WZOK-FM 97.5 Rockford IL Steve Summers 1983

Rockford, Illinois was nearly 300 miles straight line from my location in Apple Valley, Minnesota.  Needless to say, 97FM WZOK was a rare catch.  I was able to hear it just one time.  Two factors combined on an early Sunday morning to make it possible: First, we were experiencing an ice storm.  This caused FM reception to be enhanced somewhat, due to atmospheric conditions.  Second, KNXR-FM 97.5 in Rochester, MN was off the air.  Since Rochester was directly in my path towards Rockford, there was normally no chance for me to hear WZOK.  Fortunately, this was during the Sunday pre-dawn hours.  KNXR signed off each week during this time for transmitter maintenance.  Lucky me!  Of course, I knew better than to be turning my antenna during these conditions.  The rotor could easily ice up and strip the gears.  Regardless, this was an opportunity too good for a true radio geek to resist!

Steve Summers does several breaks during his weekend overnight shift.  Pretty basic stuff, which is what you want during this daypart when people are coming home from parties and bars.  Speaking of bars, this aircheck includes a commercial for City Limits in Beloit.  Since Rockford is much larger than Beloit, as well as being a half hour away, why would a Beloit bar advertise on a Rockford radio station?  The reason is because at the time, the legal drinking age was 21 in Illinois and 18 in Wisconsin.  On the weekends, literally thousands of 18-20 year olds from the Rockford and Chicago areas would come streaming across the border in search of legal booze.  With a name like “City Limits”, I would guess these patrons were the bar’s primary clientele!

Reception was made with a Pioneer SX-3900 receiver, Winegard 10 element FM yagi antenna, Alliance rotor, and Belden RG59 low loss coaxial cable.  The recording was made using a Technics stereo cassette deck and TDK SA90 tape.