At the 1974 Minnesota State Fair, a new radio station was born. While broadcasting live, Rob Sherwood abruptly blew up WYOO’s Oldies format and replaced it with “U100, The Boogie Station!” The result was the Twin Cities’ first Top 40 station on FM. A station which would become legendary, even though it was only on the air for 2 short years.
U100 instantly became the “cool” station. I was in 5th-7th grade at the time. It was what everyone at school listened to. The DJs were radical, always pushing the envelope with on air comments, music, and promotions. Note the drug reference which Jeff “Mutha” casually slips into his weather forecast: “Low, when I get up in the morning, high, most of the night!” They gave away “U100 Grabs Me!” T-shirts which featured a pair of hands strategically placed where a woman’s breasts would be. The music was an innovative blend of Top 40 currents and Rock album cuts. It was “Rock 40”, more than 10 years before Dan Kieley coined the term at KKRC/Sioux Falls. U100 was a station ahead of it’s time. To this day, it remains my favorite Twin Cities radio station of all time. Just the mention of “U100” provokes memories among people in my age group, regardless of whether or not they were involved with radio.
Unfortunately, U100 was also the 4th Top 40 station in the market. KDWB and WDGY were firmly entrenched, playing Rock and Roll since the 1950s. KSTP-AM had flipped to Top 40 the previous year, rocketing from near last place to #2 in the ratings. U100’s competitiors all had bigger budgets and larger promotional warchests. Yes, the Supah Yeww had an FM stereo advantage, but this was still a few years away for the masses. The ratings showed that most people listened to U-100 on the AM portion of their simulcast.
At exactly 12:00AM on September 16, 1976, U100 signed off for the final time. Six hours later, the new owners (arch rival KDWB) began their simulcast on the 101.3 FM frequency. Everyone I knew listened to WYOO on their final day of broadcasting. I was only 12, but I remember it as if it were yesterday. In just 2 short years, this station became the standard against which all the market’s future Top 40 stations would be measured.
This aircheck is one of few here which I did not personally record. Curt Lundgren (who spent 22 years at WCCO AM and FM) sent me this tape back in 1999. When I received it, I played it repeatedly. This explains why some of the high end has worn off. It’s also a few generations removed from the original. Still, it gives you a great listen to the energy of Jeff “Mutha” Robbins, U100’s original evening jock. I had very few tapes of U100, so I was delighted to receive this one from Curt. To my knowledge, it hasn’t been posted elsewhere:
If you want to learn and hear more of U100, there are 2 resources that I would suggest: Radiotapes.com is an excellent source of Twin Cities airchecks, going all the way back to the 1930s. My friend Tom is the site owner. He has constructed the most complete U100 airchecks page in existence.
Rob Sherwood has covered the U100 saga extensively on his blog site. Rob was U100’s program director and was with the station for the entire duration of it’s existence. His story begins here: http://www.robsherwood.com/MyStory/Archive/chapter_13.php