Top 40

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

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, ...

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.

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&...

KHTO (Hot 106.7) – Springfield, MO – 2/15/97

An uptempo, dance-friendly CHR is not necessarily what one would expect to find in a small Midwestern market, but that’s exactly what Hot 106.7 was at this time.

WVRT (Variety 97.7) – Williamsport, PA – 1/20/99 – Joe Mama

“Variety 97.7, WVRT” was (and may still be) one of the best small-market CHRs I’ve ever heard.

KKFR (Power 92) – Phoenix – 12/22 & 12/23/95 – (“FIRST 10 YEARS OF POWER 92”) – Supersnake & Cosmo (Part 1 of 2)

During the mid-1990′s, under the direction of Program Director Don Parker, KKFR (Power 92) in Phoenix was at its peak, registering an all-time high 7.1 share (12+) in the Winter 1996 Arbitron survey. The station offered a broad Rhythmic CHR mix that focused primarily on dance and R&B music. The weekend before Christmas 1995, the station celebrated its 10-year anniversary by playing songs with release dates as early as 1985. In reality, the station’s formats during that era, particularly from 1991-1994, were not necessarily ones that featured the selections heard on this montage; this is more of a representation of what would have been played if Power 92 had their late 1995 format during the full span. One of the personalities heard is Supersnake. He was one of the most recognized...

KZZP (104.7 ZZP) – Phoenix – 1999 – Karen Rite, Marino, Chris Cruze, Ron and Don

During the 80’s, KZZP 104.7 FM in Phoenix was one of the most successful Mainstream CHR stations in the country. According to the station’s Wikipedia page, it “produced a long list of future stars in the radio business”, and offered a music mix that was adventurous for a Top 40 station. However, a combination of changes in personalities, management, and overall pop music tastes led to the station’s downfall (in April 1991). Five years later, owner Nationwide Communications brought KZZP back to the airwaves with a Modern AC format, making an attempt to appeal to the listeners who grew up with the station as a CHR. The station performed well, ranking #1 in key demos by 1998. However, by that point, Jacor (now Clear Channel) had taken ownership of KZZP along with KGLQ (96.9). On Labor Day Wee...

KKFR (Power 92) – Phoenix – Nov 22/23, 1995 – Roxanne Steele

“Today’s Hottest Music is on Power 92”.  This aircheck, recorded on the night before Thanksgiving 1995, represents the sound of KKFR (92.3) Glendale/Phoenix that led the station to an all-time high 7.0 Arbitron share (12+).  At this time, Power 92 offered superb all-around music, air talent, and production values.  Hosted by Roxanne Steele (who later spent over a decade at Chicago’s B96).

WEGX (Eagle 106) – Philadelphia – October 1991 – Bobby Willis

“Today’s best music mix…the new sound of Eagle 106”.  This is a great example of pure Mainstream CHR for its era, recorded just before Halloween 1991.

Open House Party – from KRQQ (93.7 KRQ) – Tucson, AZ – 2004

Most likely recorded sometime in 2004, this is a brief sample of the long-running Saturday night program “Open House Party” as heard on KRQQ (93.7 KRQ) in Tucson, AZ. Included is an interview with JC Chasez, formerly of teen act N*SYNC, at the point when he was in the midst of his solo career.

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