Killing The Fox: a strange tale of flipping formats

From 1984 to 1992, 99.5 on your FM Dial in Detroit would play your favorite Top 40 hits: 99.5 The Fox Detroit. The logo showed a fox in sunglasses playing a keytar.

The Fox Detroit 99.5 FM
The Fox Detroit 99.5 FM
KILLING THE FOX

All that would change on Xmas Eve 1992 where listeners of The Fox (WDFX) would hear Cowboy Hugh Chardon (heh heh) taking calls from “listeners” with their suggestions on killing the Fox. This pre-recorded show lasted from the morning all the way to midnight with no commercials. For breaks, Hugh Chardon would play the big Garth Brooks hit “Friends in Low Places.” The DJ who provided the voice to Cowboy Hugh Chardon was Dr. Don Carpenter who has been in the Detroit radio world for decades.

Just a little after midnight, Cowboy Hugh Chardon put an end to his Kill The Fox marathon and told the listeners that the program director had something to say. The male program director had made a statement about a change in the station and a countdown will start. After the PM was done, the listeners would hear a robotic voice saying the number 63,752. From Xmas Day until December 28, all one would hear is a computer voice counting down.

WOW-FM

Once the countdown was over, a continuous 6-hour loop of “Goofy Loops” played all the way until Monday on January 3rd, 1993. The death of the Fox brought in Wow-FM, a FM talk station. One of the talk show hosts was conservative Ed Tyll. Dr. Don Carpenter, the man who played Cowboy Hugh Chardon, also hosted a show on Wow-FM.

99.5’s walk into talk radio went on for a short few months and once again, the station flipped formats to country, whereas of February 2017, the station continues to play your favorite country hits. The flip from Talk to County was not a slow and dramatic flip, it happened with little announcement.

99.5, now under the call letters WYCD, still has Dr. Don Carpenter on the payroll. He had been a DJ for the station until 2015. Details on his exit (as a DJ at least) here. FM Talk Radio would return to Detroit in 1999 after 97.1 WKRK left the hard rock format for Talk. Ed Tyll came back to Detroit to host a show on WKRK for a while. Another notable show on WKRK was Deminski & Doyle (from 99-07, now in New Jersey) and Parker and The Man.

97.1 Detroit would later be part of CBS’s Free FM and get broadcasting contracts with four major Detroit sports franchises, Tigers, Red Wings, Lions & Pistons. In October 2007, 97.1 flipped to Sports Talk and got rid of the Free FM name altogether. Most Detroit sports games are still broadcasted on 97.1 as of February 2017.

Another interesting format flip was the end of K-Rock in New York. Opie and Anthony did their last FM show on March 9, 2009.

YOU GOT IT?

Sadly, when it comes to having the actual broadcast of the Killing The Fox, as or this post, it is currently not found on YouTube. Somebody had uploaded the final moment of Cowboy Hugh Chardon’s show, the PM’s statement and the beginning of the countdown, but as of now, it’s not on there. Damn…

If anyone knows of a online source or re-uploads this broadcast on YouTube on Vimeo, please let me know. Hit me up on Twitter or comment below.

Here’s a clip of The Fox in 1990 promoting a upcoming Milli Vanilli concert:

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