Let's talk about the new 104.3 JAMS

Friday was a sort of Earth shattering day in the Chicago FM radio community. While I was shuttling my kids around after school, I turned to what I thought was 104.3 K-Hits only to discover 104.3 K-Hits was now 104.3 JAMS. Sure enough, on Friday Entercom closed on its purchase of stations from CBS Radio and just like that, K-Hits was no more. Instead, we have 104.3 JAMS.

Yes, you guessed it, a format change.

At first, I’ll be honest, I was really pissed. I usually listen to classic rock. 97.1 The Drive and 97.7 The Loop are constants that help get me through my day. I’ll admit, I’ve even been dialing in for that silly A to Z game The Drive has been running. But the problem with the classic rock channels is they stick very close to the format. That means pop and Top 40 from back in the day largely get ignored so K-Hits was a very necessary part of my radio repertoire here. But now they are taking away my Madonna, my Whitney. Huey Lewis, where are you? No more Turntable Tuesday, Beatles Wednesday or Throwback Thursday.

But I was a bit puzzled about going to the hip hop format because we already have V103 which I also tune into to satisfy a Lauryn Hill or Anita Baker craving, or a deep album cut from the King of Pop himself.

According to the press release, the new station aims to “capture the essence of Chicago from when The Bulls won six NBA championships, to when locals like Oprah and Barack Obama became homegrown heroes”. This caught my attention. I’m all about living in the past. This is the chic who dressed up as Pat Benatar for her kids’ school 80s party.

So I thought I would give it a chance and I’m happy to say I’m glad I did. The first song I heard was Lauryn Hill’s “Doo-Wop (That Thing)”. Yes! I still carry “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” in my car. Next up, “Candy Rain” from Soul For Real. Remember that one? I do. Then one maybe you should forget but don’t, “Country Grammar”. Holy 2000 flashback here. You couldn’t get away from Nelly then but I have to say looking back now that Donald Trump line is a bit chilling now. Speaking of 2000, I also just heard “The Real Slim Shady” so whoever is in charge of the playlist could you please stand up…and be applauded. This is great!

It might not be my beloved 80s, but I’m down for going back to the 90s.  The day I left for college Boyz II Men held the number one spot on the Billboard Top 100 and never relinquished it that entire fall. After Lauryn, Mary J. Blige will get me up dancing every time. I also have an affinity for the now seemingly cheesy dance music that could only thrive in the early to mid 90s. Think “Show Me Love”, “Rhythm of the Night”, “Scatman”. The more Eurotrash the better. But no Ace of Base. I have to have standards after all.  I do hope some of that makes an appearance on JAMS alongside Snoop Dogg and Nelly.

Now 104.3 JAMS does play a fair amount of post 2000 new millennium crap, think Kanye West or 50 Cent here. I can’t really stand that stuff and when that comes along, I’ll move right along back to The Drive or V103. But there is certainly more than enough 90s to keep me hanging around JAMS-land.

While I have been having fun jamming out to 104.3 JAMS, I have to wonder, will this station overcrowd the hip hop, R&B niche here in Chicago that V103 has already established? How long will JAMS be around before the station switches hands and formats once again? I suppose only time will tell. Wait, that’s Asia, a classic rock song…


As you can tell by this post, I have a thing for Whitney Houston. Here is the last post I wrote which gathered my thoughts on the recent Whitney documentary.

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Tags: classic rock

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