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KISQ 98.1 The Breeze 2016 logo
City San Francisco, California
Broadcast area San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, California
Branding 98.1 The Breeze
Slogan #1 for Relaxing Favorites at Work
Frequency 98.1 MHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date July 17, 1958 (as KAFE)
Format Soft AC
ERP 75,000 watts
HAAT 309.6 meters
Class B
Facility ID 59964
Callsign meaning KISS Q (former slogan)
Former callsigns KAFE (1958-1965)
KABL-FM (1965-1994)
KBGG (1994-1997)
Owner iHeartMedia
(AMFM Broadcasting Licenses, LLC)
Sister stations KIOI, KKSF, KMEL, KNEW, KOSF, KYLD
Webcast Listen Live

KISQ (98.1 MHz, 98.1 The Breeze), is a commercial FM radio station licensed to San Francisco, California that features a Soft AC format. It is owned by iHeartMedia. The station transmits its signal from Mount Beacon atop the Marin Headlands above Sausalito, California, while its studios are located in the SoMa district of San Francisco.


As KAFE[edit]

98.1 FM first signed on the air on July 17, 1958 as KAFE.

As KABL-FM[edit]

The frequency was the long-time home of KABL-FM ("Cable," denoting cable cars, a symbol of San Francisco). The station once programmed a beautiful music/easy listening format, also heard on 960 KABL-AM. In the early 1990s, the station changed its format to soft AC, and competed directly with KOIT, which had successfully made the same transition from Easy Listening to Soft AC. In spring of 1993, KABL-FM tweaked its format by dropping all 60s and 70s songs from the playlist and focusing on soft AC hits from the 80s and 90s, now calling itself "B98". The new format was short-lived as KABL-FM would change its format again in early 1994.

As KBGG[edit]

In 1994, KABL-FM switched to a classic hits format, playing songs mostly from the 70s. The call letters were changed to KBGG-FM, and the station rebranded as "K-Big 98.1." with Jay Peterson as music director. 1995, Shamrock Broadcasting of Burbank, California reached a deal to sell KBGG, as well as KNEW and KSAN, to Chancellor Media.

As KISQ[edit]

Logo, 1997-2009
Logo, 2010
Logo, 2010-2012
Logo, 2015-2016

On July 22, 1997, after playing "No Matter What" by Badfinger, KBGG began stunting with sounds of radio tuning and ground control transmissions, while promoting a new format to come. At 1 p.m. the next day, Chancellor Media (later to become AMFM, Inc., and then Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia)) flipped KBGG to Urban AC as KISQ, "98.1 Kiss FM". The first song on "Kiss FM" was "Let's Groove" by Earth, Wind & Fire.[1][2] 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 its playlist, 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.

As 98.1 The Breeze[edit]

On April 13, 2016, at 2 p.m., after playing "Kiss and Say Goodbye" by The Manhattans and "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men, KISQ flipped back to Soft AC as "98.1 The Breeze." The first song on "The Breeze" was "Easy" by The Commodores.[3][4] Core artists of the format include Michael Bolton, Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, Elton John and Celine Dion.

The new format positions KISQ up against KOIT’s older demographics (KISQ registered a 2.3 share in Kiss's last book, the March 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM ratings, while KOIT had a 4.6 share).


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°51′04″N 122°29′53″W / 37.851°N 122.498°W / 37.851; -122.498