|City of license||Los Angeles, California|
|Broadcast area||Greater Los Angeles Area|
|Slogan||Southern California's Best Rock|
|Frequency||95.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1947 (as KECA-FM)|
|Format||FM/HD1: Album-oriented rock (AOR)|
|HAAT||954.0 meters (3,129.9 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||LOS Angeles|
|Former callsigns||KECA-FM (1947–1954)
(Radio License Holdings LLC)
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KLOS is a commercial FM album-oriented rock (AOR) radio station based in Los Angeles, California, that debuted in 1969. The station is owned by Cumulus Media. It was home to the nationally broadcast Mark & Brian radio show and Off The Record host Uncle Joe Benson. The station has studios on La Cienega Boulevard in the West Adams district of Los Angeles, and its transmitter is based on Mount Wilson.
On December 30, 1947, KECA-FM began broadcasting on 95.5 Megacycles (the predecessor to Megahertz), simulcasting the programming of AM station KECA/790. The FM station was owned by ABC since the beginning, and the call letters of the AM and FM stations were accordingly changed to KABC and KABC-FM in the 1950s. In 1960, KABC adopted an all-talk format.
On January 1, 1968, due to new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules requiring FM stations to have separate programming from their AM counterparts, KABC-FM experimented with an all-news format, the first station in Los Angeles to have such a format. This experiment did not last long, as the format was dropped on March 11, 1968, the day that KFWB started its own all-news format.
KABC-FM adopted a progressive rock format and programmed a taped format that was run on co-owned stations throughout the country known as "Love." The taped programming was voicetracked by Brother John Rydgren. The taped format did not last long. Live, locally programmed free-form/progressive rock programming was the norm on most ABC-FM owned and operated stations by mid-1970. In 1971, the station acquired the KLOS call letters to avoid confusion with its AM talk station. In the fall of 1971, ABC-Owned FM Stations Vice President, Allen Shaw and KLOS Program Director, Tom Yates, launched the first Album-Rock Format, playing only the best cuts from the best selling rock albums. The slogan was "Rock 'N Stereo." The disc jockey line up included Jeff Gonzer, J.J. Jackson, Jim Ladd, and Damion. KLOS promoted a huge outdoor rock concert called "California Jam" during this time. By 1972, along with ABC-owned sister stations like WPLJ New York, WRIF Detroit and WDVE Pittsburgh, KLOS had become the top-rated rock FM station in Los Angeles.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s "KLOS 95½" was a broad-based album rock station. Their primary competition during this period was KMET, the legendary station at 94.7, which had been one of the original progressive rock stations in the U.S. KMET was considered by most Angelenos to be the more authentic and "cool" of the two stations, while KLOS was more formatted and mass appeal in style. In the late 70s and early 80s, KMET began leaning toward a harder-rocking sound, and became a ratings powerhouse. By the mid-80s, however, KMET had become unfocused and stale, and KLOS took a big lead in the ratings.
In 1986, a new rival appeared: KLSX. KLSX was part of a wave of "classic rock" stations sweeping the nation. The term "classic rock," which was coined around this time, referred to rock songs from the 1960s & '70s. Ironically, these songs had once been played by KMET and KLOS. Especially at first, these classic rock stations reintroduced (or introduced) people to artists that had been forgotten, such as Traffic, Grateful Dead, and early Chicago. KLOS, for the most part, stuck with their harder-rocking format.
With KNAC in Long Beach switching to heavy metal, and KROQ-FM drawing the Modern Rock audience, there was keen competition on the rock radio dial. KMET began to falter even more in the ratings, and finally switched to a new age/light jazz format called "The Wave." The fall of the "Mighty Met" was greeted with enormous press coverage, and sadness from longtime fans. KLOS, of course, could not have been happier to have a competitor out of the way.
