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Jimmy Jam, Hot 99.9 WHXT Easton/Allentown PA | July 15, 1991

We don’t know much about Easton PA (as with many lesser markets), but this is a good sounding Top 40 at the end of the 80s CHR era. By ’92, grunge and rock would take over much of the landscape… but this is a rhythmic, 80s-imaged CHR and it is good to hear!

Added by Lance Venta: This aircheck is about 6 weeks before the station would become “Oldies 99.9” WODE. The demise of WHXT would also lead to its primary CHR competitor “Laser 104.1” WAEB-FM to rebrand as “B104”, a name it would keep to this day.



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  1. Just wanted to add some more info to what Lance had posted:

    The frequency (99.9) was once WEEX-FM, a once time stand-alone FM and later sister station to AM Top 40 WEEX. At the time, both owned by the Easton Express newspaper. WEEX-FM simulcasted with the AM until the FCC rules changed in the late 60s, limitinf the hours that AM/FM combos could simulcast. WEEX-FM eventually became WQQQ with an automated B/EZ listening format. The calls were chosen because the lower case “q” looked similer to the number “9” as in their frequency.

    WQQQ kept the format until early 1983 when the station was sold to new ownership. Since there was no Top 40 in the market at the time (both WEEX and one-time rival WAEB-AM were AC at the time), the format was changed to Top 40 as Q100. Q100 eventually became one of the top stations in the market and had the whole Top 40 format to itself until WAEB-FM flipped from AC to Top 40 as Laser 104.1 in 1987. While WAEB-FM’s format change didn’t have an immedate impact on Q100, a tower transmission line fire knocked Q100 off the air for several weeks over the summer of 1988, allowing Laser 104.1 to beat them in the ratings.

    This event, plus controversy from a longtime morning man named Uncle Bob, left Q100 with a negative image in the market. In 1989, the station was sold to new ownership and flipped to Dance CHR as Hot 99.9. Hot couldn’t make a dent in the ratings with the Dance format, so the station adjusted to Mainstream CHR after several months. Despite the changes, the station still had signal problems and a limited promotional budget and gave up the format in August of 1991, becoming WODE with an Oldies format. Ironically, the station in its last month as a CHR had finally beaten WAEB-FM in the ratings by 2/10ths of a point. If they had held on just a little bit longer (and had a better promotional budget), Hot would probably still be around as a CHR.

    Robyn

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  2. I will expand even more on Robyn’s comments. first, i think it’s important to put Easton, PA in its proper context. Easton is part of the Lehigh Valley — just over the border of Western New Jersey. As such; it, as well as Allentown and Bethlehem, are not that far from New York City and Philadelphia. In fact, where I grew up, (about 20 miles East of Easton in central NJ), I could easily pick up stations from NYC, Philly, and the Lehigh Valley. Because of their proximity to such huge radio markets, Lehigh Valley stations tended to have a big-market sound.

    I would be willing to bet that the original dance format of Hot 99.9 was modeled after Hot 97 in NYC. As Robyn pointed out, they soon found out that the Lehigh Valley really isn’t a dance market — hence the move toward CHR.

    As for B104, I think they were already in the process of moving away from the Laser moniker. The reason why they called themselves Laser in the first place was because they played almost all of their music from compact disc. they promoted this fact very heavily, especially in 1987 when they first started using that name. It was such a phenomenon in fact, that Dorney Park changed the name of one of their rollercoasters to The Laser. by 1991 though, compact discs were much more common place so the Laser name was kind of dated. I think WAEB FM would have changed their name to B104 whether 99.9 had flipped, or not.

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  3. When it was Q100 and Uncle Bob was the morning DJ, they used to play a song all the time in the 80’s I believe it was called “do the dutch”. It went as follows ” Hey now lets get down, lets all go to Allentown………”

    Who sang this and where can I find a copy. No You Tube that I could find or Google search so far …………..

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  4. Thanks for this memory of the summer of 1991; I grew up in New Jersey, but would make trips to grandma’s house to Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; via the Lehigh Valley. The radio promos always made the Valley seem like a happening place to be-which is up for interpretation-which just emphasizes the power of radio to the teenage years. Perhaps, I can throw a few Hot 99.9 aichecks and sweepers on here myself. Thanks!

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  5. I remember back in the day as they were making the switch from Q100 to Hot 99.9…they were playing The Power Station’s “Some Like It Hot” non-stop for a couple days…finally Hot 99.9 went live and the DJ said “Let’s play the first song ever on Hot 99….Power Station..Some Like It Hot!!…they played a few seconds, record scratch and then a new song…it was good for a lol or two.

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  6. Is this the station that’s now 99.9 the Hawk? I have some tapes of WLEV FM 96 from late 1986, that I recorded off the radio. I have full songs, commercials, etc. There’s a commercial for Bamberger’s right before it became Macy’s in Dec. 1986 at LV Mall, and a commercial for the now defunct Harold’s Furniture in Allentown (now Fegley’s Brew Works) and a commercial for Phillipsburg Easton Honda with that catchy song. Some of the songs heard in late 1986 on WLEV were- Celebration, Kool & the Gang (1981), Papa Don’t Preach, Madonna (Nov. 1986), My Hometown, Bruce Springsteen (1985), If You Leave, OMD (Apr. 1986), Sad Songs (Say So Much), Elton John (May 1984), I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Marvin Gaye (1968), and on another tape, Take Me Home, Phil Collins (March 1986), Still the Same, Bob Seger (1978), Every Breath You Take, The Police (1983), Kiss on my List, Hall & Oates (1981), You Can Call Me Al, Paul Simon (Aug. 1986), Heart of Rock & Roll, Huey Lewis & the News (1984), Self Control, Laura Branigan (1984), Invisible Touch, Genesis (1986), Take on Me, A-ha (1985), Gloria, Laura Branigan (1982) and a few more. Plus most of the WLEV and FM 96 jingles before songs. The one tape is very old, it must date to 1985 or earlier, and the sound quality on parts isn’t very good and the metal part with the foam that the magnetic tape rests on inside the bottom exposed part broke, so it doesn’t play well. It could be fixed, though. The other tape with just a few songs and stuff like the Bamberger’s, Harold’s commercials, etc is not as bad.

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  7. Yeah, my tapes probably have over an hour of the old FM 96 WLEV from approx. Nov. 1986. When they were an adult contemporary and played a mix of songs from the 70’s and 80’s and a few 60’s. Today we’re so used to B104 being the leader in top 40 radio in LV that it’s hard to imagine that it was a country station before 1985. B was Laser 1987-Nov. 1991, what was it between 1985-1987? CHR I believe?

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  8. My first recordings of Hot 99.9 were on Monday, September 1, 1989. I just discovered that the station went on the air on August 26, 1989-just six days prior.I used to enjoy listening to this station as a kid.

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  9. I was disappointed when I turned on the car radio in April 1992 and found out that Hot 99.9 had changed formats. I always thought one day another rhythmic top 40 station would return to the valley.

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