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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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...
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&...
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.
This aircheck is a flashback to KKFR’s days as a 100,000 watt powerhouse originating from South Mountain in Phoenix. Following an ill-fated attempt at a Modern Rock oriented Mainstream CHR format during the first half of 1994, Power 92 began making a gradual transition back to Rhythmic CHR. By the Spring of 1995, as demonstrated on this montage, Dance and R&B-oriented titles dominated the playlist.
In September 1996, Channel 933 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.
During the 1990’s, Chicago’s B96 was one of the most unique Rhythmic CHRs in the U.S. This is a montage of the broad-based, personality-heavy “Street Flava” program.
This is a sample of Ventura County’s longtime Rhythmic CHR (now found on 95.9 FM), voiced by the late Brian James. At this time, Q104.7 still offered a relatively balanced Rhythmic CHR format, featuring a mix of R&B, dance, hip-hop and rhythmic gold/oldies selections.