KLOS and KLSX duked it out for a number of years, sometimes challenged by upstarts like Pirate Radio, KMPC-FM ("The Edge"), and KSCA 101.9. The only significant challenge for KLOS was Arrow 93 (KCBS-FM). Arrow began as "all rock and roll oldies," featuring lighter, more Top 40 classic rock like Billy Joel and Huey Lewis in the classic rock mix. During this period, KLOS consistently had a broader and more varied playlist than both KLSX and Arrow, though increasingly they played less new rock. KLSX switched to all-talk in the mid-'90s, with a schedule centered around syndicated Howard Stern in the mornings.
In the early 1990s, with the popularity of KROQ-FM's grunge and "alternative" rock, KLOS altered their format, dropping the old jocks, and most of the classic rock. This did not last long, nor was it a ratings success. Within a year, the new music was mostly jettisoned, and the classic rock brought back.
In 1997 John Duncan was hired as program director (previously at KYYS in Kansas City) and took the station in an adult rock direction. Within eight months, KLOS moved from #18 to #5 among 25-54 adults, reclaiming its status as L.A.'s #1 adult rock station. While at KLOS, Duncan hired Jim Ladd, Garth Kemp and other long-time personalities. It was also during this period that the station ran a billboard campaign with lines such as, "We lost our mind for a moment, but we're okay now." Duncan left the station in late 1998, on the heels of Mark & Brian's "Black Hoe" promotion.
In 2005, KLOS became the last rock station standing when Arrow 93 switched formats to become Jack FM. Jack FM was a format out of Vancouver, British Columbia which mixed alternative, classic rock, and Top 40 songs from the 70s to the present. It is noted for having no disc jockeys, a huge playlist, and a pseudo-renegade attitude. For their first two years, they were a runaway ratings success, rocketing to the top of many key demographic areas. As usual, KLOS stuck with the tried-and-true.
Also in 2005, long-time DJ Al Ramirez, who worked the night shift, died at the age of 54 of natural causes.
KLOS is now home to many prominent progressive and AOR rock DJs from Los Angeles radio history. A former Arrow DJ, Bob Coburn was already at KLOS prior to the Arrow/Jack FM flip, and can be heard weekends at various times, as well as on "Rockline Replay" (a live nationally syndicated call-in show with Bob Coburn, taped Wednesday nights). Coburn had enjoyed previous, lengthy runs as KLOS jocks, since the 1980s. Coburn was also at KMET in the 1970s. Cynthia Fox holds down the daytime shift. She was a long-time jock on KMET. Ex-KMET jock Denise Westwood can be heard weekends and does the occasional fill-in. Former program director Rita Wilde, now on KSWD, had been choosing the music on KLOS for decades, and can now be considered a rock radio vet herself. Joe Benson who used to be an afternoon DJ is now over on frequency 100.3 - The Sound. Marc Coppola (now Middays on KGB-FM San Diego), was on KLOS in 1977 and again as one of the hosts when KLOS aired Westwood One's 'Rock 'N Roll Never Forgets.' Damion and Steve Downes both co-hosted with Marc from 1986 to 1990
Renowned veteran disc jockey Jim Ladd is another ex-KLOS employee. He was a former DJ on KNAC (in its progressive days), KMET during its glory days, KLOS, KLSX, and "The Edge." Often dubbed "The Last DJ"—after the Tom Petty song that was written about him—Jim Ladd was allowed unusual latitude in selecting the music for his show, one of the few jocks in the country still enjoying this coveted privilege. Ladd's show was routinely the #1 music-based show in its timeslot, if not #1 overall. Sadly he was let go.
Joe Reiling has also recently returned to KLOS after an even longer absence. He was last heard in the early 80's. Joe started the Local Music Show (later renamed, Local Licks) He does the occasional fill-in. Most of Joe's time away from the station found him hosting his own Alternative Rock show worldwide on AFN (American Forces Network and formerly AFRTS, Armed Forces Radio and Television Services) Joe was also involved in managing, producing and programming the inflight audio entertainment for many domestic and international airlines, and, Air Force One.
