KZZC ZZ99 vs KBEQ Q104 Kansas City Missouri 1983

Don’t you miss the good ‘ol days when stations used to have “radio wars?”  There were at least 2 Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) stations in most markets.  They would compete tooth-and-nail to assemble the best airstaff, play the best music, possess the loudest audio processing, and feature the top contests and promotions.

In the summer of 1983, it was ZZ99 (KZZC) vs Q104 (KBEQ) in Kansas City.  ZZ99 had recently moved in from Leavenworth, KS and was taking on Q104 directly.  I recorded this aircheck when I was 19, enroute from Minnesota to my first radio gig in Burlington, Colorado.  Being the radio geek that I am, I strategically picked Lawrence to stop for the night.  From here, I could aircheck both Topeka and Kansas City.  Most “normal” 19-year-old guys would be out enjoying the nightlife, just a few days before classes began at KU.  Not me!  I was more interested in airchecking the stations!

Unfortunately, this was on a Saturday night, so ZZ99 was running “Countdown Summertime.”  But I did manage to get their sweepers and promos.  Q104 was live all evening.  I have included the imaging of both stations.

This recording was made using a Pioneer AM/FM/cassette stereo boombox and TDK D90 tape.  If you enjoy this, let me know and I will post additional airchecks of other Kansas City and Topeka stations from this same date.


6 thoughts on “KZZC ZZ99 vs KBEQ Q104 Kansas City Missouri 1983

  1. Joan

    Hi! I, too, was 19 in 1983 and quite the radio geek myself. Your post caught my eye because I was an intern (my first radio gig) at ZZ-99 that year when Johnny Rowlands was P.D. Don’t have the time this morning to listen to your classic aircheck but will come back later and listen. Thanks !

  2. Drew

    Hi Joan,

    Where did you work? As I mentioned, I was enroute to my first job in Burlington, CO (KNAB AM/FM) when I recorded the ZZ99 vs Q104 aircheck. From there, I went to KWKR in Garden City, KS to learn how to be a screamin’ 7-Midnight CHR jock. LOL!


  3. Doug

    Great site Drew! Diggin’ the classic airchecks.

    The imaging voice on Q sounds like a young Mike O’Brien. I worked with him when we were at Star 102 in KC early 2000s. Dave Fogel, the jock on the aircheck, is currently mornings on Star 102.

    Keep up the great work!

  4. Dave Fogel

    I’m so embarassed! Three breaks and I stumbled in all of them! I was 22 years old and that was my first job right out of Mizzou! I did overnights for about three years at Q. Someone must have been sick for me to be on before 2:00am…

  5. Drew Post author

    Hi Dave,

    You were a seasoned pro compared to me. I was 19, headed from MN to my first gig in Colorado. Can you say EXCITED!

    I remember scanning the dial, bouncing between ZZ and Q, thinking they were both “hot” stations. Then, listening to the Topeka stations and trying to determine if I was as “good” as they were. (I wasn’t, of course!)

    Being on a big station in KC when you were 22 is huge. I didn’t get to a market that size (Minneapolis) until I was 29. You did fine! 🙂


  6. Kevin

    Thank you for posting that. I wish I could save it to my
    computer but it won’t let me. Not only did you get some
    great jingles from KZZC you also recorded them on a
    good deck with good audio.

    The Q104 check was almost spooky. I used to record music off the radio and the summer of 83 was the best ever. Sadly I lost most of those tapes years ago but still have a few. One of them contains Lawyers in Love by Jackson Btowne and it was the same night you recorded here. Young Dave Fogel did some of his own howling over Jackson Browne at the end. That was great radio! Live on Saturday night and no Open House Party (gag!)

    I’d give anything to have those lost tapes back.
    I had Dancing Danny Wright, JJ Walker, Bobby Ocean with his opening “what a guy Ocean” theme song, Pat Mckay, Karen Barber, the “pen pal” song from the Zoo in the Morning, plus clips of Rich Brother Robin on KC95, a few KLSI bits, 106.5 KCI and lots of ZZ99 and others. I still have a few ZZ99 clips, one KC95 clip and the “hear them on Q104” jingle that was mentioned on your aircheck. I even have a couple of blurbs from KLZR in 83 a few years before they went satellite. Most people have forgotten they were “All Hits 106” several years before the satellite and I have the audio to prove it. (It worked out well that SMN used “All Hit Radio” in the beginning. “The Heat” came later.) The audio isn’t very good since I was using a very cheap boombox.

    I have nothing from B95; the short lived but very good CHR that morphed more urban before becoming the somewhat boring Power 95 within weeks of ZZ99 going satellite oldies. Later I had a much better cassette deck and still have some late 80s and early 90s Q104, Power 95, 106.5 KXXR doing the Rock 40 format and then as CHR X106.

    But although the audio is very good on what I recorded in the late 80s the content is not as magical. Liner cards, positioning statements and Mitch Craig took the place of fun jingles, fun jocks and live programming. I wish stations were programmed instead of positioned. They also knew how to process a microphone in those days. Thanks for the memories.

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