KMKY began as KLS in 1922 on 1200 kHz. It moved to 1220 kHz in 1927 then 1440 kHz in 1928. It moved to 1280 kHz in 1937 then 1310 kHz in 1941 as a result of the NARBA agreement. In 1945, when the station was owned by the Warner Brothers of Oakland, no relation to the movie studio, it changed its call letters to KWBR and changed its format to focus on an African-American audience. In 1959, it was bought by the owners of Memphis radio station WDIA, and the call letters were changed to KDIA. During the 1960s through the 1980s, the station was the premier soul and funk station in the San Francisco Bay Area. The station helped launch the careers of such musicians as Sly and the Family Stone.