Prior to the Spring of 1996, KBZR was one of the many frequencies statewide that was carrying “The Blaze”. The Blaze was a bizarre Alternative/AOR/CHR hybrid format. In either March or April 1996, KBZR broke off from the other frequencies and began airing old school music i.e., Hispanic-oriented Gold selections from the R&B, Hip-Hop, Rap, Freestyle, and Disco genres. As it turns out, the music selected and the audience it targeted were both premonitions to the eventual format and target audience.
There were no jocks, but an interesting stunt that is best described as a radio version of the “Where’s Waldo” book series. Promos and sweepers (voiced by station owner Jerry Clifton) claimed that the station was looking for “Steve” as they were moving in from the desert. To make a very long story short, the meaning of Steve was revealed in October, shortly before the sign-on of the new format. Steve was actually an acronym “S-T-E-V-E” which stood for Songs That Everyone Vociferously Enjoys.
The moving in from the desert phrase referred to the station waiting to upgrade its signal. After 6 months, when it became clear that the upgrade wasn’t going to happen anytime soon, the station made its debut. On October 30th at 3:30 pm, following several hours of stunting with “Party! Party! Party”, KBZR signed on with a Hispanic-targeted Rhythmic CHR format as “The New 103.9, Arizona’s Party Station”. They made it clear from the very beginning that they wanted to go after the safe Rhythmic CHR in town, KKFR (Power 92).