||This article may be confusing or unclear to readers. (December 2009)|
|City of license||San Jose, California|
|Broadcast area||San Francisco Bay Area|
|Branding||The Universal 92.3 FM|
|Slogan||The Bay Area's Largest and Most Powerful FM International languages Station|
|First air date||December 1946|
|Owner||Universal Media Access|
KSJO is a commercial radio station licensed to San Jose, California, and broadcasts to the San Francisco Bay Area on 92.3 FM. KSJO currently airs an International Spanish and Chinese format branded as The Universal 92.3 FM.
KSJO is the second call sign assigned in San Jose, California, initially applied to both an AM station (KLIV) and an FM station. The FM station began in 1947 and became the only radio station in the United States with an all-female staff playing jazz music.
Before he launched his acting career, Ron Hayes worked for KSJO in the middle 1950s.
Prior to 1968, KSJO was owned by SRD Broadcasting, consisting of Scott Elrod of San Francisco; Don was Don Bekins of Bekins Van Lines and R was Richard "Dick" Garvin. As freeform rock was growing in popularity, with Tom Donahue's KMPX in nearby San Francisco becoming a national trendsetter, KSJO dropped jazz, starting in the evening only with Mark Williams and Jim Hilsabeck. After a few months Elrod and team brought in Bob Sobelman, a radio veteran, to GM the station and Larry Mitchell a top L.A. program director took over the helm. "The Light from Below" was one of the early slogans but did not live long ("below the San Francisco Bay"), the format was pure free-form progressive rock. The previous simple female-sex-symbol logo morphed into a red-white-and-blue logo and bumper sticker designed by Diane Roberts in Los Gatos, and the announcing staff was all-male for many years. Brief stint program directors included Bill Slator and Dick Kimball but for 5 plus years Douglas (Droese) was the program director remaining so until the Sterling buy out in 1974. The station was later sold to Sterling Recreation Organization (SRO) of Seattle, Washington.
For much of its history, KSJO was locked in a bitter rivalry with KOME, which also flipped to rock in 1971. At one point, in the early 1970s (September 1974 through June 1975), KSJO briefly flipped to a Top 40 format, before returning to rock. By the end of the decade, KOME had surpassed KSJO in the ratings.
The rock war heated up when stations in San Francisco started changing to the format. KSAN was the main San Francisco competitor throughout the 1970s, and more stations arrived. In the mid to late 1970s, KSJO was known for its outrageous morning show. Advertising Director Perry White (Hartline) partnered with Michael "Mother Deal" to make morning news fun for the 'rocker' audience. At one point, in late 1982, four different stations in San Francisco alone were programming the format, in addition to KSJO and KOME.
However, in 1982 led by broadcast veteran, Jack Chunn, KSJO started to dominate the Rock Radio scene in San Jose (and with respectable ratings to the north in San Francisco and to the south in Monterey/Santa Cruz). Program Director Larry 'Baby Lee Roy' Hansen assembled a strong group of air personalities including Trevor Ley and Jim Taylor (mornings), Ken Anthony (afternoons), Nicki Stevens (evenings) and Jim Seagull (overnights). Combined with strong marketing and a guerrilla street presence from promotions director Bob Jenkins and assistant Rodney Whitaker, KSJO dominated as 'The Bay Area's Home for Rock & Roll' for most of the 1980s.
Narragansett Broadcasting out of Providence Rhode Island purchased the station from Sterling Recreation Organization in 1985 and installed former KOME General Sales Manager, Gary Rodriguez as General Manager. Gary Rodriguez brought in from KOME Dana Jang as Operations Manager and Michael Hernandez as Sales Manager. Laurie Roberts joined from KOME to perform morning drive along with Ted Kopulos, also a KOME mainstay. Former KOME air personality, Gary T. joined for afternoon drive with overnights performed by Dave Numme from KZAP in Sacramento.
KSJO is credited with airing the first-ever AIDS radiothon in 1987, raising $25,000 for a San Jose AIDS hospice. Considering their reputation as a macho rock station, this was a complete departure for a day, but audience response was upbeat and KSJO promoted a candid dialogue about HIV/AIDS with their 18-34 audience, the most sexually active group in the U.S. Program Director Ken Anthony and morning personality Paul 'Lobster' Wells organized the event with mid day host Zeb Norris, afternoon personality Laurie Roberts, promo director Bob Jenkins and assistants Martyn Wright and Mike Russell. Several rock stars donated their time and merchandise to help raise funds, including Neil Young, Ronnie Montrose, Mark Andes of Heart, Neal Schon of Journey, Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane and Jimmie Vaughan of the Fabulous Thunderbirds.
By 1994, KOME had flipped to modern rock and KSJO was the stand-alone AOR station in Santa Clara Valley. Also, many of the San Francisco rock stations had long changed to different formats as well. KSJO rode a wave of popularity during the decade due primarily to the appeal of morning personalities Lamont and Tonelli. By 1998, KSJO's signal was simulcast on three other separate stations (located near 92.3 on the dial) around the San Francisco Bay Area: 92.7 KXJO in Alameda/Oakland, 92.7 KMJO in Marina and 92.1 KFJO in Walnut Creek.
As the new millennium arrived, KSJO's fortunes started to slide. Lamont and Tonelli were signed away by KSAN-FM in late 2002, and KXJO was sold to a separate entity that same year, flipping to a CHR format. KSJO's ratings started to slide as the demographics of the Bay Area changed. An increasingly large local Hispanic population and the rise of Hip Hop helped to chip away at the heritage rock station.  Radio veteran Dave Wohlman was named PD in 2004 and began the task of re-inventing the rock legend with a new staff, sound and direction.
