Suitcase Simpson, WTAE “96 Kicks” Pittsburgh | January 31, 1977

This aircheck is somewhat confusing. The call letters are used at the top of the hour legal ID only. The station sometimes calls itself 96 KX, and other times 96 Kicks. And as if listeners weren’t confused enough, there’s a sweeper midway through using the slogan “Two Letter Radio – KX”. Boy, am I confused!

If you’re not from Pittsburgh and haven’t yet listened to this aircheck, you might think that 96 Kicks is a Country station. Its not. Kicks is a Top 40 station, complete with sped up records and jingles (used infrequently). Suitcase Simpson is a typical Top 40 jock for 1977 – hits the ‘post’ every time and definitely has the ‘pipes’. He works the phones quite well, too, as you’ll notice toward the end of this aircheck.

At 8:51 and scoped, this is not a long recording, but it is an important one. Despite the station’s apparent identity crisis, just the fact that WTAE was a fully staffed Top 40 station on FM is a big deal. In 1977, most of the hit music was still being played on AM – and that puts “96 Kicks” in that small but unique category of emerging FM CHR stations of the 1970s. This is good… and perhaps the only thing that really would have made it stand out would have been some WABC-style reverb.

Courtesy of Matt at Big Apple Airchecks!