96.3FM WBBM-FM (B96) Background and History
Officially dubbed ‘B96’ toward the end of 1982, WBBM-FM (owned and operated by CBS Radio) is currently one of the longest running Top 40/CHR stations in the United States. Originally beginning as nothing more than the FM simulcast of WBBM-AM, the station played a very conservative mix of music appealing to a semi broad demographic. As time went on, WBBM (both AM and FM) began playing towards a younger audience until 1969 when WBBM-FM broke away from the WBBM-AM simulcast and adopted a progressive rock format, which later transitioned to more of Adult Top 40. When Dick Bartley became WBBM-FM’s program director in the late 70’s, the station transitioned from Adult Top 40 to Rhythmic Top 40. When radio consultant Mike Joseph (recognized as the creator of the ‘Hot Hitz’ format) began to oversee WBBM-FM’s operation, the station was renamed and ‘96 Now’ became Chicago’s first ‘Hot Hitz’ station playing nothing but top of the chart pop hits. After Josephs departure from ‘96 Now’ (only about a year after arriving), the station adopted the trademark B96 name. Although B96 has seen slight format alterations since then, the station has yet to completely change format, still embracing its original Hot Hitz/Rhythmic Top 40 format history. To this day B96 remains Chicago’s number one CHR station playing to the female Hispanic (primary) and Caucasian (secondary) 18-34 demographic. Managed by Peter Bowen, the CBS owned station broadcasts to the Chicagoland area with a transmitter of over 4200 watts. Erik Bradley is the current music director, deciding which Rhythmic Top 40 songs will be added to the rotation of the station and Todd Cavanah is the sitting programming director. The voices of B96 are made up of 9 On-Air Personalities (J-Nice, Julian, Showbiz Shelly, Dougie Stylz, J Roman, Rebecca Ortiz, Nikki, Jason Cage and Jerzy) all of which are produced by Mark Baggio and Gabe Ramierz. Jay McNeil, Julian Nieh and Sydney ‘showbiz’...
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