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And there’s a lot from great radio markets like Detroit and Houston. Some radio people remember radio battles for the on-air attacks – or the off-air ugliness in the station parking lot – they engender.Mine are as much distinguished by their on-air and promotional energy, and by the musical changes they sparked.And, in the background, a CHR battle between Paul Christy’s WABX, Mike Joseph’s WHYT and Pat Holiday’s CKLW–which got off six more good months as an AM music station.5) Toronto’s AM Top 40 battle of the early ’80s – It’s still a touchstone for most Canadian broadcasters today.
During the first phase, it was much more exciting as a radio person to hear WFLZ.
CHUM (Rock 40, like WLS Chicago, but maybe even better in 1981) and CFTR (more mainstream and doing the then-mind-blowing “Commercial Free Sundays”) get the attention.
But I always thought nearby CKOC Hamilton was even hotter. KIKK-FM Houston throughout the ’80s — At a time when Country was finding its place on FM with a very AC-like presentation, the Houston stations at least enlivened it with great voices and great competitive marketing.
(Or particularly if they were winning.) All of which got me thinking, of course, of other format battles that were particularly influential for me.
A lot of what we remember as “radio battles” are revealed over the years to be merely attacks from which an incumbent station never recovered.
Sins of omission are inevitable here, and apologized for in advance; (I didn’t try to name every great jock who came through a station, for instance.) The list is chronological.