This is Part 2 of The History of WIKZ

(requires real audio player)


By 1983, things had changed: AM radio was well on it's way to dying and the Top 40 format was starting to explode big time. Top 40 radio had been in a slump nationally since about 1980. Musically, it had become very soft, safe and boring. After a disco music backlash and the Urban Cowboy country music craze, Pop radio was beginning to get interesting again. There were two reasons for this: 1) MTV was exposing a ton of new music from Artists such as Duran Duran, Men at Work, The Culture Club and Cyndi Lauper, giving pop music a whole new lease on life. Plus, a new type of Top 40 format, known as 'Hot Hits' was sweeping the country. 'Hot Hits' played only new music, played the songs often, played a wide variety of musical styles, and had a very exciting, high energy on air presentation as opposed to the old, boring approach that most radio stations were using. By 1983, WIKZ-95 had fallen prey to becoming stale. The ratings were beginning to reflect the listeners' complacency. In the Spring 1983 Arbitron, WIKZ had fallen to #4 , beaten by arch rival WQCM (#2) and two country stations. Management decided something needed to be done to revive the station. After much discussion, it was decided that WIKZ-95 would become Z-95. Another concern was that maybe Arbitron diary keepers might misspell Wick-sea (WIKZ), meaning that the station might not get proper ratings credit . Z-95 would be more uptempo, play more of the current hit songs, and have a more fun, high energy approach. The question arose: how does the station transition from WIKZ-95 to Z? WIKZ-95 was still a much loved radio brand, but it needed updated. Two things were decided: 1) beginning in October, the station would start calling itself by its legal call letters, W-I-K-Z-95 as a transition and 2) The station would start promoting that W-I-K-Z-95 would soon Play the Last Song! Only the tease : Soon W-I-K-Z-95 will play the last song! was mentioned on air, prompting hundreds of phone calls from concerned listeners. People asked, what was going on? was the station going dark, changing format, being sold ? The mystery was soon to be solved. 

1983 WIKZ-95 Aircheck
(requires real audio player)

All the 'Z'tails: Hitradio Z-95

On January 12, 1984 at 6:00 A.M. WIKZ-95 became Continuous Hits Z-95( originally the station was to be called Hitradio, and even though the jingles sang that line, the term was not used by the djs because WQCM started using it on air in November 1983. At that time, we revealed that that "The Last Song" meant the "Last Song" CONTEST. If Z-95 called you at home or work at random and you knew the last song played on Z-95, you won a pile of cash and prizes that increased each time there wasn't a winner.

The original Z-95 on-air lineup
Beau Davis 5:30 -10 am
Bill Matthews 10 am - 2 pm
Rick Alexander 2 - 7 pm
Chris Edwards 7 - Midnight
Jeffrey Paul Midnight - 6 am
The Top 5 Songs from Z-95's first week
January 10, 1984
1. I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues Elton John
2. Owner Of A Lonely Heart Yes
3. Joanna Kool & The Gang
4. Karma Chameleon Culture Club
5. Think Of Laura Christopher Cross

September 1984 Z-95 Aircheck
(requires real audio player)

The changes must have worked, because WIKZ to #2 in the ratings, beating WQCM for the first time! By the Spring of 1985, WIKZ was, for the first time, the number one radio station in the Hagerstown- Chambersburg- Waynesboro Metro !! Also in 1985, Lisa Harding joined the station for 2 - 7 PM in 1985 and on August 4, 1986, the long-time team of Rick & Lisa (known then as Alexander and Harding) debuted.

Z-95 was the station to win Michael Jackson's glove from, the station that sent you to the historic Live Aid Concert. Z-95 was Your Christmas Wish Station, The MS Ugly Bartenders Station and the Official "Hands Across America" station. Thousand Of Dollars in cash and prizes were handed out and every weekend was a winning weekend on Z-95. You heard Casey Kasem and Rick Dees counting down the national hits on the weekend and on Sundays it was the Z-95 Cumberland Valley Countdown. During the 80s, Z-95 evolved from Continuous Hits, to Hitradio, to Your 4 in a Row Station, Your 10 in a Row Station, The Number One Hit Music Station, to finally Better Variety, Z-95. Also, it is interesting to note that the number of times per hour that station would stop the music per hour decreased over the years. In 1983, WIKZ-95 would stop 5 times per hour. In 1984, it decreased to 4 times per hour; in 1987 in became 3 times an hour and finally, down to twice per hour in 1989, a level we stick with to this day. The Big 80s were a great time for Z-95, WIKZ. The station was always either #1 or #2 in the both the Arbitron and Birch ratings. However, as the 80s drew to a close and the 90s began, changes were in the offing for Z-95, WIKZ. 

Part 3 of The History of WIKZ