Hot 97's coverage area is strongest in the five boroughs where the population is still favorable for a Hip Hop station or dare I even say a Dance leaning CHR type of station.
Take four FMs... WCBS-FM, WPLJ, WHTZ and WQHT. They have identical coverage areas. Yet one of them, WPLJ, focuses on the suburbs and another more on the City and Boroughs and close-in suburbs.
In fact, give a mile or two, all the full B's licensed to be on the ESB cover identically (WPAT is on a special exception). So the decision to program one format or another on any of them is based on the market, not the signal.