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|City||Los Angeles, California|
|Broadcast area||Greater Los Angeles Area|
|Slogan||The Rock of Southern California|
|Frequency||95.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1947 (as KECA-FM)|
|Format||FM/HD1: Album-oriented rock (AOR)
KABC on HD2
|HAAT||954.0 meters (3,129.9 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||LOS Angeles|
|Former callsigns||KECA-FM (1947–1954)
(Radio License Holdings LLC)
Listen Live (via iHeartRadio)
KLOS is a commercial FM album-oriented rock (AOR) radio station based in Los Angeles, California, that debuted in 1969. The station is owned by Cumulus Media and is home to "The Heidi & Frank" morning show. The station has studios on La Cienega Boulevard in the West Adams district of Los Angeles, and its transmitter is based on Mount Wilson.
On December 30, 1947, KECA-FM began broadcasting on 95.5 MHz, simulcasting the programming of AM station KECA/790. The FM station was owned by ABC since the beginning, and the call letters of the AM and FM stations were accordingly changed to KABC and KABC-FM in the 1950s. In 1960, KABC adopted an all-talk format.
On January 1, 1968, due to new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules requiring FM stations to have separate programming from their AM counterparts, KABC-FM experimented with an all-news format, the first station in Los Angeles to have such a format. This experiment did not last long, as the format was dropped on March 11, 1968, the day that KFWB started its own all-news format.
KABC-FM adopted a progressive rock format and programmed a taped format that was run on co-owned stations throughout the country known as "Love." The taped programming was voicetracked by Brother John Rydgren. The taped format did not last long. Live, locally programmed free-form/progressive rock programming was the norm on most ABC-FM owned and operated stations by mid-1970. In 1971, the station acquired the KLOS call letters to avoid confusion with its AM talk station. In the fall of 1971, ABC-owned FM Stations Vice President Allen Shaw and KLOS Program Director Tom Yates launched the first album-oriented rock (AOR) format in American radio, playing only the top cuts from the best-selling rock albums. The slogan was "Rock 'N Stereo." The initial DJ line up included Jeff Gonzer, J.J. Jackson, Jim Ladd, and Damion. KLOS promoted a huge outdoor rock concert called "California Jam" on April 6, 1974 at the Ontario, California Motor Speedway. By 1972, KLOS had become the top-rated rock FM station in Los Angeles.
In the spring of 1987, VP/GM Bill Sommers hired long time rock radio programmer Charlie West to be the new Program Director for KLOS. West hired Stephanie Mondello as the Music Director for the station. By fall, West secured Mark & Brian for morning drive. Under West's direction, the stations ratings steadily grew, and by 1988, KLOS emerged as L.A.'s album-rock leader by finishing fifth among all stations in the market with a stunning 4.3 share, up from a 3.6 during the last ratings period and its highest ranking since it scored a 4.8 in the fall of 1985.
Charlie West left KLOS in early 1989. Stephanie Mondello took over programming duties directing all key decisions and overall revenue and ratings strategies. The station maintained its fifth-place ranking overall in the market and reached the #1 position in all target demos; defeating main rivals, KLSX, KROQ, and KQLZ (Pirate Radio.) Mondello left KLOS in the fall of 1990.
In the early 1990s, with the popularity of the grunge-based alternative rock format on rival KROQ-FM, KLOS altered their format, dropping the old jocks and most of the classic rock. This did not last long, nor was it a ratings success. Within a year, the new music was mostly jettisoned, and the classic rock brought back.
In 1997, John Duncan was hired as program director (previously at KYYS in Kansas City) and took the station in an adult rock direction. Within eight months, KLOS moved from #18 to #5 among 25-54 adults, reclaiming its status as L.A.'s #1 adult rock station. While at KLOS, Duncan hired Jim Ladd, Garth Kemp and other long-time personalities. It was also during this period that the station ran a billboard campaign with lines such as, "We lost our mind for a moment, but we're okay now." Duncan left the station in late 1998, on the heels of Mark & Brian's "Black Hoe" promotion.