Dion was another part-time jock at KLOS that had been on overnights for several years. Dion was also at KLSX when they played classic rock.
Sunday nights/Monday mornings KLOS used to air a public affairs call-in talk show hosted by longtime KLOS personality, Frank Sontag. He celebrated his 20th anniversary doing the Impact Program in late November 2007. Frank was part of the Mark & Brian morning team as well and ran the control board, also contributing to the show at times. In 2009, Frank left the station and in 2013, became the host of the Christian talk and discussion program, The Frank Sontag show on KKLA-FM 99.5 FM, the Intersection of Faith and Reason.
In 2006, the station came under ownership of Citadel Broadcasting after it merged with The Walt Disney Company's ABC Radio. Citadel merged with Cumulus Media on September 16, 2011. In October 2006, KLOS restructured its daily lineup of radio hosts, following Mark & Brian's show. Cynthia Fox, "Uncle Joe" Benson and Jim Ladd saw each of their daily airshifts increased by one hour. However, this has resulted in the (temporary) dismissal of former evening DJ Gary Moore (returning in the Fall of 2007 and now can be heard weekday evenings). Former overnight jock (ex-KQLZ) Mark Miller was only heard hosting Saturday morning's "The Best of Mark & Brian Saturday Special" shows, from 6-10 A.M.. Miller's daily shift was replaced with automated programming, billed as "KLOS, After Hours", which runs from 1-5 A.M., Tuesday through Friday mornings. Although the same classic rock format is generally followed, occasionally KLOS delves into deep cuts & live versions of songs that are not usually played during the dayshifts.
The long-revered "Breakfast With The Beatles", hosted by Chris Carter, is heard on Sunday mornings from 9 am to 12 pm. Prior to hosting Breakfast With the Beatles, Carter was heard on Channel 103.1/KACD-FM in 2000, when they played Adult Alternative music. He is also the former bass player & producer for Dramarama, and produced and supervised the music for the film Mayor of the Sunset Strip, a rock documentary about influential LA DJ Rodney Bingenheimer of Modern Rock KROQ-FM, which in 2003 was nominated for Best Documentary by the Independent Spirit Awards.
Periodically, KLOS abandoned its format with an "A to Z" special, where songs from the KLOS library were played alphabetically by title. Running 24 hours a day (with breaks only for the Mark & Brian show, and Jim Ladd's show), it generally lasted about 2 weeks with no repeated songs. Unlike many similar specials, the KLOS A to Z unearthed a large number of rarely heard songs. This marked a stark contrast with KLOS' regular playlist, which typically features an extremely narrow and repetitive selection of safe, familiar staples. In its final years the A to Z special aired around the Christmas holiday. Since the firing of program director Rita Wilde, the A to Z countdown has not aired on KLOS. However, their new competitor The Sound recently revamped the idea with a very similar, though shorter, A to Z countdown of familiar and deep tracks.
Although KLOS billed itself as "Southern California's only classic rock station", that was not entirely true as there exists KGB in San Diego, which can sometimes even be heard in Los Angeles due to tropospheric ducting. This might have been considered by most listeners to be nitpicking, since although KGB can occasionally be received in the Los Angeles area, it is out of range most of the time. The only other station in the area that can be considered to carry classic rock is KRTH, which broadened its "goodtime oldies" format to include more album rock and material from the mid to late 1970s after Jack FM took over KCBS. However, the majority of KRTH's format would not be considered classic rock. Jack-FM plays considerably more classic rock than any other station outside of KLOS, but also plays plenty of top 40 artists. In April, 2008, a new station emerged as a competitor, as KSWD "The Sound" 100.3 FM signed on the airwaves, and although their focus began as adult alternative music, it is now essentially classic rock.
