Rhythmic contemporary, also known as Rhythmic Top 40 , Rhythmic CHR or rhythmic crossover, is a primarily American music-radio format that includes a mix of EDM, upbeat rhythmic pop, hip hop and upbeat R&B hits. Rhythmic contemporary never uses rock or country in its airplay, but it may occasionally use a reggae, Latin, reggaeton, or a Christian/gospel hit. Essentially, the format is a cross between mainstream radio and urban contemporary radio formats.
Although some top-40 stations such as CKLW in Windsor, Ontario made their mark by integrating a large amount of R&B and soul product into their predominantly pop playlists as early as 1967, such stations were still considered mainstream top 40 (a cycle that continues to dominate the current Top 40/CHR chart). It was not until the disco era of the late 1970s that such stations came to be considered as a format of their own as opposed to top-40 or soul. This development was largely spurred by the highly successful "worst-to-first" debut of the disco-based format on WKTU on 92.3 FM in New York City (now WNYL) in 1978. That station was classified as disco but actually played a blend of disco, dance music, and pop crossovers. At that time, stations playing strictly R&B tracks were known as "black" or "soul" stations. Stations such as WKTU came to be known as urban contemporary in the early 1980s as the disco era ended. In the 1980s, many urban contemporary stations began to spring up. Most of these leaned more towards R&B than dance music. These urban stations began sounding identical to so-called black stations and by 1985, stations that played strictly R&B product were all known as urban stations. Still, some urban outlets continued adding artists from outside the format onto their playlist. In most cases it was dance and rhythmic pop but in other cases they added a few rock songs. For example, Detroit's successful WDRQ included artists such as Cyndi Lauper, Culture Club and The Romantics in its urban format circa 1984.
But it wasn't until January 11, 1986 that KPWR in Los Angeles, a former struggling adult contemporary outlet, began to make its mark with this genre by adopting this approach. It would be known as crossover because of the musical mix and the avoidance of most rock at the time. Shortly afterward WQHT in New York adopted a similar crossover format and enjoyed similar ratings success. The new breed of crossover stations broke a number of popular artists, including Expose and The Cover Girls, but such artists couldn't reach either the Billboard Hot 100 or Hot Black Singles charts because their airplay was split between a handful of mainstream top-40 and black reporting stations. Billboard magazine thus debuted its first rhythmic top-40 airplay chart, the "Hot Crossover 30," in its February 28, 1987 issue. The Crossover panel's initial lineup of 18 stations included five exclusive Crossover reporters (KPWR, WQHT, WHQT Miami, WMYK Norfolk, and WOCQ Ocean City, MD) as well as 13 stations which also retained their prior CHR or black reporter status (among them WPOW Miami, WHRK Memphis, KMEL San Francisco, WHYT Detroit, WQUE New Orleans, WLUM Milwaukee. and XHRM Tijuana/San Diego). This was the first rhythmic top-40 airplay chart in any radio/records trade magazine. The chart's first number one song was "Lean on Me" by Club Nouveau.
Today, Mega 97ONE in Santa Maria broadcasts such a format.
For years since its inception, the rhythmic name has been a source of confusion among music trades, especially in both Billboard (which used the Rhythmic Top 40 title) and Radio & Records (which use the CHR/rhythmic title for their official charts). In August 2006 Billboard dropped both the "top 40" and "CHR" name from the rhythmic title after its sister publication Billboard Radio Monitor merged with Radio & Records to become the "New" R&R as part of their realignment of format categories. The move also ended confusion among the radio stations who report to their panels, which was modified by the end of 2006 with the inclusion of non-monitored reporters that were holdovers from the "(Old) R&R" days.
Still, over the years since its inception, the genre has grown and evolved in its position between traditional R&B outlets (who claim that the Rhythmic contemporary format does not target or serve the African-American community properly) and the traditional Top 40 hit stations. However, both R&B and mainstream top 40 outlets have taken cues from the Rhythmic contemporary format through the years; as of 2018, the cycle continues to dominate the current Top 40/CHR playlist as more Rhythmic and EDM songs are making their way onto the Mainstream chart.
An offshoot format of rhythmic contemporary is rhythmic adult contemporary, which targets an adult audience with a mix of current rhythmic hits and gold tracks (often termed "Throwbacks") which may date as far back as the 1980s or even the disco era of the 1970s. As with Rhythmic CHR, Rhythmic AC may vary depending on the market as to how much hip-hop and R&B product are included in the playlist; for example, the current WKTU (one of the late 1990s pioneers of the recent crop of Rhythmic AC stations) leans toward pop and dance, while WBQT in Boston is very hip-hop heavy.
Urban contemporary, also known as hip hop, urban pop, or just simply urban, is a music radio format. The term was coined by New York radio DJ Frankie Crocker in the early to mid-1970s as a synonym for Black music. Urban contemporary radio stations feature a playlist made up entirely of Black genres such as R&B, pop-rap, quiet storm, urban adult contemporary, hip hop, Latin music such as Latin pop, Chicano R&B and Chicano rap, and Caribbean music such as reggae. Urban contemporary was developed through the characteristics of genres such as R&B and soul.
WPGC-FM is a commercial radio station licensed to Morningside, Maryland and serving the Washington metropolitan area. It is owned by Audacy, Inc., and airs an urban contemporary format.
Contemporary hit radio is a radio format that is common in many countries that focuses on playing current and recurrent popular music as determined by the Top 40 music charts. There are several subcategories, dominantly focusing on rock, pop, or urban music. Used alone, CHR most often refers to the CHR-pop format. The term contemporary hit radio was coined in the early 1980s by Radio & Records magazine to designate Top 40 stations which continued to play hits from all musical genres as pop music splintered into Adult contemporary, Urban contemporary and other formats.
