|City of license||Medford, Massachusetts|
|Broadcast area||Boston, Massachusetts|
|Slogan||"Boston's Hit Music Station"|
|First air date||September 1, 1960|
|Format||Top 40 (CHR)
HD2: WEDX (EDM)
|Callsign meaning||KS = Kiss 108|
|Former callsigns||WHIL-FM (1960–1972)
|Owner||Clear Channel Communications|
|Sister stations||WEDX, WJMN, WKOX, WXKS|
WXKS-FM, better known as Kiss 108, is a radio station in Boston, Massachusetts, licensed to nearby Medford broadcasting a Top 40 (CHR) format. Owned by Clear Channel Communications, the station operates on 107.9 FM, and is sister stations to Rhythmic Contemporary WJMN, once a major rival to Kiss, and Electronic Dance Music outlet WEDX. This combination of the three outlets gives Clear Channel/Boston the distinction of having three stations in the same market sharing some of the same music.
Kiss 108 is one of the most prominent top 40 stations in New England, notable primarily for its annual Kiss Concert, which draws some of the best-known names in the pop music business to Mansfield's Comcast Center concert venue each spring. Morning DJ Matt Siegel has been a fixture on the Boston airwaves for several decades, and was briefly nationally syndicated during the late 1990s. Kiss 108 was also the flagship station for Open House Party Saturday hosted by John Garabedian, broadcasting from his house in suburban Boston, but on March 10, 2007, Kiss 108 dropped Saturday edition Open House Party and began a new show called The Saturday Night Mash-Up. The Sunday edition of Open House Party hosted by Kannon was broadcast shortly on Kiss 108, replacing the Saturday night show, until May 2008.
The station first went on the air September 1, 1960 as WHIL-FM, a simulcast of sister station WHIL (1430 AM, now WKOX), and broadcasting its own programming after sunset when WHIL signed-off. For much of the sixties, WHIL & WHIL-FM were country-music stations, but in late 1972, both stations switched to beautiful music as WWEL (AM) and FM ("Well"). The Calls refer to Wellington Sq in Medford MA, where the station studios were located.
Despite moving the FM transmitter to the top of the Prudential Tower in 1972, WWEL-FM was not very successful as a beautiful-music format. In 1978, WWEL-FM broadcast the night games of the Boston Red Sox baseball team as the flagship station (WITS 1510) delivered a poor night signal in much of Metro Boston. The stations were sold to Heftel Communications, operated by U.S. Rep. Cecil Heftel (D-Hawai'i) in early 1979. Heftel changed the call letters to WXKS, adopted "Kiss 108" as an identity and changed to a disco format on February 10, 1979 at 12:00am. The first record played under this new format was At Midnight by T-Connection. Under Heftel, the station soared to near the top of the Arbitron ratings, and forced WBOS (which had been first in Boston with a 24/7 disco sound and had a short period of huge success with it) out of the format in early 1980.
Sunny Joe White, a young programmer (who had previously programmed WILD in Boston) came aboard at Kiss-108 upon its shift to disco and had much to do with the station's early success.
At the end of 1979, WXKS dropped disco to adopt an adult standards format, while the FM slowly evolved into urban contemporary when disco's popularity crashed. By the end of 1981 and into early 1982, the station became a CHR with a heavily Rhythmic R&B/Dance direction under the guidance of White, and in turn became one of the most influential Top 40 stations in the nation, in part due to their reputation for breaking songs that did not fit the traditional Top 40/CHR model, and given that Boston lacked a Urban Contemporary FM outlet during this period, and since WILD was an AM daytimer, it wasn't afraid to play songs from that genre. The genre would later become the format now known as Rhythmic contemporary, which is now the current format of sister station WJMN. By 1988, WXKS began to shift out of the Rhythmic direction and evolved into its current successful Top 40/CHR format. On February 9, 1996, sister station WYNY in New York simulcasted WXKS from 6 AM to 6 PM as part of a week-long stunt of simulcasting sister stations nationwide before flipping formats to rhythmic adult contemporary the following day as WKTU.
On January 27, 2006, WXKS-FM went live with an HD2 digital broadcast referred to by Clear Channel as the "Artists' Channel". The broadcast is also available as an Internet radio station. It then went to a "new CHR" format before becoming a simulcast of WXKS (1200 AM) in 2010. In August 2012, that station changed formats to all-comedy, with the HD2 channel following suit. When WXKS-AM flipped to Bloomberg Radio in February 2013, the all-comedy format was retained on the HD2. However, in December of that year, the HD2 channel flipped to a simulcast of sister station WEDX.
Kiss 108 Top 30 Countdown
The Kiss 108 Top 30 Countdown is a locally produced program on Kiss 108, hosted by DJ Billy Costa. The countdown once aired solely on Saturday mornings from 7AM to 10AM, but now, is broadcast twice on the weekend: Saturday mornings from 9AM to 12PM and Sunday nights from 7PM to 10PM.
Notable past employees
- 1992 Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook, page A-165
- WBZ-TV @ Facebook
- Official website
- WBZ-TV @ Twitter
- Kiss 108 Playlist from June 25, 1979
- WXKS audio clip from 1991
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WXKS
- Radio-Locator information on WXKS
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WXKS