Radio

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.

KCDD (Power 103) – Abilene, TX – 6/28/97

According to Wikipedia, KCDD has been known as Power 103 since 1987, making it one of the longest-running CHR stations in the United States. This is a sample of the station about ten years into its existence.  

WLKT (104.5 the Cat) – Lexington, KY – 6/8 & 6/10/96 – Shane Collins

“We’re in the tune in your head…Lexington’s new 104.5 the Kat.” In the early to mid 90’s, as the CHR format disappeared across the U.S., the idea of a single station offering multiple genres of music had become foreign in many areas. This is presumably why WLKT heavily employed the slogan “Music for All People” on this aircheck (which I believe was recorded not long after the sign-on) — and you will hear, they did a great job of living up to that promise. Note that this aircheck consists of several segments recorded on two separate days (not a single continous recording), so certain songs are heard twice.

KSLZ (Z107.7) – St. Louis – 5/29/98 – Rich Stevens, Danny Wright

Jacor (now Clear Channel) debuted KSLZ in October 1997 and filled a huge hole in the St. Louis market for a true CHR/Top 40 station.  This is a sample of the station from the following May during Saturday night mixshow programming.

WZZP (Fun 107) – Atlantic City, NJ – 5/15/98

The last Class B signal to debut in the Atlantic City market began testing in late February 1998. 107.3 WZZP was owned at the time by Spring Communications with a tower at the top of the Trump Taj Mahal casino. As the station got closer to debuting for good, the testing turned more towards stunting. There was a day of looping Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumping”, followed by Classic Rock billed as “ZZ 107” and later a turn towards CHR as “ZZ 107 – The Zipper”. Finally, or so we thought at the time, on April 25 the station began billing itself as “Fun 107” using the same branding as its sister station WFHN in New Bedford, MA. This stunt was much more prolonged than the rest, as many were under the impression that this would be the final for...

KKFR (Power 92) – Phoenix – 5/5/95 – Carey Edwards

Recorded on Cinco de Mayo 1995 – this is a sample of the only CHR serving the Valley of the Sun in the early to mid-90’s. In late 1993, despite enjoying great success as a Rhythmic CHR, Power 92 flipped to Modern Rock-heavy Mainstream CHR.  Ratings declined, and the station began to move back towards Rhythmic CHR by the Fall of 1994.  When this aircheck was recorded, the station used a Dance-heavy approach; the sound evolved to one more based on R&B (but remained Dance-friendly) by the Fall of 1995, which led to the station achieving an all-time high 7.0 Arbitron share (12+). Featuring entertaining sweepers voiced by Marc Driscoll, Power 92 was just a fun station to listen in this era.  Especially now, I appreciate that they always had live legal IDs at this time.  Also, I&...

KDON 102.5 – Salinas/Monterey, CA – 4/24/98 – Maverick

This is a sample of Monterey’s longtime Rhythmic CHR, voiced by the late Brian James, during the late 1990’s. At the time, the station offered a relatively broad music mix – although perhaps too downtempo at times.  

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