|City||El Cajon, California|
|Broadcast area||Greater San Diego|
|Slogan||"San Diego's #1 Hit Music Station" (primary)|
"All The Hits" (secondary)
|Frequency||93.3 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1961 (as KECR-FM)|
|Format||FM/HD1: Top 40 (CHR)|
HD2: LGBT community, dance ("Pride Radio")
|HAAT||147 meters (482 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||K-HiTS (reference to station's top 40 format)|
|Former callsigns||KECR (1961-1990)|
American Top 40
Premiere Networks (Hit Nation)
Pride Radio (HD2)
|Owner||iHeartMedia, Inc. |
(Citicasters Licenses, Inc.)
|Sister stations||KGB-FM, KIOZ, KLSD, KMYI, KOGO, KSSX|
Listen Live (HD2)
KHTS-FM (93.3 FM) is a top 40 (CHR) station that is licensed to El Cajon, California and serves the San Diego market. The station is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc., through licensee Citicasters, and brands as "Channel 93-3", sounded out as "Channel 9-3-3". The station's studios are located in San Diego's Serra Mesa area, while the transmitter is located in Chollas View, which is east of Balboa Park and west of Emerald Hills, sharing facilities with KLSD. The station is available in HD Radio; the HD2 subchannel airs an LGBT-leaning dance hits format, carrying iHeart's Pride Radio network.
Currently, KHTS-FM is the most listened to radio station in all of the San Diego region, averaging nearly 1,000,000 listeners.
Early beginnings, KECR (1961–1995)
The station signed on in 1961 as KECR, later becoming KECR-FM. For most of its existence prior to 1995, the station was owned by the religious Family Radio organization and aired its talk radio programming. Originally, the station maintained a localized board operator to air local news and weather, but when satellite technology became available, it became a repeater for KEAR in San Francisco. This religious format continued until 1995, when Jacor Communications purchased KECR-FM for $13.8 million. Family Radio now broadcasts in San Diego on KECR (910 AM). This acquisition marked Jacor's entry into San Diego. Shortly after the acquisition closed, the station acquired the KHTS calls.
Channel 933 launches (1996–1998)
In March 1996, KHTS began stunting with a simulcast of Tampa, Florida-based WFLZ-FM (coincidentally, also on 93.3 FM in that market) in an early form of voicetracking, allowing Jacor to plan for and hire for a new station without having to depend on a commercial-free "many-songs-in-a-row" gimmick during the transition period. This brought personalities such as Bubba The Love Sponge to the market, along with WFLZ referencing San Diego weather and events in their programming. This also allowed sufficient time to finish construction on the studios, which at the time, were located on Pacific Highway, about a mile from Pechanga Arena. The simulcast was broken on August 30, 1996, with the stunting shifting to a 43-hour loop of remixes of the then-popular song "Macarena" by Los Del Rio.
On September 1, 1996 at 10 a.m., the stunting shifted to a broadcast of that day's San Diego Chargers game in place of XETRA-AM, which is required by law to carry Mexican presidential addresses under its Mexican radio license. At 4 p.m. that day, KHTS officially flipped to a dance-heavy Rhythmic contemporary format, branded as "Channel 933". The station would also air attack liners against rivals XHITZ-FM, KFMB-FM, and KKLQ; the latter two have since changed formats.
Nationwide/Jacor merger, Clear Channel acquisition (1998–2003)
By summer 1998, KHTS would move away from its dance-heavy approach to a more mainstream direction due to the Nationwide/Jacor merger. The merger would have brought KKLQ into the same ownership, but that station was spun off to Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (now Univision Radio) in order to comply with the FCC ownership limits. During the first week of August in 1998, KHTS flipped to its present CHR format, inheriting the playlist from KKLQ (now KLNV). The station also launched Club 933, a dance mix show featuring dance remixes of contemporary hits. By 2000, outdoor advertising firm Clear Channel (through its radio and communications division) took ownership of the station. During this time, the station's transmitter was on Mount San Miguel, given El Cajon being its city of license. In 2001, the transmitter moved to its present site, sharing an antenna with sister station KLSD, in order to provide better coverage of the San Diego metropolitan area. The station's studios were also moved to their present location in Serra Mesa. Despite all these changes, the station remains licensed to El Cajon.
