|City||Tijuana, Baja California|
|Broadcast area||San Diego-Tijuana|
|First air date||1978|
|Operator||Local Media San Diego LLC|
|Owner||Comunicación XERSA, S.A. de C.V.|
|Sister stations||XHITZ-FM, XHRM-FM|
XETRA-FM (91.1 FM) — branded 91X, and sometimes identified as XTRA-FM — is an English language, Mexican-owned (border blaster) Alternative Rock music station broadcasting from Tijuana, Baja California on 91.1 MHz. The studios are in San Diego's Mira Mesa area. The station is one of three outlets programmed by Local Media San Diego LLC, who took over the operations of XETRA-FM from Broadcast Company of the Americas in 2010.
On November 20, 1968, Radiodifusora del Pacífico, S.A. de C.V., then-owner of XETRA-AM, received a concession for a new FM station with the same callsign, XETRA-FM on 91.3 MHz. By the time the station signed on in 1978, carrying an AOR format, it had moved to 91.1. 91X's broadcast studios were located at the 91X transmitter site on Mount San Antonio in Tijuana. Initially, programming was recorded at the San Diego Studios in the Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich building downtown and driven to the transmitter site several times a day. That proved to be uncompetitive. Disc jockeys then commuted from San Diego to Tijuana each shift. 91X was notorious for having DJs with no personality; they would simply announce the previous song, and the next song. On January 11, 1983, at 6 PM, 91X followed in the footsteps of KROQ-FM in Los Angeles and switched formats to "rock of the 80s" (modern rock). 91X played "Stairway to Heaven" (Led Zeppelin) as the final song of the AOR format. Immediately afterward, then-Executive Vice President and General Manager John Lynch made the announcement of the format change and disc jockey Todd Ralston went right into "Sex (I'm A...)" by Berlin. Former 91X on-air personality Jim LaMarca recounts the transition:
- "The day 91X (then known as XETRA-FM) went Rock of the 80s, almost no one knew it was coming so there was no speculation. An air staff meeting was called for 3 pm. These really straight liner-card jocks were sitting around the conference room when in walks wild Rick Carroll with a cardboard box. He dumps it on the table and says, 'I'm Rick from Los Angeles and this is your new format.' The first song was played at 6 pm by Todd Tolkoff who was given the name Mad Max. He said, 'This is 91X Rock of the 80s and this is "Sex" from Berlin.' Everyone at the station (remember, he is now in Mexico 30 minutes away) thought this song was too weird. It seemed slow and goofy, but hey this was all new to us. It also took forever. Well no wonder, he was playing a long-play version so the LP should have been playing at 45 rpm. Since we had never heard the song no one knew. This happened a lot."
During the 1980s and 1990s, 91X was one of the top-rated and most influential alternative stations in America.
U.S. marketing and operating rights
In 1996, the U.S. marketing and operating rights to 91X were acquired by Jacor Communications, and simultaneously the Mexican concession was sold to XETRA Comunicaciones, S.A. de C.V. Jacor was acquired by Clear Channel Communications in 1999.
On December 1, 2005, Clear Channel Communications was forced to spin off the U.S. rights to program and sell advertising time on XETRA-FM, XHITZ-FM (90.3) and XHRM-FM (92.5). This was an effort to satisfy existing consolidation laws. Stations based in Tijuana, Baja California and operated by U.S. broadcasters were now considered as part of the San Diego radio market for ownership limit purposes. The Mexico-based stations put Clear Channel over the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) limit of eight local broadcast outlets in San Diego. Clear Channel operates seven stations in the San Diego market.
Finest City Broadcasting, a new company under the direction of former Clear Channel/San Diego VP/Market Manager Mike Glickenhaus, took over operations of the three stations. Glickenhaus left FCB in May 2007.
In December 2009, Finest City, faced with massive debt and foreclosure, put the entire cluster up for sale. On January 7, 2010, Broadcasting Corporation of the Americas, whose owner John Lynch (father of football player John Lynch) was also XETRA's VP/GM in its early days, emerged as the buyer in a foreclosure sale. John Lynch, operating under the name Noble Broadcast Consultants, also owned and operated XETRA-AM (now XEWW-AM), which shared staff and facilities with 91X. Clear Channel formerly owned the U.S. programming and sales rights to that station as well, and spun those rights off to a different operator.
On October 6, 2015, Midwest Television (owners of KFMB and KFMB-FM) announced that it had entered into a joint operating agreement with Local Media San Diego LLC, forming an entity known as SDLocal to manage their collective cluster of stations. The intent of this agreement is to "[preserve the] local ownership and operation of San Diego's top-rated radio stations". The agreement ended at the end of 2016.
When Howard Stern was on terrestrial radio, 91X was his original San Diego affiliate. He was pulled from XETRA in 1997 and moved to then-sister station KIOZ after the station ran afoul of the Dirección General de Radio, Televisión y Cinematografía, Mexico's broadcast content regulator. The RTC threatened to sanction XETRA for airing Stern's program, which on several occasions in late 1996 carried anti-Mexican remarks that violated the Federal Radio and Television Law.
On December 27, 2007, Chris Cantore was let go from the alternative rocker after a decade of service.
On April 1, 2008 "The 91X Morning Show" debuted after a month-long marketing campaign that centered on the question "who is Mat Diablo?". On May 7, 2010, the 91X Morning Show was canceled after 91X was purchased in a foreclosure sale.
"Music In The Morning" was hosted by Oz Medina, who previously worked as 91X's Music Director and Afternoon Host from 1987-1993. Then one day he was gone, replaced by Matt Stone, no explanation given. Robin "What's Up?" Roth says she isn't privy to what happened to him.
91X's Music Director is Michael Halloran, who handles afternoons on-air.
Up until January 2012, 91X carried the syndicated Loveline weeknights.
Until 2008, 91X aired Reggae Makossa, a program featuring reggae and roots music that now airs on XHUAN-FM. The program was originally hosted by Makeda Dread and Demaja Le. Demaja Le left in 1998 to program KSDS. Makeda Dread still hosts the show. Despite the move, 91X still plays occasional reggae music, most notably daily around 4:20 pm to honor 420.
Under the rules and regulations of the Secretary of Communication and Transportation of Mexico, 91X (and other Mexico-licensed stations) concludes its broadcast week with the required airing of La Hora Nacional in Spanish on Sunday evenings beginning at 10 p.m. Pacific time.
- Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones. Infraestructura de Estaciones de Radio FM. Last modified 2018-05-16. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
- "Wayback Machine" (PDF). 2007-08-09. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
- "Local Media, KFMB Stations announce joint-operating agreement". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
- "KFMB-A, KFMB-F (100.7 KFM-BFM)/San Diego, Local Media San Diego To End Joint Operating Agreement". All Access. September 28, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
- Freeman, John (1997-05-27). "91X lost Stern after rants stirred Mexico's rancor". San Diego Union-Tribune.
- "Local Media of America acquires Finest City Broadcasting in Foreclosure Sale". Retrieved 22 May 2011.