In August 2009, the station switched its slogan to "Southern California's Best Rock", in order to play a wider variety of rock music, including classic and current, in a more mainstream rock direction.
Shows on KLOS
3 at 3 with Gary Moore. He plays three songs with a common theme.
The 5 o' Clock Funnies is a brief sketch done by a stand-up comedian who is currently or shortly will be touring somewhere. This airs weekday afternoons at 5:15 P.M.
Get The Led Out is on weeknights at 7 P.M.
Spotlight on the Community is an hour-long show hosted by Denise Westwood on Sunday mornings from 6-7 A.M. Discussing current issues in the community and offers non-profit organizations the opportunity to disseminate information for their organization.
Breakfast with the Beatles, hosted by Chris Carter, is a special three-hour program that airs Sundays from 8-11 A.M., devoted entirely to music from The Beatles, their individual efforts, as well as music inspired by The Beatles. Carter often has special guests appear in-studio or on the phone. Former John Lennon paramour, May Pang appears usually half-way in the show with "This week in Beatle news", delivering it in a gossip-style. Breakfast With The Beatles boasts it is "America's longest-running Beatles show", and has been on the air in Los Angeles on one radio station or another since 1983 having been founded by Deirdre O'Donoghue and aired on KMET, KNX-FM, and KLSX 
The Heidi and Frank Show airs every weekday from 6 to 10 A.M. and features prominent radio personalities Frank Kramer and Heidi Hamilton along with their ever present sidekicks Erik Scott Smith and Sammie. This show is also featured on Dish Nation.
Former Shows on KLOS
In Tune at Noon is a one-hour show hosted by Cynthia Fox where they celebrate birthdays or anniversaries of events in rock and roll history by playing music associated with those dates. It airs weekdays from Noon to 1 P.M..
Impact with Frank Sontag, a talk, call-in radio program which aired from 1987 to 2009, lastly airing from midnight to 5 Monday mornings.
3 at 3 with Bob Buchmann. He played three songs with a common theme. Then listeners got to call in and guess the common theme of the songs, weekdays at 3 P.M.
Jim Ladd used to bring his brand of free-form radio, interrupting the regular classic rock radio format, Monday through Thursday from 10 P.M. to 2 A.M. and Sundays from 9 P.M. to Midnight, with Ladd picking the music personally, often based on listener requests, and playing it in thematic sets. Listeners call in requests/ideas or post them on Ladd's MySpace page. Every Wednesday night at midnight, Ladd devotes an hour to Headsets, which combines music with a slightly more "sonic" quality (designed to be listened to in headphones, or with no background noise interfering), spoken-word poetry, and audio clips from movies & TV. On Sundays, Ladd brings "Theme of Consciousness", with the entire content of the 3-hour show devoted to a singular word or "theme", and chosen entirely by the listening audience, by phone or by MySpace.
Mark & Brian was a sketch comedy show that aired Monday through Friday mornings from 6-10 A.M. until August 17, 2012, with highlights from the show aired from 5-6 A.M., and a Saturday recap of the week, featuring the best of Mark & Brian, aired from 6-10 A.M.
- "Billboard - Google Books". Books.google.com. 1971-04-10. Retrieved 2011-01-04.
- "Billboard - Google Books". Books.google.com. 1972-03-11. Retrieved 2011-01-04.
- "Frank Sontag Joins KKLA".
- "Cumulus now owns Citadel Broadcasting". Atlanta Business Journal. September 16, 2011. Retrieved September 16, 2011.
- "Cumulus lays off KLOS, Los Angeles PD Bob Buchmann & legendary jock Jim Ladd". RADIO-INFO.COM. 2011-10-26. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- "Legendary DJ Jim Ladd is out at KLOS". Orange County Register. October 26, 2011. Retrieved October 26, 2011.
- 95.5 KLOS Online
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KLOS
- Radio-Locator information on KLOS
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KLOS
- List of "grandfathered" FM radio stations in the U.S.