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WBBM-FM B96Dance logo.png
Broadcast areaChicago market
SloganChicago's New Hit Music
Frequency96.3 MHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date1941[1][2]
FormatTop 40 (CHR)
HD-2: Dance Top 40
ERP3,300 watts
HAAT474 meters (1,555 ft)
Facility ID9613
Transmitter coordinates41°52?44?N 87°38?10?W / 41.879°N 87.636°W / 41.879; -87.636Coordinates: 41°52?44?N 87°38?10?W / 41.879°N 87.636°W / 41.879; -87.636
Callsign meaningWorld's Best Battery Maker (referring to a former owner of WBBM (AM))
We Broadcast Better Music[3] (from a slogan of its radio sister made from the calls)
One of the two Bs in WBBM branding is used in B96 branding
Former callsignsW67C (1941-1943)[1]
Former frequencies46.7 MHz (1941-1946)[1]
99.3 MHz (1946-1947)[1]
97.1 (1947-1953)[1]
(Entercom License, LLC)
WebcastListen Live

WBBM-FM, known on air as "B96", is a Top 40 (CHR) radio station in Chicago owned by Entercom. The station broadcasts at 96.3 MHz with an ERP of 3.3 kW from a transmitter atop Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), and its studios are located at Two Prudential Plaza in the Loop. WBBM-FM's main competition is WKSC-FM, as well as urban rivals WGCI-FM and WPWX.

WBBM-FM broadcasts two channels in the HD Radio format. HD2 is an all-dance format called B96 Dance.[4]

Station history

The early years

The station began broadcasting in 1941, as W67C, broadcasting at 46.7 MHz.[1][2] The station's transmitter was located atop the American National Bank Building, at 33 N. LaSalle Street.[1] The station was a simulcast of WBBM 780, airing a very conservative mix of music which appealed to a broad range of ages. In 1943, the station's call sign was changed to WBBM-FM.[1] In 1946, the station began broadcasting at 99.3 MHz.[1] In 1947, the station's frequency was changed to 97.1 MHz, and in 1953 the station's frequency was changed to 96.3 MHz.[1]

The Young Sound

In 1966, WBBM-FM split from simulcasting the AM and flipped to "The Young Sound", a format that was invented by John DeWitt for WCBS-FM in New York.[5][6][7] Bud Kelly was the announcer for "The Young Sound" on WBBM-FM.[5] "The Young Sound" aired contemporary pop and instrumental covers of recent hits, and had a contemporary energy that skewed the station towards a younger audience than WBBM-FM had previously sought.[5][7] Every hour's playlist was designed so that each song would compliment the songs that preceded and followed it.[5][6]

Chicago's Favorite Rock

By the early 1970s, the station was airing a format consisting of top 40, album cuts, and past hits.[8] The station was branded as "Stereo 96 WBBM-FM, Chicago's Favorite Rock!"[9]

In 1971, the station's transmitter was moved to the John Hancock Center.[1]

Soft rock era

By 1977, the station had adopted an soft rock format branded "The Mellow Sound of Chicago, Soft Rock 96 BBM-FM"[10][11]Dick Bartley, who later became a popular syndicated personality, spent time at WBBM-FM as program director and morning disc jockey in the late '70s.[12][13] WBBM-FM briefly carried "American Top 40" with Casey Kasem during the soft rock years.[14]


In May 1982, WBBM-FM picked up a Top 40/CHR format known as "Hot Hits", which was created by consultant Mike Joseph.[15] The station was branded B96 the following year.[16]

In 1986, WBBM-FM started to move toward a rhythmic top 40 direction, and in the late 1980s began to embrace dance product.[17][18] In 1990, the station became known as "The Killer Bee: B96."[18]

In 1995, the station would start embracing acts from the world of R&B/hip-hop and pop as the dance scene diminished.[19]

In January 2006, the station officially launched its HD2 FM sub-carrier, airing a Dance Top 40 format.[20] In October 2008, the station's slogan was changed from "Chicago's Hits and Hip-Hop" to "Chicago's #1 Hit Music Station", as its format shifted back to Mainstream Top 40.[21][22]

On February 2, 2017, CBS Radio announced it would merge with Entercom.[23] The merger was approved on November 9, 2017, and was consummated on the 17th.[24][25]

Morning show

B96 was well known for its flagship "Eddie & JoBo" morning zoo show. Joe Colborn (stage name "Bohannon") first signed on at B96 in 1984 hosting evenings as "JoBo In Chicago".[26]Ed Volkman started at B96 in 1986 hosting morning drive along with Karen Hand and Mike Elston.[26][27] When Elston left B96 in 1988, Bohannon was moved to mornings along with Volkman and Hand, launching the "Eddie & JoBo" show.[28][26] The morning show was canceled on November 21, 2008.[29]

On January 5, 2009, Julian Nieh and Jamar "J. Niice" McNeil started a new morning show, "J. Niice & Julian on the Radio". The two were previously together at Clear Channel's WIHT in Washington. Nieh stayed with the show until December 2012.[30] The show continued with the name "The J. Show with Showbiz Shelly", with J. Niice as the main morning host.[31][32] J. Niice left the morning show in March 2018.[33][34]

