For over two decades, 104.3 FM in Payson (now Camp Verde), AZ has targeted the Phoenix market with various formats that attempt to fill the void for Rhythmic Oldies. In its earliest days, the station called itself “Arizona Jamz” with a playlist and presentation that was excessively broad and overproduced. In April 2001, KAJM relaunched as “Mega 104.3 & 99.3” with a sharper focus and execution. This is a sample of Mega about 16 months later, during a period when Fridays featured a larger than normal dose of music from the Freestyle genre. Please visit this page on Wikipedia for more information on the history of the station.
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.
In 1997, WZJM was a fun-sounding station, as it offered a Dance & recurrent-friendly, Rhythmic-leaning Mainstream CHR format, making this one of my personal all-time favorite airchecks. Please visit this page on Wikipedia for more information on the history of the station/frequency.
“The New Beat of San Diego” – this aircheck, from October 1996, represents the sound of Channel 9-3-3 in its earliest days. It offered an outstanding music mix, talent, sweepers, and all-around production values. IMHO, this is what a Dance CHR station should sound like, and it’s the best I’ve personally ever heard. However, the masses did not agree – KHTS evolved to a more conventional Rhythmic CHR in early 1997.
For a period in the 1990’s, Philadelphia’s Q102 offered a (perhaps surprisingly) dance music-friendly CHR format, making it a favorite among dance radio enthusiasts. However, the station took on a more conventional CHR approach by 1998. This is a sample of the station approximately about 3.5 years after that change. While not focused on dance music any longer, Q102 remained a fun, rhythmic-leaning Mainstream CHR outlet.
Per Wikipedia, the station currently known as 103X debuted in July 1979 on 103.1 FM, branded as “Z103”. It has generally remained with the CHR format in the 40+ years that have passed. As heard on this aircheck, at this point, 103X put an emphasis on rock, alternative and rhythmic pop selections, with less focus on R&B and hip-hop, in comparison to other Top 40 outlets at the time.
This is a montage of WJRZ from a period when it was featuring a mix of Adult CHR and Classic Hits, while sprinkling in an assortment of Christmas songs. The station would move back towards CHR about six months later. Please visit Wikipedia for information on the history of this station. NOTE: Most of this aircheck is also featured as part of the “Jersey Shore Sampler“.
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.
Since June of 1997, KKFR — both at its former home on 92.3 FM, and at its current home on 98.3 & 96.1 FM — has made hip-hop and R&B the primary focus of its Rhythmic CHR format. However, around January 1999, the station began incorporating elements reminiscent of its days as a more traditional Rhythmic CHR in the early and mid-90’s. This continued until at least July 2000, as heard on this sample of the “Power Workout at Noon” mixshow. The station’s slogan at this time was a hybrid of two of its positioning statements from the mid to early 90’s – “Power 92 Jams Today’s Hottest Music”.
“Serving the Jersey Shore…” This is a sample of Atlantic City’s longtime hit music station, at a time when it was essentially a Hot AC during overnight hours. To this day, the station remains adult-leaning, offering a CHR format that shies away from hip-hop – presumably in large part due to having 99.3 the Buzz as its sister station.
Broadcasting from Tijuana, Baja California and serving the San Diego, California market, 91X has been one of the longest running Alternative/Modern Rock stations heard in the United States. This is a sample of the station from the mid 90’s, around the time when – per Wikipedia – the marketing and operating rights were acquired by Jacor Communications (later Clear Channel Communications). 91X is currently operated by Local Media San Diego, LLC.
Neon 90.7 is a non-commercial station licensed to the East Valley Institute of Technology. It offers a broad-based 80’s and 90’s variety hits format. What makes the playlist relatively unique is its inclusion of songs that were hits for a brief time, but generally haven’t received any airplay since then. This is a sample of Neon about six weeks after its launch, when it offered mixshow programming over Independence Day Weekend 2018. Please visit Wikipedia for information on the history of the frequency and station.