KCHZ (95.7 FM), known as "95.7 The Vibe", is a Top 40 (CHR) radio station serving the Kansas City metropolitan area with its city of license being Ottawa, Kansas. The Cumulus Media, Inc. outlet operates at 95.7 MHz with an ERP of 96 kW. Its transmitter is located near Linwood, Kansas, and studios are in Mission, Kansas.
KCHZ first began broadcasting as KOFO-FM, an FM simulcast for sister station KOFO, in 1962. In 1978, the station flipped to a mix of Top 40 and AOR as "96X", with the call letters KKKX. In 1986, the station flipped to easy listening/adult contemporary, branded as "96 HUM" with the KHUM call letters. The station relocated its transmitter from its original home near Ottawa to its current site near Linwood, upgraded its power to 100,000 watts, and relocated its studios, first to Lawrence, then to Topeka. In 1991, the station went silent. In 1993, the station signed back on as adult contemporary KZTO, branded as "Z96." In January 1994, the station went silent again.
95.7 signed back on under the control of Radio 2000, Inc. on January 21, 1997, as KCHZ, "Channel Z95.7", a Modern AC outlet, after stunting with all-80's music and a heartbeat sound effect for about a week. By January 1998, it shifted to Top 40/CHR, then to Rhythmic CHR by 1999.
The station was sold to Syncom Radio in 1999, and Syncom continued to adjust the station's image. KCHZ shifted back to Top 40/CHR in 2000, then back to Rhythmic CHR by 2002, then back to a Mainstream Top 40/CHR by late 2003, when Cumulus Broadcasting bought the station.
By November of 2005, after years of confusing listeners over what direction the station was taking, it was decided that 95.7 needed a complete overhaul, and KCHZ began stunting with all-Christmas music at Noon on November 1, 2005, as "Jingle 95.7". The station jumped the gun a week before KUDL or KCKC would even start broadcasting Christmas music. However, by the next day, the station shifted its stunting to a loop of "Swans Splashdown" by Jean-Jacques Perrey. At 5 PM on November 3, KCHZ shifted to Rhythmic CHR for a 3rd time as "95.7 The Vibe, The Rhythm Of Kansas City", with The Black Eyed Peas' "My Humps" being the first song played. During its tenure as a Rhythmic station, KCHZ aired a few specialty shows, including "The Weekend Top 30 Countdown" with Hollywood Hamilton, as well as "Sunday Night Slow Jams" with R.Dub.
On January 27, 2009, KCHZ shifted the format to feature more top 40 hits and dropped the majority of its old school and hip hop hits, but still maintained its Rhythmic format somewhat. KCHZ continued to report to R&R/Nielsen BDS Rhythmic Airplay panel. This kind of direction has also sparked debate from radio message boards about stations that decided to add certain Pop and Dance tracks but stay within the Rhythmic realm.
By that October, KCHZ fully shifted back to Top 40, competing with KMXV, making the shift to a pop format complete. This is part of Cumulus' plan to launch Mainstream Top 40 stations in major markets across the country. With the change, morning hosts "Shorty & the Boyz", who hosted in mornings since 2005, were let go. KCHZ currently competes with KMXV, KPRS, KKSW, and, to a lesser extent, KZPT and KKJO.