In 2005, KLOS became the last rock station standing when Arrow 93 switched formats to become Jack FM. Jack FM was a format out of Vancouver, British Columbia which mixed alternative, classic rock, and Top 40 songs from the 70s to the present. It is noted for having no disc jockeys, a huge playlist, and a pseudo-renegade attitude. For their first two years, they were a runaway ratings success, rocketing to the top of many key demographic areas. As usual, KLOS stuck with the tried-and-true.
Also in 2005, long-time DJ Al Ramirez, who worked the night shift, died at the age of 54 of natural causes.
KLOS is home to many prominent progressive and AOR rock DJs from Los Angeles radio history. Many of the personalities that made KLOS great are not mentioned in this very edited history of former DJ's that rocked the 80's and made KLOS the top 5 station in Los Angeles. To mention a few, Bob Coburn was already at KLOS prior to the Arrow/Jack FM flip, and can be heard still on "Rockline Replay" (a live nationally syndicated call-in show with Bob Coburn, taped Wednesday nights). Coburn had enjoyed previous, lengthy runs as KLOS jocks, since the 1980s. Coburn was also at KMET in the 1970s. Others that were full-time personalities were Mark & Brian, Geno Mitchelini, Joe Benson, Steve Downes and full-time fill-in Lynda Clayton. Later, Cynthia Fox held the daytime shift. She was a long-time jock on KMET. Ex-KMET jock Denise Westwood can be heard weekends and does the occasional fill-in. Former program director Rita Wilde, now on KSWD, had been choosing the music on KLOS for decades, and can now be considered a rock radio vet herself. Joe Benson who used to be an afternoon DJ is now over on frequency 100.3 - The Sound. Marc Coppola (now Middays on KGB-FM San Diego), was on KLOS in 1977 and again as one of the hosts when KLOS aired Westwood One's 'Rock 'N Roll Never Forgets.' Damion and Steve Downes both co-hosted with Marc from 1986 to 1990
Renowned veteran disc jockey Jim Ladd is another ex-KLOS employee. He was a former DJ on KNAC (in its progressive days), KMET during its glory days, KLOS, KLSX, and "The Edge." Often dubbed "The Last DJ"—after the Tom Petty song that was written about him—Jim Ladd was allowed unusual latitude in selecting the music for his show, one of the few jocks in the country still enjoying this coveted privilege. Ladd's show was routinely the #1 music-based show in its timeslot, if not #1 overall. Sadly he was let go.
Joe Reiling has also recently returned to KLOS after an even longer absence. He was last heard in the early 80's. Joe started the Local Music Show (later renamed, Local Licks) He does the occasional fill-in. Most of Joe's time away from the station found him hosting his own Alternative Rock show worldwide on AFN (American Forces Network and formerly AFRTS, Armed Forces Radio and Television Services) Joe was also involved in managing, producing and programming the inflight audio entertainment for many domestic and international airlines, and, Air Force One.
Dion was another part-time jock at KLOS that had been on overnights for several years. Dion was also at KLSX when they played classic rock.
Sunday nights/Monday mornings KLOS used to air a public affairs call-in talk show hosted by longtime KLOS personality, Frank Sontag. He celebrated his 20th anniversary doing the Impact Program in late November 2007. Frank was part of the Mark & Brian morning team as well and ran the control board, also contributing to the show at times. In 2009, Frank left the station and in 2013, became the host of the Christian talk and discussion program, The Frank Sontag show on KKLA-FM 99.5 FM, the Intersection of Faith and Reason.