Summer Bash concerts

B96 has held a summer concert[35] at various local venues since 1992, with the exception of one year that it wasn't held due to a perceived lack of good musical talent available to perform. When it started in 1992, it was held at the World Music Theatre in Tinley Park (now called First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre). After several years, it moved to the Joliet Raceway where it stayed until moving to the Maywood Park Racetrack for a year, and then to Toyota Park in Bridgeview in 2007. The event has hosted top musical acts as well as local acts. The station also began a winter holiday season version of the event called Jingle Bash.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k History Cards for WBBM-FM, fcc.gov. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 2010, Broadcasting & Cable, 2010. p. D-185. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  3. ^ "What those letters on the dial mean", Chicago Tribune Magazine, March 4, 1979. p. 15. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  4. ^ http://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=4 Archived 2016-09-16 at the Wayback Machine HD Radio Guide for Chicago
  5. ^ a b c d "What is 'The Young Sound'?", All That Is Music. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "'Young Sound' to Hit New York on Oct. 1", Billboard. October 1, 1966. p. 22. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  7. ^ a b CBS-FM Offers Service to Aid Small Markets With Separation", Billboard. December 16, 1966. pp. 26, 32. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  8. ^ "WBBM-FM Cuts Swath With Oldie LP Tracks", Billboard. July 10, 1971. p. 20. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  9. ^ WBBM/FM Stereo 96 Chicago's Favorite Rock, WBBM-FM. May 12, 1973. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  10. ^ Media Decisions, Volume 12, Part 1. N. Glenn Publications. 1977. p. 43.
  11. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1978, Broadcasting, 1978. p. C-62. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  12. ^ Ghrist, John R. (1996). Valley Voices: A Radio History. Crossroads Communications. p. 44.
  13. ^ "Billboard Arbitron DJ Rating Performance", Billboard. September 30, 1978. p. 32. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  14. ^ Hall, Doug. "Vox Jox", Billboard. August 11, 1979. p. 18. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  15. ^ Penchansky, Alan. "WBBM-FM to Shift to 'Hot Hits' Format", Billboard. April 24, 1982. pp. 25, 36. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  16. ^ Bornstein, Rollye. "Vox Jox", Billboard. June 18, 1983. p. 24. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  17. ^ Hoffman, Wayne. "After years of indifference, radio stations are actively courting gay men--some more openly than others", The Advocate. January 21, 1997. p. 81-82. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  18. ^ a b Ross, Sean. "PD of the week", Billboard. May 19, 1990. pp. 19, 22. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  19. ^ Carter, Kevin. "PD Cavanah Sees Success By Broadening B96's List", Billboard. September 23, 1995. p. 100. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  20. ^ "Major Radio Groups Announce HD2 Formats", All Access Music Group. January 19, 2006. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  21. ^ "Chicago's Hits and Hip-Hop". WBBM-FM. Archived from the original on October 24, 2008. Retrieved 2019.
  22. ^ "Chicago's #1 Hit Music Station". WBBM-FM. Archived from the original on October 31, 2008. Retrieved 2019.
  23. ^ Venta, Lance. "CBS Radio to Merge with Entercom", RadioInsight. February 2, 2017. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  24. ^ "Entercom Receives FCC Approval For Merger With CBS Radio". Entercom. November 2, 2017. Archived from the original on November 11, 2017. Retrieved 2019.
  25. ^ Venta, Lance (November 17, 2017). "Entercom Completes CBS Radio Merger". Radio Insight. Archived from the original on November 18, 2017. Retrieved 2019.
  26. ^ a b c Chicago's WJMK-FM flipping to KHITS", Radio & Television Business Report. March 10, 2011. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  27. ^ Freeman, Kim. "Vox Jox", Billboard. August 9, 1986. p. 14. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  28. ^ Ross, Sean. "Vox Jox", Billboard. November 5, 1988. p. 15. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  29. ^ Rosenthal, Phil. "Eddie and Jobo out at WBBM-FM", Chicago Tribune. November 21, 2008. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  30. ^ "Julian Nieh Exits B96", Chicagoland Radio and Media. November 28, 2012. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  31. ^ Feder, Robert. "B96 reboots morning show after Julian jumps", Time Out Chicago. November 28, 2012. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  32. ^ "The J. Show with Showbiz Shelly". WBBM-FM. Archived from the original on June 20, 2013. Retrieved 2019.
  33. ^ Goldsborough, Bob. "J Niice, former WBBM-FM morning host, sells Near South Side condo for $370,500", Chicago Tribune. August 24, 2018. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  34. ^ "Changes At WBBM-F (B96)/Chicago As J Niice And Showbiz Shelly Exit Mornings; 'DreX' Rumored To Return", All Access Music Group. March 29, 2018. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  35. ^ "B96 summer music festival of pop", Chicago Tribune, June 11, 2010, accessed March 6, 2011.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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