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Rhythmic AC

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Rhythmic AC

Rhythmic adult contemporary is the name of a popular format used on radio stations in the United States and Canada. It is aimed at the demographic aged 25 to 54. Stations using this format play disco from the 1970s and early 1980s, dance/pop music, adult-friendly hip hop/old school tracks, R&B, dance/freestyle of the 1980s and house music of the late 80s/early 1990s. Like many adult contemporary radio stations, rhythmic AC stations normally do not play rap. These stations often compete with rhythmic top 40 stations as well as other adult contemporary stations.

Format History

The first station to try this approach was WHBT/Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which lasted from 1987 to 1988, although it was more Hot AC in nature. But eight years later in 1996, another Milwaukee outlet, WAMG "Magic 103.7", would be the first to pioneer the "Official" rhythmic AC format, calling itself "Rhythm & Romance" which featured Mid-tempo Rhythmic R&B/Pop tracks. At the same time other stations, like WDRQ/Detroit and KIBB/Los Angeles, took it a bit further by adopting a "Rhythmic Hot AC" approach with Dance Pop tracks added to the mix. In 1999, CFGL-FM in Montreal, Quebec, Canada made its debut in the format by using the "Rythme FM" name. However, the Rythme FM network is now adult contemporary. Recently, there has been a trend of several stations in the United States switching to the rhythmic AC format using the brand Movin. However, Clear Channel Communications seems to have benefitted the most from this format, thanks to using one of its outlets, WKTU/New York City, as its basis for several of its stations.

Rhythmic AC stations also play "Classic Dance Flashbacks" of dance music ten years or older. Some radio stations usually play soft dance music on weeknights. News and weather announcements play a major part in this format unlike their younger counterparts. Also, many radio stations using this format often play a great deal of disco heavily on weekend nights.

During the mid-2000s, when the format started to gain popularity, many hot adult contemporary stations in Canada started to follow a Rhythmic AC approach, but still remain Hot AC because of pop-rock content still being played. This was first pioneered by CHUM-FM in Toronto, who had a significant ratings success after starting to lean rhythmic.

As of 2010, several Rhythmic AC outlets have shifted to a conventional Rhythmic Contemporary direction (KQMV, WDTW, WKTU, KPLV), while others have tweaked their approach by incorporating the music into either Top 40/CHR (KMVQ, KTFM) or Adult Top 40 (WISX), in part due to declining ratings and trying to adapt currents into this niche genre.

List of recording artists whose records are played on rhythmic AC radio stations

List of radio stations using this format

United States


Internet stations

  • Hot 102 (Online station patterned after WLUM's "Hot 102" Rhythmic format from 1979 to 1994, mixed in with currents) - Milwaukee
  • PWL Radio - London, England (currently inactive)
  • - Columbus, OH

Former stations that used this format

See also - related formats

External links

  • An Early Peek at Rhythmic AC (October 2006) from Coleman Insights
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