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|City||Redondo Beach, California|
|Broadcast area||Los Angeles, California|
|Slogan||"Hip Hop Back In The Day"|
|First air date||1961 (as KAPP-FM)|
|HAAT||117 meters (384 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||Original KDAY (AM) was a DAYtimer (i.e., shut down at night)|
|Former callsigns||KAPP-FM (1961-1965)|
|Owner||Meruelo Group |
(Meruelo Radio Holdings, LLC)
|Sister stations||KDEY-FM, KPWR, KWHY-TV|
KDAY (93.5 FM, "93.5 KDAY") is a radio station licensed to Redondo Beach, California and broadcasting to the Greater Los Angeles area. The station is owned by Meruelo Radio Holdings, LLC and airs a classic hip hop format. To fill in coverage gaps in eastern parts of the market such as the Inland Empire, KDAY simulcasts with co-channel station KDEY-FM in Ontario. The station's studios are located in Burbank. KDAY's transmitter is located on a site in Baldwin Hills, while the transmitter for KDEY-FM is on Haven Mountain near Rancho Cucamonga.
The original KDAY at 1580 AM
KDAY started out at 1580 AM as a soul/R&B outlet in 1968. Its call sign represented that fact that it was a "daytimer"; i.e., it broadcast only during daytime hours and signed off every evening. It flipped to top 40 a short time later, then to album-oriented rock in 1972, only to revert to soul/R&B in January 1974. With FM stations such as KJLH growing in popularity in the early 1980s, cutting into KDAY's audience, KDAY fought back by hiring Greg Mack from KMJQ in Houston as music director in 1983. Mack eventually added hip hop to its playlist to appeal to mostly young black and Latino listeners. Dr. Dre and DJ Yella Boy became the first mixer DJs at the station.:214–216
In the first ratings period under Mack's leadership, KDAY's ratings beat another Los Angeles black AM station, KGFJ, and "began to enjoy a second life as the only rap-friendly station in town and, frankly, in the entire country.":217
After violence in the stands forced the cancellation of a Run-DMC concert at the Long Beach Arena for the group's Raising Hell tour, KDAY organized a "Day of Peace" on October 9, 1986.:218 In a two-hour special, KDAY featured Run-DMC, singer Barry White, and boxer Paul Gonzales appealing to rival gangs to stop feuding and opened phone lines for callers to describe gangs' impact in their communities. There were no murders or incidents of gang violence that day. Within two weeks, the Bloods and Crips, the two largest gangs in Los Angeles, signed a peace treaty.:218
By 1990, hip hop appeared on the FM dial, forcing KDAY to adapt. KDAY upgraded its sound to AM stereo, described by Dan Charnas as "sounding like two tinny AM radios playing side by side.":293 Mack left KDAY that year to work for FM rival KJLH. Realtor Fred Sands, who also owned iconic heavy metal station KNAC, bought KDAY the next year.:293–294
KDAY at 93.5 FM
In April 2006, KDAY began moving away from rhythmic contemporary direction toward an urban contemporary approach as the station refocused its target audience toward African Americans. This was probably in response to competitor KPWR de-emphasizing urban in favor of rhythmic contemporary in order to target Hispanic listeners. Due to sinking ratings, a month later, long-time hip-hop/R&B station KKBT eliminated hip hop from the format, broadcasting a mixture of urban AC and urban talk programs, similar in format to KHHT and KJLH. (Only afterwards did KKBT change its call letters and name to KRBV, "V-100".) In addition, KDAY brought Steve Harvey on board on Memorial Day weekend in 2006; he had been released by KKBT the previous year. Weeks later, rival KKBT signed on Tom Joyner to carry his syndicated morning show there; however, in December 2006, KKBT would dismiss Joyner due to low ratings, partly attributed to Harvey's success.
On July 23, 2007, KDAY and sister station KDAI in Ontario temporarily switched from an urban contemporary format to rhythmic contemporary under the consultancy of Harry Lyles and newly installed program director Theo. In a statement to the website AllAccess.com, Lyles commented to the changes: "I am very excited and thrilled to be working with Don McCoy, Roy Laughlin and Theo. All we're doing is playing to the taste of Los Angeles and if we play what they want, they will listen. With PPM coming, this will make things a lot more interesting in Los Angeles." The format turnback might have been spurred by Magic's sale of KWIE. Originally, the KDAY call letters were intended to be dropped in favor of the station changing to "Wild 93.5" and picking up the KWIE calls in its place. For a time, the station only referenced itself as simply "93.5" on air until it could come up with a name and a call sign to fit the rhythmic format. This happened in July 2007, when the sale of KWIE ("Wild 96.1") to Liberman Broadcasting was completed and that station became KRQB. The KWIE call letters moved to the Ontario station, which at the time held the call letters KDAI. After the sale was completed, the format tweak ended up being only temporary; the intent was for KWIE listeners in the Riverside/San Bernardino area to migrate to the 93.5 FM signal as KDAY reverted to urban contemporary the following August.
