I'd guess STL problems, since they both were at different locations for decades and everything had to be redone from scratch. Might have been a mistake somewhere between the station and the transmitter. Might have been an issue with the server.
Similar popping noises were a problem for Radio Disney (Yes, different owners) after they switched from Audiovault to the higher end version of NexGen, RCS Zetta a few years back. They eventually resolved the problems. Biggest problem is finding the problem. Once the problem is found, then they have to go in and fix the problem.
Since a lot of it began in subtle manner (The average listener probably wouldn't notice the quick clicks and pops that were not consistent) it probably didn't come to their attention until it got worse.
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