KSJO's owner, Clear Channel Communications, had instituted an ambitious initiative to introduce more Spanish-language programming into various markets across the country. When the Walnut Creek simulcast station, KFJO, became KABL in 2004, many speculated that KSJO would soon drop rock for a Spanish-language format. The end came unannounced at 7 PM on October 28, 2004, when KSJO, after 35 years as a rock station, played its last song, "Mexican Radio" by Wall of Voodoo, and immediately launched a new Mexican oldies format as "La Preciosa". Longtime listeners were angered at the sudden loss of the Bay Area's last remaining active rock station.
The "La Preciosa" identity is also used by a few other Clear Channel Spanish-language, Mexican music stations.
On August 4, 2008, Clear Channel placed the station's assets into an entity called the Aloha Station Trust in order to sell off the station. This was due to Clear Channel being above the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ownership limits. These limits were imposed when Clear Channel was officially taken private by Bain Capital Partners on July 30, 2008.
On September 18, 2009, KSJO picked up the "Channel 104.9" modern rock format from KCNL, branded as "Channel 92.3". The staff consisted of Joe Sib in the mornings, Jessie on middays, MegaTanner (formerly on KITS in San Francisco), and Teddy and Chris. "La Preciosa", meanwhile, was moved to 104.9.
Unlike many Alternative stations, Channel 92.3 focused on new music and Alternative classics from the '70's and the '80's, with not as much emphasis on the '90's.
On November 10, 2010, RadioInsight announced that Principle Broadcasting Network San Jose, LLC, which owns brokered ethnic stations in various cities, made an agreement with Clear Channel's Aloha Station Trust to buy KSJO. Principle also owns KXSC and KLOK AM in San Jose. The sale was completed on February 28, 2011; at this time, the staff of KSJO was let go, and the station ran without airstaff, playing a broad-based alternative format dubbed "SALT: Save Alternative". It also included heavy promotions of savealternative.com.
On March 16, 2011, former Channel 92.3 hosts Teddy and Madden were invited back to give the station and its alternative rock format a proper send-off. At 10 AM, KSJO launched a new Chinese-language format branded as China 92.3. Save Alternative continued to stream online at savealternative.com and also added a simulcast on 104.9 HD-2. In addition, Save Alternative was broadcast on 104.9 KXSC every Saturday and Sunday night from 8 PM until midnight. (Save Alternative was discontinued on-air in May 2012, when KCNL was sold to the USC and flipped to KDFC's classical format but the format remains online and can be listened to at savealternative.com.)
KSJO began broadcasting dance music on its HD2 sub-channel since June 2011.
On May 1, 2012, the station rebranded as "The Universal FM", also called "La Universal 92.3 FM". The station is also developing and airing a number of programs in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese and Persian Languages.
In November 2013, KSJO-HD2 ended its dance music format and re-introduced the SALT (Save Alternative) rock format back on the air 24/7. The Dance/EDM format can still be heard online on ustream at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bay-area-tech-radio.
Ratings history vs. KOME and KSAN
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (December 2012)|
Arbitron average share, total age 12-plus, 06:00 - midnite, seven days:
Apr/May 78 Jul/Aug 78 Oct/Nov 78 Jan/Feb 79 Apr/May 79
- Santa Clara county only:
KSJO 2.6 --- 2.4 3.2 4.0 KOME 2.7 --- 2.8 4.4 5.2 KSAN 1.3 --- 0.7 0.7 0.7
- San Francisco nine-county, including Santa Clara county:
KSJO 0.8 1.8 1.0 1.1 1.2 KOME 0.8 0.9 0.8 1.6 1.9 KSAN 1.9 2.1 1.8 1.9 1.8
It appears that KSJO's dominance in Santa Clara Valley rock began to fade against KOME in January/February 1979. Although KSJO came close to beating KSAN in July/August 1978 nine-county, KOME actually did so in April/May 1979.
- ^ FM: it's now "fragmented radio"; Spokane Spokesman Review; Jan 15, 1984, accessed Jan 31, 2010
- ^ Rick Shannon Bio Page; accessed Jan 31, 2010
- ^ Jeff McNeal Broadcast Biography; accessed Jan 31, 2010
- ^ accessed Jan 31, 2010
- ^ accessed Jan 31, 2010
- ^ Perrin's professional history; accessed Jan 31, 2010
- ^ Mystery Solved: 2007 International Mystery Writers' Festival wraps with top award going to Kentucky author; accessed Jan 31, 2010
- ^ Suggestion that station staff was not told
- ^ 92.3 KSJO San Jose Sold; radioinsight.com; Nov 10, 2010
- ^ KUFX/KSJO San Jose Sales Close, Flip Pending at 92.3; radioinsight.com; Feb 28, 2011
- The KSJO Home Page
- Late 1980s rock KSJO staff photo
- 06-12 Oct 2004 San Jose Metro: "Mandatory Mariachi"
- 30 Oct 2004 Contra Costa Times: Clear Channel shuts down rock at KSJO
- 07 Nov 2004 San Francisco Chronicle: "KSJO's switch to Latin oldies..."
- KSJO 92.3 - Good Product, Bad Marketing
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KSJO
- Radio-Locator information on KSJO
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KSJO