On April 8, 2008, Radio One inked a deal with KDAY which saw the station pick up the former "Beat" logo and several syndicated shows from Radio One. The move came after Radio One sold KRBV to Bonneville International, who in turn dropped KRBV's urban AC format the previous day; that station is now KKLQ. From that point, the station used the slogan "The Beat of LA", a nod to the popular hip hop station during the 1990s and early 2000s. Michael Baisden, host of the syndicated afternoon show Love Lust and Lies, returned to Los Angeles on KDAY on August 18, 2008, as KRBV previously aired the show until the format switch.
On August 14, 2008, KDAY's signal was upgraded from 3.4 kW to 4.2 kW thanks to a new transmitter that gave the station more coverage in the Greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. The new tower replaced its former one which had been in use for fifty years. Another move was the altering of its nainstream urban format, as KDAY tweaked its direction to a hybrid urban AC/urban talk approach — a direction similar to urban AC, but featuring current adult-friendly R&B music with on-air talk personalities and some Hip-Hop product — targeting an 18-49 audience. Most of KDAY's programming was being filled by syndicated shows during the day, except for DJ Theo's slow-jam show "Theo After Hours", which aired live weekdays from 8 p.m. to midnight. The move also ended the simulcasts of both KDAY and KWIE, as the latter flipped to an Inland Empire-focused rhythmic adult contemporary format as "FLO 93.5" on the same day.
Despite the changes, there had been criticism from listeners over KDAY's decision to move away from live airstaff and hip-hop music to one that featured syndicated shows and an urban AC/talk format, claiming that the owners had ruined the legacies of both KDAY and The Beat. Those upset with the new approach predicted its demise as it was already tried before at KKBT, where it failed; they also felt that Los Angeles could not support two Adult R&B outlets (the other being KJLH, as KHHT is a rhythmic AC outlet aimed at Hispanics).
According to station management, the decision to tweak the format was due to Arbitron's plans to implement the Portable People Meter (PPM) in the Los Angeles radio market and where they believe they can tap into certain areas where they can attract the African American audience. The new changes resulted in R&R and Nielsen BDS removing the station from the Urban reporting radio panel in its August 29, 2008 issue.
Return to classic hip-hop
There had been hints of possible changes at KDAY coming throughout mid-2008, which became evident in the station's decision to replace Mo'Nique's syndicated show in October 2008 for more music-driven local content. Another move would come with programming director Theo's exit several weeks later, with Adrian "AD" Scott becoming interim PD in addition to his Operations Manager duties. As a result, KDAY made a shift back to an urban format and was reinstated to the R&R/BDS Urban panel in January 2009. The following March, KDAY re-added local air personalities to its lineup, with DJ Dense taking middays and Tha Goodfellas, who had been handling afternoons and weekends, taking the evening slot. The Steve Harvey morning show was dropped on May 29, 2009, but later resurfaced on KJLH. In addition, Michael Baisden's nationally syndicated show, which aired in afternoon drive, was dropped on July 31, 2009. This was followed by Keith Sweat's nationally syndicated show, The Keith Sweat Hotel.
At the "Fresh Fest" concert in Downtown Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre, hints were made on stage that a full-blown format flip to resemble the original KDAY's classic hip-hop sound would occur on Monday, August 17, 2009 at 7:30 a.m. At that time, the station dropped the branding of "The Beat" and revert to KDAY. The new logo was shown on all stage banners and screen graphics.
As suggested by the station's imaging at the concert, the change did occur that Monday morning with Boyz II Men's "End of the Road" signaling the end of the old format and Snoop Dogg's "Gin & Juice" ushering in the new format. Station spots between songs indicated that the previous syndicated fare was a programming mistake on the part of KDAY that did not reflect what Los Angeles fans wanted and that the station would "never do that again". It officially left Los Angeles as the largest market without an urban contemporary station, replacing Houston in that distinction. A month later, KWIE would return to simulcasting KDAY under new call letters KDEY.
