Top 40

WIOQ (Q102) – Philadelphia – late 2001

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.

WJMX 103.3 (103X) – Cheraw/Florence, SC – 4/21/04 – Dennis Davis

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.

WXYV (B102.7) – Baltimore – 2/7/99 – Melanie

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.

WWVZ/WWZZ (Z104) – Washington, D.C. – 4/29/01 – Mike Klein, Gary Star

This is a sample of Washington, D.C.’s Z104 about 5 months before a format change to Modern AC. Following the aforementioned format change, the station later switched to “More Music 104”, then back to “Z104.1”, before becoming the new home of Classical WGMS in January 2006. Our apologies for the overmodulation and inconsistent pitch of the audio on this aircheck.

102.7 KIIS-FM – L.A. – July ’93 – Whitney Allen, John Murphy, Rick Dees

“It’s 7 O’Clock on the West Coast at KIIS…K-I-I-S, FM & AM, Los Angeles”.  Voiced by the late and great Brian James, that’s one of my all-time favorite legal IDs, and many variations of it are heard on this compilation from the Summer of 1993. At this time, in celebration of Independence Day, KIIS had a very amusing “Red, White and Balls Weekend” promotion that included liners such as “dangle your balls from your rearview mirror” and “just make sure your balls are visible.” At a time when many CHRs struggled to find success with the increasingly polarized nature of the format, KIIS elected to mix in a number of hits from years past – the station’s slogan at the time was “The Best Hits of the 80′s and 90′s.”

KLAZ (105.9) – Hot Springs, AR – June 1997

“Central Arkansas’ 100,000 watt hit music superstation” This is a brief sample of “Central Arkansas’ 100,000 watt hit music superstation” during surprisingly progressive mixshow programming.

WPLJ (Mojo Radio 95.5 FM) – New York – 6/21/91 – AJ Hammer

**New York City’s 95.5 WPLJ will end its current programming format at 7pm EDT today (Friday 5/31/19), following a sale from Cumulus to Educational Media Foundation. We will be featuring airchecks of this longtime CHR/Hot AC station from the past 30+ years throughout this week.** Per Wikipedia – as a final attempt to find success with the CHR format, WPLJ rebranded as “Mojo Radio” in April 1991, shortly after hiring Scott Shannon as morning show host. Four months later, the station began shifting towards Adult Top 40; by February 1992, it had evolved to Hot AC and began calling itself simply “95-5 PLJ”.

WPLJ (The All New ‘PLJ – Power 95) – New York – 1990 – Greg Thunder

**New York City’s 95.5 WPLJ will end its current programming format on Friday 5/31/19, following a sale from Cumulus to Educational Media Foundation. We will be featuring airchecks of this longtime CHR/Hot AC station from the past 30+ years throughout this week.** Courtesy of the now-defunct mp3airchecks.com, here’s a sample of New York’s WPLJ during as days as “Power 95”, but after the station adopted a lean towards more adult-oriented, pop/rock hits. Interestingly, the station also used “Musicradio” (made famous by WABC-AM) and “The All New PLJ” as supplementary monikers. Visit Wikipedia for more information on the history of this station.  

WPLJ (Power 95) – New York City – 10/28/85 – Fast Jimmy Roberts

**New York City’s 95.5 WPLJ will end its current programming format on Friday 5/31/19, following a sale from Cumulus to Educational Media Foundation. We will be featuring airchecks of this longtime CHR/Hot AC station from the past 30+ years throughout this week.** Here’s a sample of WPLJ couple of years after it entered the CHR format, and within the first year of calling itself “Power 95”. Visit Wikipedia for more information on the history of this station.

WBBM-FM (B96) – Chicago – Memorial Day 1996 (5/27/96) – Julian Jumpin’ Perez, Tim Spinnin’ Schommer, Candi, Brian Middleton, Bobby D (mixer)

During a significant portion of the 1990′s, B96 offered a dance music-heavy format focused on currents — making it one of the very few major market, full signal commercial stations in the U.S. to find success with that formula during that decade. This montage, recorded at the peak of that era, is a great example of why dance radio fanatics held the station in such high regard. The aircheck was recorded in the midst of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls 1996 playoff run, preceded by a record-setting 72 win regular season. It includes several references to the team and a variation of “The Roof is On Fire” by To Kool Chris, titled “The Bulls Are On Fire”. Special thanks to Steven Ratz, formerly of Dance Music Authority (DMA) Magazine, for contributing this aircheck.  

KMVA (Hot 97.5) – Phoenix – 8/20/12

Since October 2006, about 18 months after moving from Flagstaff, AZ to Dewey-Humboldt, AZ (in order to better cover the Phoenix market), 97.5 FM has programmed many variations of uptempo formats targeted at adults. It started with MOViN’ 97.5, which launched as a Rhythmic AC but evolved to a Hot AC/Adult Top 40 format. By the end of 2010, the station rebranded as Hot 97.5 but generally kept the same format. It flirted with a Dance-leaning approach early in the decade before returning to Adult Top 40. This aircheck appears to have been recorded somewhere in the middle of that most recent transition. The station began simulcasting on KEXX (now KZON)/Gilbert in January 2014, and now calls itself “Hot 97.5 & 103.9”. Many thanks to Steven Ratz for contributing this airchec...

KHOM (Mix 104.1) – New Orleans – 12/26/96

Mix 104.1 offered one of the most diverse playlists I’ve ever heard on a CHR station.  Reviewing the history of the 104.1 frequency, it seems that this was (not surprisingly) from the days when the station was still independently owned.

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