Brief summary on the several factors of the fall of the once-mighty B96:
- CBS/Entercom merger
- 104.3 Jams' arrival
- bad CHR/pop music overall
- mix shows being downgraded
- lack of tv/billboard/social media presence
- younger people getting new music from other sources (YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, etc)
Top 40 on the FM dial was a key contributor to the downfall of many Top 40 stations on the AM dial in the 80s, such as WLS AM 890. Also, the launch of MTV in 1981 was another factor in how Top 40 radio changed in the 1980s.
Another good point you make is the Top 40 Renaissance in the late 90s/early 2000s. Jeremy also mentioned about the growth of Top 40/pop music in the late 90s/early 2k in one of the earlier threads. Although the music was far superior to today's pop music in ever shape possible, Top 40 in the early/mid 1990s, was in bad shape due to growing fragmentation of specific Top 40 formats (CHR/mainstream, CHR/hip hop, CHR/dance, CHR/alternative, CHR/AC, etc)
For example, Scroll down to page 79 of the 4/22/1994 issue of "Radio & Records" (or better yet "CTRL + F" and type "CHR/TOP 40 PLAYLISTS")
In New York, Z100 (mainstream) was alternative rock-heavy while Hot 97 (rhythmic) leaned heavily towards hip hop. The same was almost true in LA with KIIS (mainstream) and Power 106 (rhythmic) although KIIS did not play as much alternative rock. In San Francisco, they had TWO rhythmic (KMEL and KYLD) and NO mainstream top 40 station during this period. Chicago only had one Top 40 station (B96), which was rhythmic and leaned heavily towards dance instead of hip hop. Overall, each top 40 station did their own thing.
Wasn't B96 the 1st US top 40 station (mainstream or rhythmic) that added "Another Night" on its playlist? Don't forget that many of the Rhythmic Top 40 stations (which B96 was classified as one back then) ignored Real McCoy and other euro-dance acts as these stations leaned heavy towards hip hop and were basically urban contemporary stations. Unlike most rhythmic stations, B96 played a significant amount of club/dance/house music on its rotation. One of the reasons B96 was on top of its game during the 1990s.
Going back to the main topic, while I don't believe Entercom would actually flip B96 (I would be shocked if they actually pulled the blog), I don't know what the higher ups at Entercom can do to actually turn things around for this station. B96 has clearly seen its better days and those days are not coming back. Technology marches on and there are more alternatives to FM radio for both younger and older radio listeners alike.
If the unthinkable does actually happen, where does Entercom go with 96.3 then? Alternative? Hot AC? Simulcast of 670 the Score? As for the long-time call letters, would they finally move them to 105.9 so that "Newsradio 780 & 105.9 WBBM" would be more consistent or switch frequencies as 96.3 WBBM-FM is now Newsradio 780 while 105.9 is who-knows-what?
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