By the end of the 70s decade, it was clear that WKBO's Top 40 days were numbered. WKBO was not alone in this plight. Successful AM stations of the 1960s and 70s were losing their music audience to FM in ever increasing numbers. Yet, there was not a clear road map for change. Unlike today, there was no syndicated talk or sports formats. Even satellite music networks were a year or two away at that point. Also, stealing audience from the established dinosaurs like WHP proved to be a challenge. What may have hampered stations like WKBO was the gradual evolution from Top 40 to adult contemporary. The years have taught that, as hard as it is to do, it is better to blow up a station and start over with, if not call letters, a complete overhaul of the stations format and identity. What was occurring with AMs in the late 70s and early 80s was that that old audience was gone and the audience the stations wanted to attract still assumed they were the "old" rock'n' roll top 40 format.

In August of 1979, Mitch McKeever left and was replaced by the decidedly more laid back and "adult" oriented Neil Howard in afternoon drive. The music during the day was now more gold-based and adult, while there was an attempt to keep the station more current driven and Top 40 at night. In March of 1980, WKBO added the NBC radio network, running its 5-minute top of hour newscast every hour, except at night. NBC was a bit on the stodgy side, but not as bad as CBS. It was also very feature oriented and KBO was forced to air the features or a least the commercial inventory. WKBO had not had network news since dropping the ABC Contemporary network in early 1974. Local news ran adjacent to NBC at the top of the hour and at the bottom of the hour. It is ironic to note that NBC was the network KBO dropped when in initiated the "1-2-3 Radio KB" format in 1971.

In early 1980, Betsy Kaye was hired to do the Noon - 3 PM shift, while Jim Buchanan cut back his airshift to 9 AM - Noon, so he could spend more time on programming. Betsy came from WORD in Spartanburg, North Carolina and, too, was more adult oriented. The lineup was now:

The early 1980 lineup was now:
Tim and Heidi 6 - 9 am
Jim Buchanan 9 - 12 noon
Betsy Kaye 12 - 3 pm
Neil Howard 3 - 6 pm
Rick Shockley 6 - 10 pm
Chris Andree 10 pm - 2 am
Matt Michaels 2 - 6 am
The biggest change came with the new slogan. "Musicradio" was now completely eliminated. The new slogan was "Harrisburg, a Special Place To Be, One-Twenty-Three, WKBO". New jingles were purchased.
JAM A Special Place
Included in the new package were many long image cuts that sang about the many amenities of metropolitan Harrisburg. There was no real music positioning at this point. Even though there were lots of new jingles, they were still used sparingly on air.  The one real problem with this whole concept was that in 1980, Harrisburg was years away from having the Senators, City Island Park and restaurant row. In short, Harrisburg was not a very "special place to be" and quite honestly, neither was KBO anymore.

The final shoe dropped in August of 1980. Al Dame had just bought out his partner of the last 9 years, Mike Rea and now fully owned WKBO. The month before, the spring 1980 Harrisburg Arbitron numbers were released. KBO had dropped from a 9.9 to a 5.0 share, persons 12 + ! In the following weeks, Jim Buchanan, Captain Dave Edwards and Matt Michaels left the station. Tim Burns was made PD and traffic reports were eliminated.:

The August 1980 WKBO lineup:
Tim and Heidi 6 - 10 am
Betsy Kaye 10 am - 2 pm
Neil Howard 2 - 6 pm
Rick Shockley 6 - Midnight
Chris Andree 12 - 6 am
The station was now decidedly full-time adult contemporary, with NBC news around the clock.
The Eagle, the Nittany Lion and the Bear
will come to play on WKBO
They began promoting that " ... this fall the Eagle, the Nittany Lion and the Bear will come to play on WKBO" Russ Small was hired as sports director and play-by-play announcer for the Hershey Bears as WKBO became their flagship. In December, Rick Shockley departed and Chris Andree was promoted to 6 PM - Midnight and Gary Jadus was hired for overnights. The transition was now complete.
The Post Top 40 era . . .

Jeff Roteman's WKBO Website