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Unwrapping The New Soft AC Launches

Mix 96 96.1 The Breeze WMSX BuffaloIn the three days after Christmas, there were at least seven new Soft AC stations launched.

Two of them were in the same market, the final confirmation (if any were needed) that we’re experiencing a format boom. In Chicago, WLIT, which had reclaimed its Lite-FM moniker a year earlier, kept its name but moved to a softer mix, testing the proposition that WRME-LP (Me-TV-FM) would be vulnerable to a full-signal, less eclectic competitor.

At least three were stations that had previously been either Soft AC or typically conservative mainstream AC, before the evolution of the format dragged them somewhere else, usually to the edge of Hot AC. WGVX (Love 105) Minneapolis had done an earlier version of Soft AC more than a decade ago.

Most were built on the template familiar to anybody who’s been following Soft AC for even the last three months—stations called the Breeze (including those two in the same market) playing “relaxing favorites at work.” While the overall mission of the format has been “older and softer, but not too old and soft,” some stations are delving further into the soft pop ‘70s than others.

In November, we took a look at the fast-growing format with monitors of the format across the country on the same day, at the same hour. Here’s what four of the new launches sounded like at 1 p.m. local time, Dec. 28, starting with the very first of the post-holiday Soft AC launches. (All the stations were personally monitored; this particular hour of WJYE is as seen on Mediabase.)

WJYE (96.1 The Breeze) Buffalo, N.Y.

  • Andy Gibb, “Shadow Dancing”
  • Sheena Easton, “Morning Train (9 to 5)”
  • James Taylor, “You’ve Got A Friend”
  • Toni Braxton, “Another Sad Love Song”
  • Four Tops, “Ain’t No Woman (Like The One I Got)”
  • Bangles, “Eternal Flame”
  • Charlie Puth, “See You Again”
  • REO Speedwagon, “Can’t Fight This Feeling”
  • John Lennon, “Imagine”
  • Dido, “Thank You”
  • Peabo Bryson, “If Ever You’re In My Arms Again”
  • Christina Aguilera, “Beautiful”
  • OMD, “If You Leave”
  • Marvin Gaye, “Let’s Get It On”
  • Police, “Every Breath You Take”
  • Boyz II Men, “I’ll Make Love To You”

WLIT (93.9 Lite FM) Chicago

  • Elton John, “Tiny Dancer”
  • Jack Wagner, “All I Need”
  • Manhattans, “Shining Star”
  • U2, “With Or Without You”
  • Carly Simon, “You’re So Vain”
  • Chicago, “Hard To Say I’m Sorry”
  • Sarah McLachlan, “I Will Remember You”
  • Pat Benatar, “We Belong”
  • Madonna, “True Blue”
  • Uncle Kracker f/Dobie Gray, “Drift Away”
  • Beatles, “Yesterday”
  • Berlin, “Take My Breath Away”
  • Loggins & Messina, “Danny’s Song”

WGVX (Love 105) Minneapolis

  • Johnny Rivers, “Swayin’ to the Music (Slow Dancin’)”
  • Smokey Robinson, “Cruisin’”
  • Carpenters, “Yesterday Once More”
  • Dionne Warwicke & Spinners, “Then Came You”
  • Nicolette Larson, “Lotta Love”
  • Cyndi Lauper, “True Colors”
  • Mac Davis, “Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me”
  • Barbra Streisand, “Love Theme From ‘A Star Is Born’ (Evergreen)”
  • Belinda Carlisle, “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”
  • Dave Loggins, “Please Come To Boston”
  • Berlin, “Take My Breath Away”
  • Roberta Flack, “Killing Me Softly With His Song”
  • Genesis, “Throwing It All Away”

CKRA (96.3 The Breeze) Edmonton, Alberta

  • John Waite, “Missing You”
  • Avril Lavigne, “I’m With You” (Canadian)
  • Michael Jackson, “Rock With You”
  • Extreme, “More Than Words”
  • Jitters, “Last of the Red Hot Fools” (Canadian)—Late ‘80s Canadian hit with a Huey Lewis feel
  • 10cc, “I’m Not In Love”
  • Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now”
  • Bill Withers, “Lean On Me”
  • Rod Stewart, “Rhythm of My Heart” (Canadian)
  • Paul Young, “Everytime You Go Away”
  • Luba, “Storm Before The Calm” (Canadian)
  • Tina Turner, “What’s Love Got To Do With It”
  • Michael Bublé, “Everything” (Canadian)
  • Commodores, “Easy”
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  1. John Gallagher says

    The playlist for Love 105 almost seems like modern day Music Of Your Life. What’s their demo?

  2. Steve Varholy says

    Or Westwood One Format 41 circa 1989/1990.

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