|City of license||Los Angeles, California|
|Broadcast area||Greater Los Angeles Area|
|Slogan||"LA's Original Old School Station"|
|Frequency||92.3 (MHz) (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1952|
KHHT-HD2: Urban AC
|Callsign meaning||K H HOT 92.3|
|Former frequencies||100.3 (MHz) (1950s-2000)|
|Sister stations||KBIG, KFI, KIIS, KLAC, KOST, KEIB, KYSR|
|Webcast||Listen Live (via iHeartRadio)|
KHHT (92.3 FM "Hot 92.3") is a radio station licensed to Los Angeles, California, with a Rhythmic Oldies musical format. It is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc. (formerly Clear Channel Communications until September 2014). Its studios are located in Burbank between the Warner Bros. Studios and The Burbank Studios, and it has a transmitter site on Mount Wilson with most other television and radio stations serving Los Angeles.
92.3 FM signed on in 1952 as KFAC a commercial classical music radio station in Los Angeles, broadcasting for most of its life on 1330 AM, and subsequently in both simulcast and separate programming on 92.3 FM as well. According to a quote from a 1989 New York Times article, "only 41 of nearly 9,000 commercial radio stations in the United States play classical music, and KFAC was considered one of the best".
For more, see KFAC (defunct).
KKBT 92.3 The Beat
On September 20, 1989, Evergreen Media would purchase KFAC. At 2 PM, after a simulcast with KUSC and a farewell luncheon outside the KFAC studios, the station began stunting with a heartbeat sound effect and brief clips of music. The following day at Noon, the station flipped to KKBT, "The New Beat FM 92". The first song under the new format was "Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed. Initially, the station offered a blend of adult rock, dance music, and adult contemporary, with the slogan "Rock with a Beat". The format failed miserably, and by March 1990, the adult rock cuts were gone, and the station was renamed "92.3 The Beat". The station then moved toward a rhythmic AC format playing a blend of disco, soft pop hits, current R&B and oldies. The station still did not do well, and by the summer of that year, it evolved to a strictly urban AC format. By 1991, rap and hip-hop were being mixed in, and the station evolved to an Urban Contemporary format.
As an urban contemporary station, KKBT hit #1 a few times in the ratings. It competed aggressively with a Hip Hop station on the 105.9 frequency, KPWR (which evolved from dance/urban CHR). During the time the station featured many popular DJs, from KPWR, KMEL, and KDAY, like John London and The House Party, a popular morning show which competed with other top local shows such as Mark and Brian on KLOS and Rick Dees on KIIS-FM, DJ Theodore "Theo" Mizuhara, Eric Cubiche, Nautica De La Cruz, alongside with NWA's founder Dr. Dre and the World Class Wreckin' Crew, and Kevin Nash. Other shows included Westside Radio, a weekly radio program dedicated to West Coast Hip-Hop (now airing on KDAY), and Street Soldiers, a weekly program dedicated to community issues and politics. The station went by the slogan "No Color Lines", proudly championing the diversity of the region. It is believed that KKBT was inspired by both KMEL and KDAY. During the 1990s, the station held a summer concert known as "Summer Jam", which featured major Hip-hop and R&B stars who performed at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre. In February 1996, sister station WYNY in New York simulcasted KKBT for a day as part of a week-long stunt of simulcasting sister stations nationwide before flipping formats to rhythmic adult contemporary as WKTU.
In a group deal in 1997, Evergreen merged with Chancellor. Chancellor acquired stations from other groups that exited the market. In 1999, Chancellor merged with Capstar and the company became AMFM, Incorporated.
KCMG Mega 92.3
In the fall of 1999, Clear Channel Communications and AMFM Inc. merged. This gave Clear Channel the five FM stations in LA and KIIS-FM which Clear Channel already owned. However, in order to get under the government-mandated market ownership limits, some stations were required to be spun off. One of the full powered FMs in Los Angeles had to go. KKBT's intellectual unit was the station chosen; it was sold off to Radio One. However, Clear Channel wanted to keep the best possible signal and gave Radio One 100.3 FM. Leading up to the frequency swap, rumors swirled about whether 100.3's format would survive the move to 92.3 FM. Being that 100.3 was going to an African American owned company known for urban formats, it seemed that "The Beat" would likely move to 100.3 intact. Much speculation led to 92.3 going active rock, possibly with the KMET calls. When the switch was made on June 30, 2000, the formats and call letters did come along for the ride, with 92.3 becoming KCMG, "Mega 92.3", and 100.3 becoming KKBT, "100.3 The Beat".
KHHT Hot 92.3
Initially, the station, now called KHHT, played Rhythmic Oldies, but by 2001, KHHT evolved to more of an urban oldies format, and then to an urban AC format by 2002. However, KHHT is not a typical Urban AC station; this station was one of the first Urban AC's to play more old school/classic soul, the more mainstream-level R&B currently out (barely-to-not playing Neo-soul at all) and some rhythmic and Latino pop/R&B songs to cater to the Hispanic and Asian audiences that listen to R&B music in particular. In this way, KHHT's playlist structure was the inspiration for other Urban AC markets in the western half of the U.S. such as sister stations in KISQ/San Francisco, KSYU/Albuquerque, and KHYL/Sacramento.
