. More information on the history of this station can be found at Wikipedia.

KBZR (The New 103.9) – Coolidge/Phoenix, AZ – 10/30/96 – Krazy Kid Stevens (DEBUT/FIRST DAY)

On October 30, 1996, at 3:30pm, following more than six months of stunting, KBZR officially launched as “The New 103.9, Arizona’s Party Station”. Shown here are the following: (1) YouTube video: A news story about the debut that aired on the 10pm newscast of local Phoenix TV station KTVK (Channel 3). (2) Aircheck (below the video): the actual sign-on along with a mix show that immediately followed. Please visit Formatchange.com for more details about the history of the station.

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...

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