The station hit the airwaves in 1997 as KXME, Xtreme Radio @ 104.3 from 1997 to 2001, and 104-3 XME Hawaii's #1 Hit Music Station from 2001 to 2004, and offered a Mainstream Top 40 direction that focused on Hip hop and Modern Rock hits. During the early years of the station, it tended to play very unusual music on the station, including one of the first instances of playing a heavily edited version of the Insane Clown Posse's Boogeyman. It proved to be a success at first, but by 1998 it would wear out its welcome, resulting in the station dropping the Modern Rock tracks and shifting to a Rhythmic Top 40 direction. It is currently one of five Rhythmic Top 40 outlets in Hawaii, and one of two Rhythmic Top 40 outlets in the Honolulu market, the competition being KDDB 102.7 Da Bomb.
In 2004 it changed its call letters to KPHW and adopted the "Power 104.3" handle to reflect its current position and focus on R&B/Hip-Hop product, but by 2010 it began moving more towards Rhythmic Pop tracks, which became more noticeable after the recent departures of Top 40/CHR rival KQMQ and longtime Rhythmic rival KIKI. Like KDDB, KPHW's playlist favors more hit-driven product while retaining the Hip-Hop elements. Notable on-air personalities include "KC and Tantra" in the morning, "Island Boy" in the afternoons, and Micah Banks in the evenings.
In early 2013, Cox Radio, Inc. sold KPHW and 22 other stations to Summit Media LLC for $66.25 million. The sale was consummated on May 3, 2013.