KHHT was one of three urban ACs serving the Los Angeles market. The others were KRBV, (formerly KKBT, which flipped from R&B/hip-hop in May 2006, but was sold by Radio One to Bonneville International in April 2008) and KJLH, whose signal is not full-power and barely penetrates the San Fernando Valley. In July 2006, it was announced that Art Laboe, a legendary oldies DJ in Los Angeles, would expand his syndicated show from weekend to weekdays, with KHHT as the flagship station. Laboe's move was interpreted as an attempt to expand the station's Hispanic audience as it competed with KRBV and KJLH, both of which were Black owned, operated and targeting stations (only KJLH remains Black owned).
However, by 2008, it became apparent that the over-saturation of Adult R&B stations in Los Angeles has made it difficult for three outlets to compete for the same audience. As a result of this, KHHT began to shift directions from an Urban AC direction to Rhythmic Hot AC, allowing them to focus more on the Hispanic and Asian audience. They also opened up their playlist to include current Rhythmic hits. This move also opens up a new battle in the Los Angeles radio war, which finds KHHT taking on another Rhythmic AC, KMVN, whose direction was more focused on recurrents from the 1970s and 1980s, which also explained KHHT's decision to add currents to its playlist. KHHT's sister station KBIG-FM once had a Rhythmic AC direction before shifting back to Hot AC in September 2007. The recent sale/format change of KRBV would've resulted in further tweakings at KHHT, but due to Arbitron's implementation of the PPM in the Los Angeles radio market and a move by its sister stations to adjust their formats to attract certain demos, KHHT has decided to continue concentrating on attracting their Hispanic demos, where they feel more comfortable.
As of April 2009, KHHT once again became the only Rhythmic Adult Contemporary in the market, as KMVN made a format flip to Spanish. This move has prompted KHHT to further adjust its musical direction by adding more Disco and Freestyle tracks to its current format as a way to attract the displaced KMVN listeners, and by June 2009 it showed an increase in the PPM ratings after they began to further tweak its selection more to now slightly favor currents and less favor Old School tracks, but as of July 2009, stay within the R&B realm. These latest changes at KHHT have led to hints that they are moving towards adopting a current Upbeat (and Dance-leaning) formula patterned after sister stations WKTU/New York City, WMIA-FM/Miami, and WISX/Philadelphia. All three stations has seen good rating numbers with this formula.
In November 2010, KHHT tweaked its direction again, shifting to a Gold-based Rhythmic AC approach and reducing the number of currents being played on the station. Although it may have elements of the former KCMG, KHHT had not tilted all the way back to Rhythmic Oldies or Urban AC as most of the music are in line with other soft-leaning Rhythmic Adult Contemporary outlets in nature. This made KHHT the only Rhythmic Adult Contemporary station in a top-10 American market.
In April 2011, KHHT fired morning host Victor Zaragoza. On April 20, the station announced that it would hire Rick Dees, who had previously hosted morning shows at sister station KIIS-FM and KMVN. At that time, the station dropped the "and R&B" from its slogan (to distance itself from playing current R&B or Adult R&B product), effectively making the radio station a full-blown Gold-based Rhythmic AC, with emphasis on Rhythmic, Disco, Freestyle and R&B hits from 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s. This same approach is also being used at sister stations KHJZ/Honolulu, KFBT/Fresno and WMOV/Norfolk; the exception being that the latter 3 are targeting Gen-Xers and concentrate on the latter two decades and play some currents in their presentation. Shortly after Dees arrived, KHHT shifted their format to a hybrid of Rhythmic oldies and Urban Oldies, focusing mostly on urban rhythmic hits from 1970 to the mid-1990s, with some soul hits from the 1960s sprinkled into the mix. However, on July 3, 2012, a year after making a return to morning drive, Dees parted ways with KHHT due to a desire by station management to make some adjustments in its direction.
On January 23, 2006, KHHT relaunched its former Rhythmic Oldies format on its HD2 subcarrier. On December 29, 2007, the HD 2 shifted to an all "Slow Jams" Urban AC format, playing quiet storm music from artists such as Anita Baker, Tank, Jaheim, and Boyz II Men. It is also staffed by many KHHT jocks, including Lisa St. Regis, Kevin "Slow Jamming" James, and Al B. Sure. It is programmed by R. Dub, who hosts a syndicated version of the format to various stations across the country.
The station was one of 10 stations awarded the 2007 Crystal Radio Award for public service awarded by the National Association of Broadcasters. Winners were honoured at the Radio Luncheon on April 17, 2007, during the NAB Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In popular culture
Hot 92.3 was also featured on VH1 Soul's show Soul Cities.
- Jeremy Gerard (October 16, 1989). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Classical Stations Do Their Best To Survive". The New York Times. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
- Radio will get meter readings From Los Angeles Times (August 12, 2008)
- "Rick Dees Out At Hot 92.3 Los Angeles" from Radio Insight (July 3, 2012)
- "NAB Announces Crystal Radio Awards Winners". National Association of Broadcasters. 2007-04-17.
- Hot 92.3 KHHT official website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KHHT
- Radio-Locator information on KHHT
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KHHT