In 2006, the station came under ownership of Citadel Broadcasting after it merged with The Walt Disney Company's ABC Radio. Citadel merged with Cumulus Media on September 16, 2011. In October 2006, KLOS restructured its daily lineup of radio hosts, following Mark & Brian's show. Cynthia Fox, "Uncle Joe" Benson and Jim Ladd saw each of their daily airshifts increased by one hour. However, this has resulted in the (temporary) dismissal of former evening DJ Gary Moore (returning in the Fall of 2007 and now can be heard weekday evenings). Former overnight jock (ex-KQLZ) Mark Miller was only heard hosting Saturday morning's "The Best of Mark & Brian Saturday Special" shows, from 6-10 a.m. Miller's daily shift was replaced with automated programming, billed as "KLOS, After Hours", which runs from 1-5 a.m., Tuesday through Friday mornings. Although the same classic rock format is generally followed, occasionally KLOS delves into deep cuts & live versions of songs that are not usually played during the dayshifts.
The long-revered "Breakfast With The Beatles", hosted by Chris Carter, is heard on Sunday mornings from 9 am to 12 pm. Prior to hosting Breakfast With the Beatles, Carter was heard on Channel 103.1/KACD-FM in 2000, when they played Adult Alternative music. He is also the former bass player & producer for Dramarama, and produced and supervised the music for the film Mayor of the Sunset Strip, a rock documentary about influential LA DJ Rodney Bingenheimer of Modern Rock KROQ-FM, which in 2003 was nominated for Best Documentary by the Independent Spirit Awards.
Periodically, KLOS abandoned its format with an "A to Z" special, where songs from the KLOS library were played alphabetically by title. Running 24 hours a day (with breaks only for the Mark & Brian show, and Jim Ladd's show), it generally lasted about 2 weeks with no repeated songs. Unlike many similar specials, the KLOS A to Z unearthed a large number of rarely heard songs. This marked a stark contrast with KLOS' regular playlist, which typically features an extremely narrow and repetitive selection of safe, familiar staples. In its final years the A to Z special aired around the Christmas holiday. Since the firing of program director Rita Wilde, the A to Z countdown has not aired on KLOS. However, their new competitor The Sound recently revamped the idea with a very similar, though shorter, A to Z countdown of familiar and deep tracks.
Former Shows on KLOS
Jim Ladd used to bring his brand of free-form radio, interrupting the regular classic rock radio format, Monday through Thursday from 10 P.M. to 2 A.M. and Sundays from 9 P.M. to Midnight, with Ladd picking the music personally, often based on listener requests, and playing it in thematic sets. Listeners call in requests/ideas or post them on Ladd's MySpace page. Every Wednesday night at midnight, Ladd devotes an hour to Headsets, which combines music with a slightly more "sonic" quality (designed to be listened to in headphones, or with no background noise interfering), spoken-word poetry, and audio clips from movies & TV. On Sundays, Ladd brings "Theme of Consciousness", with the entire content of the 3-hour show devoted to a singular word or "theme", and chosen entirely by the listening audience, by phone or by MySpace.
Mark & Brian was a sketch comedy show that aired Monday through Friday mornings from 6 to 10 A.M. until August 17, 2012, with highlights from the show aired from 5-6 A.M., and a Saturday recap of the week, featuring the best of Mark & Brian, aired from 6 to 10 A.M.
- "Billboard - Google Books". Books.google.com. 1971-04-10. Retrieved 2011-01-04.
- "Billboard - Google Books". Books.google.com. 1972-03-11. Retrieved 2011-01-04.
- "Background: The history of "Free-form" FM Radio in L.A.". Michael Bloom Photography.
- "Frank Sontag Joins KKLA".
- "Cumulus now owns Citadel Broadcasting". Atlanta Business Journal. September 16, 2011. Retrieved September 16, 2011.
- "Legendary DJ Jim Ladd is out at KLOS". Orange County Register. October 26, 2011. Retrieved October 26, 2011.
- 95.5 KLOS Online
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KLOS
- Radio-Locator information on KLOS
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KLOS
- List of "grandfathered" FM radio stations in the U.S.