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|Broadcast area||San Jose/Oakland/San Francisco, California|
|Branding||94.5 Bay FM|
|Slogan||The Bay's Greatest Hits|
|First air date||January 1, 1970 (as KPER-FM at 94.3)|
Christmas Music (Nov.-Dec.)
|HAAT||158 meters (518 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||BAY Area|
|Former callsigns||KPER-FM (1970-1973)
|Former frequencies||94.3 MHz (1969-1975)|
(Alpha Media Licensee LLC)
KBAY (94.5 FM, "Bay FM") is a classic hits radio station licensed to Gilroy, California, serving the San Francisco Bay Area and owned by Alpha Media, along with sister station KEZR. Its studios are located at Park Center Plaza in downtown San Jose and the transmitter is based from a site in Santa Teresa County Park. KBAY switches to Christmas music every year on or around Thanksgiving until December 26th. The station competes with KOIT and KISQ. In 2016, KBAY switched on November 19, almost a week earlier than usual, in response to KOIT also switching earlier.
94.5 FM history
Prior to becoming KBAY, the station had undergone various incarnations. They are perhaps most notable as the former home of KFAT and its freeform country/rock format. On January 17, 1983, KFAT changed its flipped to CHR, with KWSS as its call letters. Santa Cruz-area station KPIG-FM was heavily inspired by the legacy of KFAT.
KWSS was a well-regarded hit music station. Bill Kelly & Al Kline were morning hosts of the station before moving to KXXX in 1989. On March 4, 1991, after a three-day stunt of a loop of "Louie, Louie" by The Kingsmen, it flipped to classic rock as KUFX.
KBAY radio history
The KBAY call letters were originally assigned to a UHF television station (Channel 20), based in San Francisco, California. It ceased operation after a few years due to the scant number, in the 1950s, of Bay Area homes with UHF-capable television sets. Channel 20 returned to the air as KEMO, eventually becoming today's KOFY-TV.
Originally at 104.5 in the 1950s, KBAY 100.3 FM, became the market leader in San Jose and had a very strong listening audience in both the San Jose and San Francisco markets throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Its easy listening format gave way to light jazz instrumentals and by the early 1990s, pop music was introduced. The Snell family guided the station and its sister, KEEN Country 1370 AM through the decades as United Broadcasting.
The Snells sold their 2 properties in 1997, and KBAY became a part of the American Radio Systems group which included KKSJ (the former KEEN), KUFX, and KSJO. Shortly thereafter, a 3-way swap of frequencies landed KBAY at 94.5 FM. KBAY then became known as "The Bay" for a couple of years. American Radio Systems sold KBAY to Infinity/CBS in 1999. In the early 2000s, the KBAY identity was replaced by B-94.5 "The Bee". This was an attempt to distance the station from the perceived "stigma" of its earlier life as an "elevator music" station. In September 2003, KBAY's owner CBS-Infinity Radio removed its "World Music" format called "The Wave" from its 93.3 frequency in order for KBAY to simulcast on it. Infinity moved the KBAY studios to San Francisco and 94.5 became legally identified as KBAA. The simulcast experiment lasted only a year much to the relief of its staff, largely from the South Bay. 93.3 was sold and became KRZZ with a Regional Mexican music format, and the KBAY call letters returned to 94.5. CBS-Infinity Radio sold KBAY and its sister Mix 106.5 KEZR FM to NextMedia Group in 2005. Effective February 10, 2014, KBAY, KEZR, and the 31 other NextMedia radio stations nationwide became part of a new broadcasting group headed by Dean Goodman called Digity LLC, an affiliate of Palm Beach Broadcasting, LLC, for a purchase price of $85 million. The company ran about 60 locally programmed stations.
Effective February 25, 2016, Digity, LLC and its 124 radio stations were acquired by Alpha Media for $264 million.
On December 16, 2016, "Sam and Lissa in the Morning" ended its run on KBAY, as Sam Van Zandt retired, and Lissa Kreisler was let go from the station. Van Zandt had worked in radio for 50 years, and Kreisler had worked at KBAY for 29 years. The letting go of Kreisler was much to the disapproval of listeners, and she even stated that she "wanted a few more years." 2016 also saw Dana Jang, its program director since 2005, depart, and Ronnie Stanton, who had last worked as PD at Vancouver's CFOX-FM, take over; evening host Nicci Ross also departed the station at the same time and moved to rival KISQ. The changes come as KBAY has been facing increasing competition from KOIT and KISQ in the San Francisco market. The two San Francisco stations also appear in San Jose's ratings.
During its Christmas music stint of 2016, KBAY began running liners promoting "one last present" from the station, to come at 5 p.m. on Christmas Day. Alpha Media announced on the 21st that KBAY would end its AC format after over 20 years and flip to classic hits as "94.5 Bay FM" at that time. The last song on KBAY was "The Twelve Days of Christmas" by Straight No Chaser, and the first song on Bay FM was "We Built This City" by San Francisco band Starship. With the change, KBAY became the only Classic Hits station in San Jose and the adjacent San Francisco market. Bay Fm announced it will, however, continue KBAY's annual Christmas Music programming, which has a significant positive effect on their ratings.
- KBAY website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KBAY
- Radio-Locator information on KBAY
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KBAY
- FCC History Cards for KBAY