How Fun 107 Helped Craft a Rihanna Hit
One of the things that makes Fun 107 a special radio station is our willingness to take chances of certain types of songs, particularly songs that have a dance or rhythmic feel to them.
One such song, which came across our desks 17 years ago, was one of the strangest songs we've ever heard. It was Romanian, but it really had a hot sound (for the time). It reminded us of some of the other dance hits that had worked out for us, like ATC's "Around the World" (which was recently sampled for Ava Max's latest hit) and "As the Rush Comes" by Motorcycle. We took a leap of faith and started playing O-Zone "Mai Ai Hee."
It really stuck out on our playlist (in a good way), and ended up becoming a signature Fun 107 song for the era. You'll still catch Christine Fox playing it once in a while on the Back in the Day Café.
Did you know, however, that if Fun 107 never played that song, one of Rihanna's No. 1 hits may never have happened?
That summer, in 2004, one of the radio industry's top programmers was driving to catch a ferry for a family vacation on Martha's Vineyard. To put it into perspective, this programmer was the boss for names like Rick Dees and Ryan Seacrest, and at the time, he was running the biggest, most popular radio station in Los Angeles.
Legend has it, he popped on Fun 107 in the car and heard us playing "Mai Ai Hee." He thought it sounded incredible on the air. When he got back to Los Angeles, he decided to put it on the air there. Guess what? We discovered that not only did the song work on the SouthCoast, it also worked in L.A.
It worked so well that he ended up recommending the song to the hundred or so other radio stations he oversaw across the country. "Mai Ai Hee" became a big hit that summer.
So how does Rihanna enter the story? Four years later, T.I. sampled "Mai Ai Hee" in his song with Rihanna, becoming T.I.'s third No. 1 hit and Rihanna's fifth No. 1.