In November 2009, station management at KDAY hired veteran programming consultants Bill Tanner and Steve Smith to help in the evolution of the station alongside programming director Adrian Scott, new operations manager Brian Bridgman, and new general manager Zeke Chaidez. Tanner explained what was in store for KDAY's future: "Brian, Steve and I have offered some refinements based on our many years of experience in Los Angeles ... We're just getting started with the music. We will be adding jocks and more surprises in the weeks ahead." On-air music mixing returned to the station with the additions of DJ Mr. AD, DJ Eddy Express, DJ Class1c, and DJ Dense.
On December 27, 2010, a deal was announced for Magic Broadcasting to sell KDAY and KDEY to SoCal935, LLC for $35 million. At the time, SoCal935's principal investors Warren Chang and John Hearne also had a financial stake in Riverside rhythmic top 40 station KQIE. The FCC approved the sale on December 8, 2011; however, even after three extensions of time to consummate the sale, the transfer of ownership never took place.
Another proposed sale of KDAY/KDEY was announced April 10, 2013, this time to RBC Communications, a group led by Chinese/Hong Kong broadcaster Phoenix Television and its editor-in-chief and current affairs anchor Anthony Yuen. By October, however, RBC had pulled out of the deal, marking the second failed attempt by Magic to divest the two stations.
On June 7, 2015, KDAY began carrying Art Laboe's syndicated six-hour Sunday-night oldies program The Art Laboe Connection. Previously, the show was aired on KHHT until February 2015, when that station dropped its rhythmic oldies format and switched to urban as KRRL.
KDEY dropped its simulcast of KDAY again in February 2017, as that station flipped to an urban format targeting its local Inland Empire market as "Wild 93.5". Before the switch, Meruelo filed a special temporary authority for KDEY by reducing power to determine any possible co-channel interference issues. However, after just seven months, KDEY would return to simulcasting with KDAY for a third time on October 30, 2017.
On May 9, 2017, Emmis Broadcasting sold KDAY competitor KPWR to Meruelo Group for $82.75 million; Meruelo began operating KPWR that July. As a result of the acquisition and retaining KPWR's rhythmic contemporary format, air staff and management, Meruelo announced that it would relocate the KDAY studios to Burbank alongside KPWR. Under Meruelo's ownership, KDAY/KDEY would refocus its programming on classic hip-hop and rhythmic throwbacks to avoid overlap.
As of 2017, KDAY's musical direction features a mix of classic hip-hop/R&B and rhythmic oldies. As such, KDAY competes in the Los Angeles radio market with urban contemporary station KRRL and urban adult contemporary outlets KTWV and KJLH.
History of the 93.5 FM frequency in Los Angeles
The 93.5 FM frequency, licensed to Redondo Beach, California, signed on in 1961 as KAPP, a station owned by South Bay Broadcasting Company. The license was granted after the applications for KPOL-FM and KNX-FM were denied. Chuck Johnson and Lonnie Cook came to 93.5 from 103.9 in Inglewood. The frequency was shared as the signal's programming came from Redondo Beach in the daytime, and the pop, blues, doo wop, and jazz format being aired by Johnson and Cook (from Chuck's home) at night. It has been determined that their FM top 40 chart is the oldest one known to exist. In 1960, Alan Freed, who signed off at WABC (AM) in New York City, appeared for a short time on KDAY.
The station changed its callsign to KKOP with its sale to Southern California Associated Newspapers in 1965 and began playing mellow pop music. The transmitter moved to Torrance in the 1970s. In 1978, KKOP became KFOX-FM upon its sale to the former operators of KFOX at 1280 AM (now KFRN). Like its predecessor, KFOX-FM played country music. The format in the early 1980s was an adult contemporary hit music station. In 1981-82, 93.5 KFOX employed LA's youngest disc jockey at the time, a 16-year-old student of Torrance High School, Brett Nordhoff, who later changed his on-air name to Kidd Kelly.
By 1983, KFOX had evolved into a multi-ethnic, multilingual format such as Radio Rangarang (Persian), Radio Omid (Persian) and Radio Naeeri (Armenian). In the mid-1990s, this became "Radio Korea USA" with an all-Korean format. This continued until 1999, when the Church of the Foursquare Gospel, which moved the KFSG call letters and format to 93.5. This switch was a condition of selling 96.3 KXOL-FM, acquired by 96.3's new owners, Spanish Broadcasting System, specifically for the purpose of relocating KFSG. In 2002, the lease arrangement with Foursquare ended, and SBS switched to a Spanish-language outlet, first as KMJR ("La Mejor") and later KZAB.
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