As news broke yesterday of Michael Jackson's passing, radio reinforced its power to serve as a community forum.

In New York City, several stations have since aired Jackson's myriad hits in tribute.

Emmis adult R&B WRKS began playing Jackson's biggest hits and deeper album cuts beginning at 6 p.m. ET last night and has continued its specialty programming into this morning.

Clear Channel rhythmic WKTU-FM's air talent Jagger fielded numerous calls last night from listeners seeking a platform to share their sadness, honor the King of Pop and celebrate the impact of his music. The station aired Jackson's music non-stop starting just before 6 p.m. and is still playing only his catalog today.

According to Nielsen BDS, which electronically monitors radio stations in more than 140 U.S. markets and whose data powers several of Billboard's charts, including the Billboard Hot 100, here is a sample hour (7 p.m. ET) from WKTU's tribute:

"Thriller"
"Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' "
"Beat It"
"Human Nature"
"Beat It"
"Smooth Criminal"
"Billie Jean"
"I Want You Back"
"The Way You Make Me Feel"
"Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' "
"Remember the Time"
"Rock With You"
"Bad"
"ABC"

Also in New York, CBS oldies WCBS-FM aired Jackson's music from 9 p.m. to midnight. Mixed in were Rockwell's 1984 hit "Somebody's Watching Me," featuring background vocals from Jackson, and "We Are the World," the multi-artist 1985 Hot 100 No. 1 smash that Jackson co-wrote with Lionel Richie.

Additional New York radio stations programming sweeps of Jackson's music since last night include CBS mainstream top 40 WXRK; Citadel adult top 40 WPLJ; Clear Channel adult contemporary WLTW, mainstream R&B/hip-hop WWPR and mainstream top 40 WHTZ; Emmis rhythmic WQHT; and Inner City adult R&B WBLS.

Signals in other major markets have also filled their airwaves with Jackson's work, including those in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Boston.

The music of Jackson, born in Gary, Ind., has received heavy airplay in the last 24 hours in his native state. Radio One mainstream R&B/hip-hop WHHH Indianapolis is among the stations spotlighting Jackson's hits since yesterday.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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