|City of license||San Francisco, California|
|Broadcast area||San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, California|
|Branding||"98.1 Kiss FM"|
|Slogan||"The Bay's Throwback Old School!"|
|Frequency||98.1 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||July 17, 1958 (as KAFE)|
|Callsign meaning||KISS Q|
|Former callsigns||KAFE (1958-1965)
(AMFM Broadcasting Licenses, LLC)
|Sister stations||KIOI, KKSF, KMEL, KNEW, KOSF, KYLD|
KISQ is a radio station licensed to San Francisco that features a Rhythmic Oldies format on the 98.1 FM frequency. It is owned by iHeartMedia. The station transmits its signal from Mount Beacon atop the Marin Headlands above Sausalito, California, while studios are located in the SoMa district of San Francisco.
98.1 FM signed on the air on July 17, 1958 as KAFE.
The frequency was the former home of KABL-FM ("Cable"), which once programmed a beautiful music/easy listening format. In the early 1990s, the station changed its format to soft AC, and competed directly with KOIT. In spring of 1993, KABL tweaked its format by dropping all 60s and 70s songs from the playlist and focusing on soft AC hits from the 80s and 90s. KABL-FM relaunched as "B98". The new format was short-lived as KABL-FM would change its format again in early 1994.
In 1994, KABL-FM (B98) switched to a classic hits format, playing songs mostly from the 70s. The call letters were changed to KBGG-FM (Big 98.1). In 1995, Shamrock Broadcasting of Burbank, CA reached a deal to sell KBGG, as well as KNEW and KSAN to Chancellor Media.
As KISQ today
On July 22, 1997, Chancellor Media (later to become AMFM, Inc., and still later to merge with Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia)) would flip Big-98 to KISQ and the 70s format gave way to Urban AC, and branded as "98.1 Kiss FM". Despite the format, KISQ leaned heavily on a format similar to a Classic Soul/Urban Oldies format, with a playlist of more old school R&B music with occasionally few new R&B songs (mostly mainstream with no neo-soul). This may have helped garner a diverse audience of blacks, Latinos, and whites who listen to R&B and this station in particular. The station's owners may have also formatted the playlist this way not only to protect longtime Urban Contemporary-sister station KMEL, which plays some old school in addition to current Hip Hop/R&B, but to differentiate itself from competitor KBLX, which plays new and old R&B. Since September 2006, KISQ has also been in competition with KMVQ, a Rhythmic Adult station, but when Clear Channel decided to gravitate most California urban AC stations to rhythmic AC stations (including KHHT in Los Angeles), KISQ retained the Mainstream Urban AC format. Mediabase began reporting the station's playlist, with newer music of those sourced from rhythmic AC stations. By 2008, KMVQ took on the Top 40 format at the time the "MOViN'" format declined in popularity, allowing KISQ to evolve its format more in a rhythmic AC direction.
By 2011, the station was described as having a Gold-based Rhythmic Oldies format, with no currents. It also began playing a few new wave hits from the 1980s from artists such as The Police and Human League. At the same time as the format adjustment, the station changed its logo to one bearing resemblance to a logo most urban oldies/rhythmic oldies used during the peak time of the format in the late 1990s/early 2000s.
In June 2015, the station added "Throwback" to its slogan while adding some classic hip hop in the mix, removing the new wave and Disco tracks from the station (most of which moved over to sister KOSF), in order to better compete with KRBQ. The next month, the station reduced most of the classic hip hop tracks in favor of more familiar upbeat R&B and dance tracks, as well as ballads.
- Official Website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KISQ
- Radio-Locator information on KISQ
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KISQ
- List of "grandfathered" FM radio stations in the U.S.