Courtesy of Big Apple Airchecks, here’s 8 minutes of pure ecstatic aircheck audio gold from the late, enormous Ron O’Brien! He really was larger than life and every break proved that, no matter what station O’Brien was on! There’s a saying in radio. You’re only as good as your last break. If true, then Big Ron was the best there was! There’s not one bad break on this aircheck, and you KNOW Ron was behaving himself! He does the show straight here, although Ron’s often snarky brand of humor sneaks in here and there.
KIIS-FM was an interesting station in 1992. While solidly a hit music station, it was branded “The Hits of the 80s & 90s”. That slogan would sound more appropriate on an Adult Contemporary station, but I suppose that if you’re trying to maintain a slightly older audience than just teens, at this point in time it would make sense to play big 80s CHR hits in the mix. The reason is pretty simple. 1992 was the year of Grunge. Nirvana. Alice In Chains and the like. Many industry experts said that Contemporary Hit Radio had lost its way, thanks to the concentration of Rock product in the format. Indeed, many 80s CHR stations changed formats to something else during this period. KIIS-FM stayed the course and weathered the early 90s format doldrums to go on to be the next decade’s format leader.
This aircheck is in mono. Probably recorded that way, this appears to be a first-generation aircheck tape, digitized for Big Apple Airchecks’ Big Ron O’Brien tribute, produced just after his death. It’s a very clean aircheck with very little tape hiss, although the audio dynamic range could use a little expansion. I left it alone because by lifting the audio dynamics, that would also increase the source tape noise.
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