WDRQ is a radio station licensed to Detroit, Michigan. Owned by Cumulus Media, it broadcasts a country music format. Its studios are located in the Fisher Building in New Center, while its transmitter is located at the intersection of 10 Mile and Greenfield Road in suburban Oak Park.
WKTU is a Rhythmic Hot AC formatted radio station licensed to Lake Success, New York, a suburb of New York City. WKTU is owned by iHeartMedia and broadcasts from studios in the former AT&T Building in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan; its transmitter is located at the Empire State Building.
KPWR is a commercial radio station in Los Angeles, California, broadcasting to the Greater Los Angeles area. KPWR is owned and operated by Meruelo Group and airs a rhythmic contemporary format. KPWR's studios are based in the Los Angeles suburb of Burbank, and the transmitter is on Mount Wilson, shared with KCAL-TV and KRTH. Meruelo acquired KPWR from Emmis Communications for $82.75 million in May 2017, officially bringing the station under common ownership with KDAY, KDEY-FM, and KWHY-TV on August 1, 2017.
Radio & Records (R&R) was a trade publication providing news and airplay information for the radio and music industries. It started as an independent trade from 1973 to 2006 until VNU Media took over in 2006 and became a relaunched sister trade to Billboard, until its final issue in 2009.
KQKS, is a Rhythmic Top 40 radio station, licensed to Lakewood, Colorado. It is owned by Audacy, Inc. and serves the Denver-Boulder metropolitan area. KQKS's current slogan is #1 For Today's Hottest Music, referring to a musical mix of R&B, hip hop and Rhythmic Pop hits.
KHHM, also known as Fuego 103.5 & 98.9, is a bilingual rhythmic CHR station outlet serving Sacramento, California. The station is owned by Entravision Communications. Although KHHM formerly had an HD Radio channel, it has since abandoned digital transmissions, as well as RDS title/artist PAD data. Its studios are located in North Sacramento and a transmitter site is based in Midtown.
WEZB is a commercial FM radio station licensed to New Orleans, Louisiana. Owned by Audacy, Inc., it broadcasts a Top 40 (CHR) radio format. It rarely uses its call sign, instead calling itself B97 FM. The studios and offices are located at the 400 Poydras Tower in Downtown New Orleans. The station airs the syndicated Kidd Kraddick Morning Show from KHKS Dallas on weekdays.
Rhythmic adult contemporary is an adult contemporary radio format. The format focuses primarily on rhythmic hits aimed towards an adult audience, often resembling a mixture of the classic hits and hot adult contemporary formats in practice. It typically focuses on genres such as disco, classic hip-hop, dance pop, and house music of the late 1980s/early 1990s.
WXKS-FM, branded as Kiss 108, is a commercial Top 40/CHR radio station licensed to serve Medford, Massachusetts and covering Greater Boston. Owned by iHeartMedia, the WXKS-FM studios are in Medford and the transmitter sits atop the Prudential Tower in downtown Boston.
Billboard Radio Monitor was a weekly music trade publication that followed the radio industry and tracked the monitoring of current songs by format, station and audience cumes. The magazine was a spinoff of Billboard magazine and was mostly available through subscription to people who work in the radio industry as well as music chart enthusiasts. It was developed in Columbia, Maryland, initially by Alan Smith and Jonas Cash, principals of the music company called AIR. AIR created music listening competitions for radio programmers in five different musical genres and were looking for a "qualifier" for the contests. The contests involved testing new songs' potential by having radio programmers listen to and respond to each song's hit potential using a national chart as the qualifier. After using Radio and Records chart for the first 10 years of the competition, AIR developed the BAM, and went into partnership with Billboard Magazine to produce and market the magazine. As members of the Board of Directors, the AIR principals continued to improve its features over the next eight years under the new name of Billboard Radio Monitor.
KQMV is a commercial FM radio station licensed to Bellevue, Washington, and serving the Seattle-Tacoma-Puget Sound radio market. The Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc. outlet airs a Top 40 (CHR) radio format.
R&R was a weekly music trade publication that followed the radio industry and tracked the monitoring of current songs by format, station and audience cumes. The magazine was a sister publication to Billboard magazine and was mostly available through subscription to people who work in the radio industry and music chart enthusiasts, as well as various record stores and newsstands. On June 5, 2009, parent company AC Nielsen ceased operations on R&R just short of three years after acquiring the former independent trade periodical. When it ceased publication in 2009, R&R was the successor-in-interest of publications that traced their operations back to 1973.
The Rhythmic chart is an airplay chart published weekly by Billboard magazine.
KKFR was a commercial radio station that was licensed to Mayer, Arizona and served the Phoenix metropolitan area. The station was owned and operated by Riviera Broadcast Group and aired a rhythmic contemporary radio format. KKFR broadcast at 98.3 MHz with an effective radiated power of 41 kW. The station's studios were located on 7th Street in Midtown Phoenix and its transmitter was located in Crown King, Arizona, producing a rimshot signal from 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Phoenix. KKFR is the flagship station of the nationally syndicated program Dana Cortez Show.
Dance radio is a format that consists of current and recent dance and electronic music.
In North American music, adult contemporary music (AC) is a form of radio-played popular music, ranging from 1960s vocal and 1970s soft rock music to predominantly ballad-heavy music of the present day, with varying degrees of easy listening, pop, soul, R&B, quiet storm, and rock influence. Adult contemporary is generally a continuation of the easy listening and soft rock style that became popular in the 1960s and 1970s with some adjustments that reflect the evolution of pop/rock music.
American Dance Traxx was an American dance music countdown program that was syndicated by Westwood One and produced at KPWR/Los Angeles, California from March 1987 to December 1993. The three-hour program was distributed to more than 200 Top 40/CHR and Rhythmic stations internationally, including The Armed Forces Network.