Sean Caldwell

KHTS (Channel 933) – San Diego – March ’97 – Boomer

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.  

KKSS (Hot Jammin’ 97.3 Kiss-FM) – Albuquerque – 7/18/95 – Chico Banana

This is a sample of Albuquerque’s heritage Rhythmic CHR from the mid-90’s, when it offered a relatively balanced Rhythmic CHR format and a high-energy presentation. The station has survived many competitors over the years.  (The logo shown above is not from the era when this aircheck was recorded.) Please note: at some point (perhaps the original recording), the pitch of the audio on this aircheck became too high (hope that’s the right term?) – everything sounds “faster” than it should be. Note the similarities between this station and Chattanooga’s WKXJ “Hot Jammin’ Kicks FM” from 1998. Besides their nearly identical names, both were/are on 97.3 FM and employed the phrase “one half hour total music jam”. There had to ...

KZRQ (Star 105 FM) – Albuquerque, NM – 3/31/97 – Terry Young

Star 105 was another station that seemingly wanted to clone the success achieved by New York’s WKTU, which launched as a Rhythmic AC the year prior and skyrocketed to the top of the ratings in one book. This montage features one of my all time favorite personalities, Terry “Motormouth” Young. KZRQ had an excellent high-energy presentation, similar to WDRQ in Detroit (which was another KTU clone.) I love the legal ID in particular – “KZRQ-FM Santa Fe/Albuquerque…and sometimes beyond.” Infinite thanks to Program Director Dave Dart, who made me this aircheck (and many others), and gave them to me when met me for lunch while he was visiting Phoenix.

WMGI (100.7 Mix-FM) – Terre Haute, IN – 9/15/00 – Jamie

This is a sample of one of the best CHR stations I’ve personally ever heard. While not as adventurous musically as it had been five years earlier, WMGI still played multiple gold selections from the late 80’s and early 90’s per hour – highly unusual for any station programming this format.

WMGI (100.7 Mix-FM) – Terre Haute, IN – 7/26/97 – Todd Dorn (?)

Recorded 19 years ago this month, this is a sample of Terre Haute’s longtime Mainstream CHR. Compared to its approach from two years prior, the station sounded much more like what one would expect to hear from a small Midwestern market. WMGI maintained this approach three years later.

WDRQ (93-1 The New ‘DRQ) – Detroit – 1/28/97 – JoJo

Following the “worst-to-first” success of New York’s “103.5 The New ‘KTU” in 1996, a number of stations around the U.S. attempted similar formats (essentially Rhythmic AC) in their markets. One was “93-1 The New DRQ” in Detroit, as demonstrated on this aircheck (recorded 19 years ago today). Includes the closing segment of Lisa Lisa’s afternoon drive show, followed by JoJo on the Radio. Features phone interviews in which callers mention the stations that they “made the switch” from, including listeners being placed in the “25-34 Women” and “25-54” categories. This was a fun station to listen to, highlighted by an all-around high-energy presentation. More information can be found on the WDRQ Wikipedia ...

WBSS (Boss 97 FM) – Atlantic City, NJ – 10/16/94

At a time when many CHRs leaned towards R&B/Hip-Hop or Modern Rock, Boss 97 FM offered a Dance-oriented approach – making it seemingly one of the very few stations in the U.S. to do so (offhand, the only others I can think of were WBBM-FM/B96 Chicago and I assume KNHC/C89 Seattle – am I forgetting any?) This aircheck includes an amusing segment titled “Crow For Your Team”, focused on the NFL game taking place that weekend between two longtime rivals: The Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys.  Two listeners called in and had 15 seconds to explain why their team would emerge victorious.  The Cowboys fan was acknowledged as dialing from a  noisy “car phone”, and a “Judge Lance Ito” (from OJ Simpson trial fame) picked the winner. This was n...

WJPZ (Z89) – Syracuse, NY – 7/10/97

Recorded 18 years ago today, this is a montage of Syracuse University’s longtime student-run radio station. According to Wikipedia, throughout a significant portion of the past 30 years in which it has programmed a CHR format, the “lean” has been towards Dance/Rhythmic music.

KZRQ (Star 105 FM) – Albuquerque, NM – 3/27/97 – Dave Dart

Star 105 was another station that seemingly wanted to clone the success achieved by New York’s WKTU, which launched as a Rhythmic AC the year prior and skyrocketed to the top of the ratings in one book. This montage (recorded 18 years ago this month) features PD Dave Dart — who made me the aircheck, and met me for lunch while on a visit to Phoenix.

WDRQ (93-1 The New ‘DRQ) – Detroit – 3/24/97 – Jay Towers

Following the “worst-to-first” success of New York’s “103.5 The New ‘KTU” in 1996, a number of stations around the U.S. attempted similar formats (essentially Rhythmic AC) in their markets. One was “93-1 The New DRQ” in Detroit, as demonstrated on this aircheck. Features the “All Request Lunch Blocks”, hosted by longtime Detroit personality Jay Towers. This was a fun station to listen to, highlighted by an all-around high-energy presentation. More information can be found on the WDRQ Wikipedia page. You also may wish to check out the other DRQ aircheck posted here.

KZRQ (Star 105 FM) – Albuquerque, NM – 2/24/97 – Dave Dart & Terry Young

Star 105 was another station that seemingly wanted to clone the success achieved by New York’s WKTU, which launched as a Rhythmic AC the year prior and skyrocketed to the top of the ratings in one book. This montage (recorded 18 years ago today) features PD Dave Dart (who made me the aircheck, and met me for lunch while on a visit to Phoenix) and all of my all time favorite personalities, Terry “Motormouth” Young. KZRQ had an excellent high-energy presentation, similar to WDRQ in Detroit (which was another KTU clone.) I love the legal ID in particular – “KZRQ-FM Santa Fe/Albuquerque…and sometimes beyond.”

WKIE/WKIF/WDEK (Energy 92-7 & 5) – suburban Chicago – 12/24/01 – Joe Smith & Chris Shebel

The Chicago division of Big City Radio offered some of the more interesting programming on the Windy City’s radio dial. However, three times, a format they debuted on one of their sets of suburban frequencies (92.7/92.5 or 103.1) ended up being copied and presented in a different form on a full signal in the market. When “92.7 Kiss-FM” (later 92 Kiss-FM) debuted in November 1998, it represented the first serious attempt at a CHR/Pop outlet in the Chicago area since the early 90’s. The suburban trio of 92.7 WKIE/Arlington Heights, 92.7 WKIF/Kankakee, and eventually 92.5 WDEK/DeKalb combined to produce ratings near or at a 2 share 12+. (In comparison, those three signals consistently combined for a “no-show” in the 12+ ratings before Big City took control and linked the signals together.) Ho...

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