“That’s when it really started to hit me,” the longtime program director for WBBM-FM told The Chicago Tribune one morning sitting in the Entercom office on North Michigan Avenue. “This is going to be even bigger than I thought.”
Exclusively playing urban music from the mid-1990s to the early-2000s — think Ja Rule or Aaliyah, Fat Joe and Outkast to The Notorious B.I.G. — WBMX JAMS (formerly WJMK K-Hits) has infiltrated the FM dial and found immediate success like few new Chicago radio stations before it.
“We felt like it would do well, but it’s all happened really quickly,” the station’s music director Erik Bradley says. He chalks up much of JAMS’ initial success to word of mouth and social media buzz, but as Bradley shakes his head and smiles, you sense that despite plotting this project for several years now, even he is blown away by its mammoth reception. “It’s been quite the ride,” Bradley adds.
Both Bradley and Cavanah — who together for the past 25 years have been co-workers at what was formerly known as CBS Radio and is now Entercom — note how when first brainstorming the concept for JAMS several years ago, they kept returning to the longtime success of classic rock radio. But, as they are quick to clarify, it was more specifically that the “classic hits” format, like the former K-Hits, needed be reimagined. As hip-hop fans get older, they thought, the format should no longer be confined to exclusively rock music.
|WBMX 104.3 FM (4.1 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area|