|City of license||Santa Monica, California|
|First air date||1947|
|Power||50,000 watts night
50,000 watts day
|Former callsigns||KOWL (1947-1956)
|Owner||Multicultural Broadcasting LLC|
KBLA (1580 AM) is a radio station licensed in Santa Monica, California, with a Spanish religious radio format. It broadcasts at 1580 kHz with 50,000 watts day and night. Most of this station's signal is dumped over the Pacific Ocean to avoid interference with KMIK (Ex. KNIX) 1580 in Phoenix Arizona, which also operates with 50,000 watts D/N as authorized by the FCC. Consequently, the station is heard on a regular basis in Hawaii, via AM nighttime skip. Neither KBLA nor KMIK is considered a clear-channel station because they are classified as Class B using directional antennas.
Originally, the facility was daytime-only with the call letters KDAY, first playing pop music, and then, in 1963, switching to a soul/R&B format. In the late '60's, the station received approval from the FCC to operate at night. The studio and transmitter site were moved to a new facility on North Alvarado St. north of downtown L.A. At this time, it switched to a Top 40 format, then around 1972 went to an album rock format, designed by Bob Wilson, who would later launch the media magazine Radio & Records. However, in 1974 KDAY returned to its soul roots, and became a highly successful AM R&B radio station during the mid-to-late 70s, as "15–80 K-DAY."
In the 1970s, the original KDAY was the first radio station in Los Angeles area to play continuous hip-hop music. As acts such as Run-DMC, Grandmaster Flash, and the Beastie Boys became popular in the US, KDAY brought their sounds to a new audience on the West Coast. In the early 1990s, it was the first station to play N.W.A.
By the mid-1990s, KDAY could no longer keep up with the FM stations that had co-opted the sound, so it became all-business KBLA. During this time, it was also the flagship station of the Los Angeles Clippers pro basketball team.
About 1997, KBLA ended that format and beginning selling air time to broadcasters of different ethnic backgrounds.
On March 31, 2004, KBLA became the original West Coast affiliate of Air America Radio, airing talk shows hosted by Al Franken, Randi Rhodes, and Janeane Garofalo among others. On April 14, the shows were no longer available due to a payment dispute between Air America and KBLA's owner, Multicultural Broadcasting. Air America shows would not return to the L.A. area until February 1, 2005 on KTLK AM 1150.
- FCC History Cards for KBLA
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KBLA
- Radio-Locator Information on KBLA
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KBLA