Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Classic hits

Classic hits

Ask a question about 'Classic hits'
Start a new discussion about 'Classic hits'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
Classic hits is a radio format
Radio format
A radio format or programming format not to be confused with broadcast programming describes the overall content broadcast on a radio station. Radio formats are frequently employed as a marketing tool, and constantly evolve...

 which generally includes rock
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

 and pop
Pop music
Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

 from 1964 to 1989. The term is sometimes erroneously used as a synonym for the adult hits
Adult hits
Adult hits is a radio format, popular in the early 2000s, that does not adhere to a specific music genre, but instead draws from a wider playlist...

 format, but is more accurately characterized as a contemporary style of the oldies
Oldies is a term commonly used to describe a radio format that concentrates on music from a period of about 15 to 55 years before the present day....

 format. Most stations focus on pop hits of the late 1960s through 80s.


The term "classic hits" is believed to have its birth at WZLX
WZLX is a prominent classic rock radio station in the Boston, Massachusetts market. WZLX was one of the first classic rock FM stations in America...

Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

 when the station converted from "adult contemporary" to a format composed of the hipper tracks from the oldies format and album tracks from popular classic rock albums. The goal was to attract and magnetize two groups of baby boomers: those who didn't want the doo-wop
The name Doo-wop is given to a style of vocal-based rhythm and blues music that developed in African American communities in the 1940s and achieved mainstream popularity in the 1950s and early 1960s. It emerged from New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, Newark, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and...

 and pop they found on the oldies stations, and those who didn't like the more heavy metal
Heavy metal music
Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the Midlands of the United Kingdom and the United States...

 side of AOR
Album-oriented rock
Album-oriented rock is an American FM radio format focusing on album tracks by rock artists.-Music played:Most radio formats are based on a select, tight rotation of hit singles...


Over time, the "classic hits" format has evolved into more of a station's slug line than of a tightly focused music library shared by the stations who use the term. The first branching-off in the late '80s led to stations becoming more "classic rock"-based, and the second reincarnation manifested itself in the premises of the "Jack FM
Jack FM
JACK FM is the alternative name and on-air brand of 60 radio stations in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia. Jack stations play a mix of 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s hits with some current hot adult contemporary singles. Jack's slogan "playing what we want" can also be...

" and the "Arrow
Arrow (radio format)
Arrow is a radio format that plays "classic hits" from the late 1970s through the early 1980s among other selections. The format was briefly popular in a number of markets.The word "Arrow" is an extended acronym for "All Rock-and-Roll Oldies"....

" formats. Some of the 21st-century versions are based on a music library mostly consisting of classic rock-style hits from the 1970s, along with R&B and pop
Pop music
Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

 hits from the late 1960s through the mid 1980s. In many of the cases, the stations are merely oldies stations that evolved into a more up-tempo sound with more newer songs, and the term is now considered a more appealing name than "oldies" to listeners and advertisers alike.

Variations of the core playlist vary greatly and include playlists composed of only pop-leaning classic rock. Others, while indeed leaning rock, also feature some soul
Soul music
Soul music is a music genre originating in the United States combining elements of gospel music and rhythm and blues. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of...

, and Motown music as well. Most "classic hits" stations are heavy on music from the 1970s, with a moderate amount of music from the 1960s, and a decent amount of hits from the 1980s.

Until the past few years, most classic hits stations have either leaned towards pop hits of the 60s through the 80s or were actually classic rock stations without a lot of hard rock. Classic hits stations typically do not play pre-1964 music, except for a few especially popular or enduring songs such as early Beach Boys hits. In most cases, more pop-leaning classic hits stations evolved quietly and gradually from being traditional oldies outlets.

Notable classic hits stations include WCBS-FM
WCBS-FM is a CBS-owned radio station in New York City. The station's studios are in the combined CBS Radio facility at 345 Hudson Street in Manhattan, and its transmitter is located on the Empire State Building....

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

WOGL is an FM radio station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.The station plays mostly post 1964 pop leaning Oldies positioned Classic Hits music, including Motown, soul and rock and roll spanning roughly 1964–1985. An occasional pre-1964 song is played. WOGL is owned by CBS Radio...

 in Philadelphia; KLUV in Dallas, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

- External links :****...

 in Boston, Massachusetts; WOCL
WOCL is a radio station broadcasting in Orlando, Florida. The station airs a Classic hits format, focusing on music from 1964-1989 with the core being the 1970s. It is similar to the format used by sister station WCBS-FM in New York...

 (Sunny 105.9) in Orlando, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Orlando is a city in the central region of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Orange County, and the center of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. According to the 2010 US Census, the city had a population of 238,300, making Orlando the 79th largest city in the United States...

 and KOMA-FM
KOMA is a Classic Hits format radio station located in Oklahoma City. It is among a cluster of stations in the market owned by Pennsylvania-based Renda Broadcasting.-92.5 history:...

 in Oklahoma City
Oklahoma city
Oklahoma City is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma.Oklahoma City may also refer to:*Oklahoma City metropolitan area*Downtown Oklahoma City*Uptown Oklahoma City*Oklahoma City bombing*Oklahoma City National Memorial...


In Canada

The format has begun to make its appearance on a growing number of Canadian radio stations. One Canadian broadcasting company, Newcap Broadcasting
Newcap Broadcasting
Newfoundland Capital Corporation Limited is a major Canadian broadcasting company, majority-owned by Harold R. Steele. Newfoundland Capital is the parent company of Newcap Inc. . It is currently the number two private-sector radio broadcaster in Canada, just behind Astral Media...

, has adopted this format on a number of its stations. Two examples, such as CFXL-FM
CKUV-FM is a radio station broadcasting a classic hits format. Licensed to High River, Alberta, it serves the Foothills region of Alberta. It first began broadcasting in 2003. The station is currently owned by Golden West Broadcasting.The station held the call sign CFXL-FM until June 2008, when it...

 in Calgary
Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

 and CKRA-FM
CKRA-FM is a radio station licensed to and serving Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, broadcasting at 96.3 FM. The station is owned by Newcap Broadcasting, and launched a classic hits format as "96.3 Capital FM" on March 28, 2008...

 in Edmonton
Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

, first began airing the new classic hits format.

There are other classic hits stations in Canada, such as CJOT-FM 99.7 in Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

, a French language
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 one on CFOM-FM
CFOM-FM is a French-language Canadian radio station located in Quebec City, Quebec. While the station's official city of license is and always has been Lévis, its studios are now in Quebec City, and it identifies itself as a Quebec City station....

 102.9 in Quebec City
Quebec City
Quebec , also Québec, Quebec City or Québec City is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec and is located within the Capitale-Nationale region. It is the second most populous city in Quebec after Montreal, which is about to the southwest...

CING-FM is a Canadian radio station, which broadcasts at 95.3 FM in Hamilton, Ontario. The station airs a classic hits format branded as Vinyl 95.3.CING was launched in 1976 by Burlington Broadcasting, at 107.9 FM in Burlington, Ontario...

 95.3 in Hamilton
Hamilton, Ontario
Hamilton is a port city in the Canadian province of Ontario. Conceived by George Hamilton when he purchased the Durand farm shortly after the War of 1812, Hamilton has become the centre of a densely populated and industrialized region at the west end of Lake Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe...

, Hamilton's web radio station Classic Hits Online and many others.

External links