98.7 WRKS “Kiss-FM” New York Says Goodbye, Part 5 | April 29, 2012


Here’s the final segment of the final day broadcast of 98.7 Kiss-FM.

WRKS began it’s life in June, 1981, the call letters chosen by then-parent company RKO General. They stood for RKO-Station. RKO-General had up till that time, a long history of creating exciting Top 40 (CHR) formats at some of the largest radio stations in the United States, including KHJ Los Angeles, KFRC San Francisco, WRKO Boston, and the format that was on 98.7 New York from October 1972 until June 1981, WXLO, known then as 99X. When WXLO transitioned from Top 40 to Adult Contemporary in 1980, the station’s ratings tanked, and in 1981, RKO General decided to take WXLO in a different direction, this time morphing into a station that played a heavy rotation of Disco and Rhythmic/Dance hits, with little or none of the Rock and Pop music that had been a staple of WXLO for much of its existence. In July, RKO decided a full blown format change, one which would highlight the ratings success of the direction WXLO was going in up to this point was in order. WRKS was born with much fanfare, and featured the then-NEW format, Urban Contemporary.

For 31 years, WRKS, 98.7 KISS-FM would be a format ratings leader, breaking new artists and employing deejays, some of whom would become famous. The station has become known for its community service efforts, and gaining a fiercely loyal audience along the way.

In this segment, we hear the final programs on “Kiss-FM”: The “Hour Of Power” with Rev. Al Sharpton (who is doing his show via telephone from Los Angeles), and then the final “The Week In Review”. Nearly every then-current member of the Kiss-FM airstaff, and many of those who were former on air people appear in this segment, the list of names too long to post here.

This segment ends at approximately 11:35. The final broadcast and format change to ESPN can be heard where it picks back up at around 11:40 PM HERE at our sister site FormatChange.com.

98.7 Kiss KissFM Kiss-FM WRKS New York Final Day Open Line Rhythm Revue Champaign Bubbles Toya Beasley Hour of Power Al Sharpton Week In Review

The Final Day Of 98.7 Kiss-FM
| Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | The End |



  1. David

    No nitpicking intended, but WXLO actually switched to a disco format in September 1980 (and that format–especially with, well, more than just disco!–was even then known as Urban Contemporary. In 1981–August, to be exact–WXLO did go to an urban format (and I mean REALLY urban) and simultaneously renamed itself WRKS 98.7 Kiss-FM. It gradually did away with the dance-pop music as time progressed until it became the all-contemporary R&B/hip hop format with which the format name “Urban Contemporary” is now associated. In the mid-nineties (unofficially in December 1994 during Kiss’ annual Twelve Days of Kissmas promotion, officially in January 2005), it dropped the rap and most or all the uptempo contemporary R&B in favor of softer, mostly contemporary R&B plus soul music from the 60s and 70s (read: Urban Adult Contemporary). (The 60’s soul recordings were later dropped.)

  2. David

    That is, to say, “…officially in January 1995…”.

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