Radio #TBT: KRBE, WENZ, KMPZ, KZOU

More cassettes converted…

KRBE 104.1 “Power 104” Houston

KRBE has been in the top 40 format now continuously for over 30 years.  This aircheck is from March 3 1990 when it was still using the “Power 104” handle.  KRBE dropped the handle in 1991.  At this point in 1990, KRBE had two competitors: top 40 KKBQ 92.9/790 “93Q” and dance KNRJ 96.5 “Energy 96.5.”  KNRJ would exit in the summer and KKBQ would flip to country in 1991, leaving KRBE as the sole top 40 outlet for Houston for many years. KKBQ’s exit was chronicled several weeks ago.

KRBE 104.1 Houston “Power 104.” 03 March 1990.  DJ: Scott Sparks.

WENZ 107.9 “107.9 the End” Cleveland

In 1992, top 40 WPHR 107.9 “Power 108” changed calls to WENZ and shifted to a top 40/rock/modern rock hybrid as “107.9 the End.”  The End would then evolve shortly into a modern rock outlet.  This aircheck comes right around that time when it had evolved to modern rock.  Following a sale to Radio One, WENZ flipped to R&B in 1999.  Today, it is still in the format as “Z107.9.”

WENZ 107.9 Cleveland “107.9 the End.” 08 December 1992.  DJ: Hurricane Wayne.

KMPZ 98.1 “Z98” Memphis

The 98.1 facility signed on the air in 1960 as KHFO Osceola AR. The station largely targeted northeast Arkansas.  In 1986, it flipped from top 40 “O98” and began trying to target Memphis as rock KWLN “the Lion, Rock 98.” From this point on, the 98.1 facility has gone through a lot of formats.  In 1988, KWLN flipped to top 40 KMPZ “Z98.”.  Z98 would only last a couple of years as KMPZ flipped to oldies KPYR “Oldies 98, the Pyramid” at the end of summer 1990.  This would be the first of several oldies/classic hits formats.  KPYR changed city of license from Osceola to Millington TN in 1992, and changed calls to WPYR to reflect crossing the Mississippi River.  In 1993, WPYR reimaged as WYKL “Kool 98.”  The “Kool” handle was short-lived as it would go back to “Oldies 98” and then “Target 98” in 1994, when it shifted to 70s oldies. Target 98 was short-lived as the owner of the chain of Target stores was not keen on the name, nor the bulls-eye logo WYKL was using.  It became “Star 98” in July 1994.  In 1995, WYKL changed calls to WSRR-FM to reflect the “Star 98” handle. Star 98 would evolve into classic hits “Rockin’ Hits 98.1 the Cat.” In March 2005, WSRR-FM became classic rock WXMX “98-1 the Max.”  WXMX would shift from classic rock to its present day rock format, still as “98-1 the Max.”

KMPZ 98.1 Osceola AR-Memphis “Z98.” 06 June 1990. DJ: Joey Butler.

KZOU 98.5/1250 “All Hit Zoo 98” Little Rock

The 98.5 Little Rock facility signed on in July 1972 as KLAZ.  In 1985, then-top 40 “Z98” KLAZ rebranded as KZOU “Zoo 98.” From then to the early 1990s, Little Rock had a top 40 battle between KZOU and KKYK 103.7.  I put up an aircheck of KKYK a couple of weeks ago.  KKYK would be the victor when KZOU-FM/AM flipped to hot AC KURB-FM/AM “B98.5” in 1991.  98.5 remains KURB today.  The AM would flip to gospel KLIH in 1997.  Today, as KPZK, it simulcasts R&B KIPR 92.3 “Power 92 Jams” Pine Bluff-Little Rock.

KZOU-FM 98.5/KZOU 1250 Little Rock “All Hit Zoo 98.” 23 June 1990.  DJ: Randy Cain, Catfish Ken Harris.

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