New technology (2003–2013)
On May 28, 2003, the station's callsign received the -FM suffix, becoming KHTS-FM. This was a legal change in order to avoid confusion of an AM talk radio station with the same call letters. The callsign meaning also became "Hits" to reference the top 40 format. From 2003 until 2009, the station was the San Diego home for AJ Machado (now at KXSN), at which time the show was called the Playhouse. In 2004, the station began RDS broadcasting in preparation for a commencement of HD Radio broadcasting in 2005, showing song titles and other text information on certified devices. The technology was also fitted to sister station KGB-FM, and has since been fitted to the other three FM sisters in the cluster.
During the Harris Fire in October 2007, KHTS-FM suspended all music programming to air news updates from AM sister station KOGO, which applied to all of its sister stations. In addition, the news updates included the Witch Fire. This began on October 21, while normal programming resumed on the 24th at 11:00pm.
The station began to maintain a rhythmic-leaning sound (with occasional alternative music tracks) in 2013 while continuing to air dance mixes on weekends. This was mainly to compete with KEGY, but also due to XHITZ-FM de-emphasizing hip-hop around this time.
iHeart ownership (2014–present)
On September 16, 2014, Clear Channel spun off its radio and communications divisions into a new company; KHTS-FM then became a part of iHeartMedia, its present owner. At the same time, the station began airing programming from iHeartRadio. The station also unveiled a new logo, using the green and purple from the previous logo, but now adding a green decimal point for its frequency. Despite this, the numbers are still pronounced individually.
In 2016, most of the station's hip-hop related programs were transferred to sister station KSSX — the only exception being tracks that charted mainstream and on the Billboard Hot 100. KHTS-FM then reverted into a mainstream approach, which would only last until April 2017, when "Despacito" charted. In July 2017, the station became the San Diego affiliate for AT40, and in February 2018, the station began airing the weekly, network-wide iHeartRadio Countdown show, hosted by KIIS-FM personality JoJo Wright.
Today, the station maintains a Latin-leaning sound (mainly to compete with XHGLX-FM, with regular reggaeton music tracks), and continues to air dance mixes six days a week except Sunday, with continuous mixes Friday and Saturday nights.
Notable former airstaff
The following lists notable past airstaff, as calculated by the Wayback Machine:
- AJ Machado (now at KXSN)
- Boy Toy Jesse (now heard on sister station KMYI)
- Sisanie (now co-hosts On Air with Ryan Seacrest which also airs at KMYI)
- Stephanie Sidela (until departure in 2018, co-produced mornings and co-hosted Saturday nights; now at WTIC-FM)
- Frankie V (now at KSSX)
- Nathan Fast (now at KPLX in Dallas)
- Letty B (dropped from Top 40 affiliates carrying the program in March 2019, now co-hosts mornings at WMIA-FM as of April 1, 2019)
- Alex (continues at KIIS-FM)
For its entire run, the station was the San Diego affiliate for the Evolution Beatport Show. This show ended its run in December 2016.
KHTS-FM is amongst the first HD Radio stations in San Diego. The HD1 subchannel is the digitized standard signal as required by law, the other current subchannels are as follows:
Previously the HD subchannels have carried the following:
- HD2: Until iHeart took ownership, Mega, a Latin CHR format, aired from 2005-2013.
- HD3: Never signed on air, rumored to be all-news as a proposed Air America affiliate at one point in 2007 just before KLSD changed formats, it never came to fruition.
- "Heftel Takes Sole Possession Of Miami Duopoly In $19.8 Million Deal" (PDF). Radio and Records. October 6, 1995. p. 4. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "Rumors" (PDF). Radio and Records. March 22, 1996. p. 18. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "KHTS/SD Channels In On CHR/Rhythmic" (PDF). Radio and Records. September 6, 1996. pp. 3, 28. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "Skinning The Cat Six Ways, Jacor Style" (PDF). Radio and Records. September 4, 1998. pp. 46, 48. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "KGB and KOGO, San Diego". Fybush.com. March 27, 2009. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "KHTS-FM". FCCData.org. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "Geena The Latina Rolls Into Mornings At KHTS". All Access. All Access Music Group. March 13, 2006. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- Venta, Lance (December 5, 2015). "Sisanie Moves to On Air with Ryan Seacrest". RadioInsight. RadioBB Networks. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- Lee, Christine (September 17, 2018). "Meet Steph our newest Craig and Company member". 965TIC.radio.com. Entercom. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- Venta, Lance (September 14, 2018). "Nathan Fast Takes Mornings at 99.5 The Wolf Dallas". RadioInsight. RadioBB Networks. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "Mack in the Morning with Letty B". Inside Radio. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
- "San Diego HD-Radio Progress Report 2007". Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 36.