To this aircheck from just two years earlier:
Almost like two different stations at times. B96 still reported as Rhythmic despite the more broader/mainstream sound. Keep in mind that despite slowly phasing-out dance, B96's ratings actually went up during 97-00, largely due to the growing trend of teeneybopper music (Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, Britney Spears, etc) and the return of Eddie & Jobo to mornings. B96's management at the time thought that the broader sound would keep another station from flipping to Top 40/CHR to challenge them as they were still the only major Top 40 station in the Chicago market. The only reason B96 struggled a bit ratings-wise during mid-1990s compared to the early 1990s was because no one wanted to listen to the new morning show and the fans wanted Eddie & Jobo back.
The more hip hop-lean did not become more noticeable until around 2001 when the teen pop acts started to lose popularity, combined with B96 ignoring most of the songs that were being played on dance/chr Energy 92 and the addition of mainstream 103.5 Kiss FM. As a result, B96 was a hip hop/R&B station (while still reporting as rhythmic) by default throughout much of the 2000s.
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