Contemporary Hits Radio (CHR Radio Format), Rhythmic CHR, Urban, and Latin Radio Formats

[Please keep in mind that when we are talking about large groups of people, there are many counter-examples. Not every member of every demographic group listens to the same kind of music and radio programming. Descriptions of demographic groups should never be used as the basis for stereotyping.]

For advertisers that need to reach an ethnically diverse group of young adults, the following formats are good choices:

Contemporary Hit Radio or CHR

Contemporary Hit radio, or CHR for short, is sometimes referred to as Top 40 radio. This format plays a tight list of current hit songs usually encompassing various genres, including pop, rock, dance, hip hop, and R&B. 

Songs rotate quickly on CHR stations, sometimes repeating every 90-minutes to 2 hours.  Playlists change quickly, too, with the music whims of young adults. 

CHR stations often have the most overall listeners in a radio market, due to the mass appeal of the music. However, the tight song rotations and a wide variety of genre usually mean that those listeners spend less time listening to the station, per session. 

The CHR format is the descendant of the American top 40 radio format, pioneered by station-owner Todd Storz in the early 1950s. Storz first top 40 station, KOWH-AM, was in Omaha.

At the time, most radio stations were broadcasting a variety of radio programs throughout the day, including various genres of music and talk shows. The programming philosophy was to offer a little bit of something that would please everyone. At one moment you could be listening to a talk show about successful homemaking, and an hour later, you could be hearing chamber music. 

Storz changed all of that with KOWH-AM. He made the programming consistent across the entire day, with local personalities playing a loop of the forty most popular rock and roll songs. 

The success of this first station led to expansion. Eventually, he bought six more radio stations, including KOMA-AM, 1520, in Oklahoma City. 

Todd Storz pioneering top 40 format not only gave us the modern CHR, but it also heavily influenced other formats such as adult contemporary (AC) and Hot AC. 

Advertising on KJYO, known as KJ103 is a CHR station in Oklahoma City. 

KJ103 is owned by iHeartMedia. It has been playing a hit music format since 1983. 

This radio station plays a mix of local programming; such as TJ, Janet, and JRod in the Morning; and, syndicated programming, like On Air with Ryan Seacrest.

Rhythmic Contemporary Hits Radio or Rhythmic CHR

Rhythmic CHR is a variation of the contemporary hits formats. It is sometimes called rhythmic contemporary, CHR/urban, or CHurban. 

This format focuses on hits in the dance, R&B, and hip-hop music genres, and omits rock-oriented hits. 

Advertise on Wild 104.9, an OKC rhythmic CHR radio station in OKC

KKWD, or Wild 104.9, is owned by Cumulus Media. 

The Wild moniker, and rhythmic CHR format, launched in 2000 on 97.9 FM. In 2006, Wild swapped frequencies with the co-owned sports talk station, the Sports Animal. 

Latin Formats

There are 41 million Spanish-speakers in the United States. There are a variety of radio formats that serve these consumers with Latin music and Spanish language spoken programming. 

Formats include:

  • Regional Mexican

  • Spanish Contemporary

  • Spanish Tropical

  • Tejano

  • Spanish Talk

  • Spanish Sports Talk

In Oklahoma City, there are five commercial Latin-formatted radio stations.

La Zeta 106.7 was the first Spanish-language FM station in OKC.

In 2000, Tyler Media founder, Ralph Tyler, made a genius business move. He relocated a radio station that used to serve Clinton, Oklahoma, to Okarche. 

By making this move, the previously small town station now covered the more populous Oklahoma City. 

Upon moving the station, Tyler made another brilliant decision. He noticed that there was a quickly growing Hispanic population on the south side of Oklahoma City, where he lived. He also noticed that there was no FM radio station playing music to serve this population. 

This is how KTUZ-FM, La Zeta, was born as a Regional Mexican formatted radio station. 

Regional Mexican is radio format that plays various sub-genres of Mexican music that are popular in the rural northern part of Mexico. The format is the most popular Latin radio format in the United States. 

KTUZ-FM provides a mix of syndicated and local programming. 

Éxitos 96.5 is a low power FM translator offering the Spanish Oldies format. 

This station, also owned by Tyler Media, plays music that is popular with older adults. 

The existence of this station, and other stations that Tyler Media owns and operates, owes itself to a clever regulatory maneuver deployed by the Tylers. 

Radio companies in Oklahoma City are limited to a maximum of five FM stations and two AM stations by FCC regulations. However, FCC rules allow radio stations to extend the reach of programming that originates from one of their radio stations, using a low-power transmitter known as a translator. 

These translators can rebroadcast programming from a regular FM or AM station; or from an HD Radio stream. 

HD Radio is a digital streaming technology that allows regular analog radio stations to digitally broadcast additional streams of programming on a digital subchannel. It never gained wide acceptance and radio companies have mostly abandoned it. 

With Éxitos 96.5, Tyler Media is originating the programming from the HD3 channel on 107.7 KRXO and then using a translator (with call letters K243BJ) to rebroadcast it on 96.5 FM. 

It is important to remember that translators broadcast at low power and generally don’t have the same geographic coverage as a fully licensed FM radio station. 

The Spanish Oldies format plays a mix of music that was popular in Mexico during 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s. 

98.5 El Patron is iHeartMedia’s OKC Regional Mexican Station

Tyler Media isn’t the only OKC radio company to extend their station lineup using the HD Radio + translator. El Patron’s programming originates on KBRU-FM’s (94.7) HD2 digital subchannel and is rebroadcast on a translator at 96.5 FM. 

There are other Spanish stations serving OKC

KZUE-AM 1460, known as La Tremenda, is a Univision Radio affiliate and offer a mix of syndicated and local programming. This station has an FM translator at 97.7 FM serving El Reno. KZUE-AM is owned by La Tremenda Radio Mexico, LLC, represented by Nancy Galván.

WKY-AM 930, ESPN Deportes, is a Spanish Sports formatted station, airing ESPN programming. It is owned by Cumulus Media. 

Urban Format

The urban radio format, sometimes called urban contemporary, features modern R&B and hip hop music. 

Power 103.5, KVSP-FM is OKC’s urban radio station

KVSP-FM is an urban-formatted radio station owned and operated by Perry Publishing and Broadcasting. 

The syndicated Ricky Smiley Morning Show anchors the station’s programming. Local personalities King Coola and Landoo Boomin hold down middays and afternoons.