Author Archives: Jeffrey T. Mason

“IS HE STILL ON THE AIR?” “YEP!”

Since we last chatted, much has happened. I took some time off to relax after 104.3 K-Hits went bye-bye. Then I joined Big 95.5 for a couple weekend shows. You know…to ease my way back into things. I’m starting to think maybe I’m a curse because that station went off the air Labor Day weekend of 2020. Soooooo what’s the deal now? I get that question all the time since I’m no longer on the air in Chicago.

Here’s the deal: I am still working for iHeartRadio (owners of the former Big 95.5). Why do I “heart” them? Because they pay me!!! And they feel strongly enough about my show to air it on almost 50 stations nationwide. That’s a pretty nice vote of confidence.

I hope you’ve downloaded the iHeartRadio app. Nobody seems to own a radio anymore! Everyone listens online. And it just so happens that’s the easiest way to hear my shows. Yes, “shows” plural. I currently do five every weekday. Those five then get sent to dozens of stations as mentioned above. Sure, you can listen to each of those stations individually, but I’m not going to list them all here. Who has the time? If you want to know where I am on-air across America, shoot me a message and I’ll be happy to share that info with you.

It’s much easier to check out the five different formats where I can be heard weeknights from 7p-12a Eastern! Save these and listen often 🙂

BIG CLASSIC HITS (70s, 80s, 90s)
COOL OLDIES (70s & 80s)
REAL OLDIES (60s & 70s)
LITE ROCK (70s through today)
SOFT ROCK (80s through today)

I also just relocated from the South Loop to the <gasp> BURBS! As much as I love the city, this move just made sense. I get over twice the space for half the price. And since I now work from home, it doesn’t matter where I am! Though, as I’ve told you before, it will continue to be right here in Chicagoland. Can’t get rid of me that easily! Once I have the new studio fully decorated, maybe I’ll post a video. Is that a promise or a threat?

Thank you – as always – for listening. I’m forever grateful.

“It was twenty years ago today…”

One of the most exciting days of my career was Monday, December 14, 1998. Just two days prior, I loaded up my car with a few weeks’ worth of clothes and put Pittsburgh in my rearview. I was driving to my brand new job in Chicago! I’ll never forget the very first time I was behind the wheel on the Dan Ryan, watching the skyline of my soon-to-be favorite city rapidly approach. I still get those tingles when I see it today.

A month earlier, a brand new radio station signed-on called 92.7 Kiss-FM. This was the first true top 40 station here in the seven years since Hot 94.7 signed-off. (B96 may have called themselves “top 40” through the 1990’s, but it always favored dance/rhythmic music, ignoring most rock-leaning songs). Kiss-FM was going to do it right. Our slogan was “All The Hits, One Station.” How true that was. Finally, you didn’t have to listen to three different stations to hear them!

The big promotional kickoff for Kiss-FM was “10,000 songs, then $10,000!” The station would be commercial-free until that 10,000th song played. At that point, they would open the phones and give $10,000 to the 92nd caller. Nobody was sure exactly how long it would take to play those 10,000 songs. So, the brand new airstaff was hired and brought to town a few days early:

George McFly (mornings)
Harry Legg (middays)
Chris Shebel (early afternoons)
Shark (late afternoons)
Jeffrey T. Mason (evenings)

***George wasn’t here for the launch, but would arrive soon after. We brought Luis “2-Live” Lopez on for overnights a month or so later. Bill LaTour eventually replaced Chris Shebel on air when Chris focused exclusively on his role as program director. And last, but not least, Melissa Forman made her Chicago radio debut as George’s morning co-host about 5 months into the format.***

While waiting for that 10,000th song, I was listening at an Extended Stay America in Des Plaines. (At this point, the Kiss-FM studios were still in Arlington Heights with an impending move downtown soon.) Eventually, it became pretty clear everything would culminate on Monday. We just weren’t sure what time. Whoever was scheduled to be on the air at that point would be the very first DJ heard on Kiss-FM. That turned out to be me 🙂

I can’t wrap my head around the fact that it’s been TWENTY years since this adrenaline rush began! While I’ve made so many friends throughout my career, I’ve never worked with a finer group of people than at 92.7 Kiss-FM…and eventually our sister station, The 80s Channel 103.1 WXXY.

Chris Shebel put together a video for our 1999 company Christmas party. It shows the good, the bad, and the ugly from our first year on the air. I’ll let YOU decide which is which.

Enjoy! And thank you so very much for being part of this story…just on the opposite side of the speakers.