This is the 16th station history post and this next one takes a look at 98.7, which once was home to a country music format when they first signed on.
On September 15, 1989, 98.7 would sign on the air as WXVO-FM, a country music station, licensed to Oliver Springs. For the next 8 years, WXVO would air a satellite country music format until November 30, 1997 when the 98.7 signal got upgraded. That same day, WXVO changed formats from country to active rock as “98.7 The X”.
The station aired an active rock format that had DJs every day and night. The active rock format and “98.7 The X” name would last until 4/13/1999 when they became a smooth jazz station as “Smooth Jazz WSMJ 98.7” with WSMJ as the new call letters. Ironically, smooth jazz was heard on WTNN-AM 670 (now WMTY-AM 670) back in 1990.
The smooth jazz format on WSMJ lasted almost 3 years when they changed formats from smooth jazz to rhythmic CHR as “Wild 98.7”. The call letters would be changed from WSMJ to WYIL. The rhythmic CHR format on 98.7 would last 3 years when due to the success of WKHT-FM 104.5’s rhythmic CHR format known as “Hot 104.5”, WYIL changed formats from rhythmic CHR to AAA as “98.7 The River”.
The AAA format on 98.7 was hears for almost a year when WOKI-FM 98.7 changed formats to variety hits as “98.7 Earl FM”. Ironically, the variety hits format was also being heard on WQJK-FM 95.7 and WRJK-FM 106.7.