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KROQ-FM

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KROQ-FM
KROQ 2020 Logo.png
CityPasadena, California
Broadcast areaGreater Los Angeles Area
Branding106.7 KROQ
SloganThe World Famous KROQ
Frequency106.7 MHz (HD Radio)
First air dateNovember 1962 (as KPPC-FM)
FormatFM/HD1: Alternative rock
HD2: New wave/Classic alternative "The ROQ of the 80s"
ERP5,500 watts
5,600 watts with beam tilt
HAAT423 meters (1,388 ft)
ClassB
Facility ID28622
Transmitter coordinates34°11′49.21″N 118°15′32.07″W / 34.1970028°N 118.2589083°W / 34.1970028; -118.2589083Coordinates: 34°11′49.21″N 118°15′32.07″W / 34.1970028°N 118.2589083°W / 34.1970028; -118.2589083
Call sign meaningSounds like "K-rock"
Former call signsKPPC-FM (1962–1973)
OwnerEntercom
(Entercom License, LLC)
Sister stationsKAMP-FM, KCBS-FM, KNX, KRTH, KTWV
WebcastListen Live
Listen Live (HD2)
Websitekroq.radio.com
roqofthe80s.radio.com (HD2)

KROQ-FM (106.7 FM, pronounced "kay-rock") is a radio station licensed to Pasadena, California serving the Greater Los Angeles Area. Owned by Entercom, it broadcasts an alternative format, branding itself as The World Famous KROQ.

The station has studios at the intersection of Venice Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in the Crestview neighborhood in West Los Angeles. The transmitter is based in the Verdugo Mountains. It was the flagship station of Kevin and Bean (revamped as "Kevin in the Mornings With Allie & Jensen" in 2019) and former show Loveline, hosted originally by Jim "The Poorman" Trenton with Dr. Drew Pinsky, then by "Psycho" Mike Catherwood with Pinsky. The station's main competitor is iHeartMedia's KYSR.

History[edit]

KPPC[edit]

KPPC logo used during the freeform period

On April 23, 1962,[1] KPPC-FM signed on the air. It was owned by the Pasadena Presbyterian Church as a companion to its KPPC, a limited-hours AM radio station that had broadcast since 1924. In 1967, the Pasadena Presbyterian Church sold KPPC-AM-FM to Crosby-Avery Broadcasting for $310,000. The church had been attempting to sell the radio stations for a year; station manager Edgar Pierce said the church found commercial radio incompatible with the noncommercial nature of its other efforts.[2] Crosby-Avery was owned by Leon Crosby, a general manager of San Francisco's KMPX, a station that had just gone to a full-time freeform progressive rock format, and Lewis Avery, former partner in a national ad sales firm. With KMPX soaring to success but KPPC, with its middle-of-the-road format, ailing, Crosby and Avery brought in the architects of KMPX, Tom and Raechel Donahue, to turn around their new station in Southern California.[3]

Hosts included B. Mitchel Reed, Steven Segal (a.k.a. "The Obscene Steven Clean;" not related to the similarly named actor), Susan Carter (a.k.a. "Outrageous Nevada"), Barbara Birdfeather,[4] Jeff Gonzer (a.k.a. "Bonzo" Gonzer), Tom Donahue, Program Director (2014 Rock Radio Hall of Fame inductee) and DJ Les Carter, novelty music historian Dr. Demento, Charles Laquidara, Ted Alvy (a.k.a. "Cosmos Topper"), Elliot Mintz (whose late-night Sunday show played everything from Baba Ram Dass lectures to listener-created recordings), blues archivist Johnny Otis, Bernie Mitchell, "The Anonymous One", comedy troupes The Credibility Gap (featuring Harry Shearer, Richard Beebe, David L. Lander, Michael McKean), and The Firesign Theatre. Station promos were sung by the a cappella singing group The Persuasions. Other staff members included: Don Hall, Larry Woodside, DJ and production wizard Zachary Zenor, Joe Rogers (a.k.a. Mississippi Fats), Sam Kopper, Steve Fasching (a.k.a. "Stereo Steve"), the Pierce Family, and Ron Johnson (a.k.a. "Dr. Sound"). The following year, after a few bounced paychecks, dress code regulations, and other rules changes, The Donahues and the disc jockeys at both KMPX and KPPC walked out on the stations in what was called by some at the time as "The Great Hippie Strike." The former KMPX and KPPC staffers were later hired at Metromedia-owned KSAN in San Francisco and KMET in Los Angeles. KPPC hired new staffers and kept the freeform format, though the station floundered for several years following the strike.

In 1969, Crosby sold KPPC-AM-FM and KMPX to the National Science Network for $1.2 million.[5][6][7] Crosby used the funds to buy a then-silent San Francisco television station, KEMO-TV.[8] National Science Network's management of the KPPC stations was turbulent, capped by an October 1971 mass firing of the air staff,[9] but the period also included technical upgrades. NSN moved the studios out of the church basement and to 99 Chester Street in Pasadena and the transmitter to Flint Peak, with a slight power increase to 25,700 watts.[10]

KPPC-FM was the first station in Los Angeles to broadcast a stereo simulcast with a television station (a one-hour program with 'Leon Russell and Friends' in collaboration with PBS station KCET), and the first to broadcast with Sansui quadraphonic sound. It was also the first FM station in Los Angeles to use two transmitters simultaneously to produce sufficient power.[citation needed]

In 1971, Ludwig Wolfgang Frohlich, founder of the National Science Network and previous owner of an ad agency, died.[11][12][13][14][15][16] On his death, control of the estate was transferred to Ingrid and Thomas Burns.[17][18]

KROQ AM and KROQ-FM[edit]

Country music station KBBQ (1500 AM) in Burbank became KROQ in September 1972, changing its format to Top-40 and hiring established disc jockeys from other stations.[19] The new KROQ called itself the "ROQ of Los Angeles". In 1973, with National Science Network's estate selling off its assets, KROQ's owners bought KPPC-AM-FM (immediately divesting the AM station to meet then-current ownership limits), changed the calls to KROQ-FM and hired Shadoe Stevens to create a new rock format described as high-energy "all-cutting-edge-rock-all-the-time" and began simulcasting as "The ROQs of L.A.: Mother Rock!" Meanwhile, KPPC on 1240 AM was sold to Universal Broadcasting, a religious broadcaster, and remained on the air with its limited-schedule of Wednesday evening and Sunday operation until subsequent owners took the station off the air permanently in 1996.

The two stations were wildly successful initially with the new format, but poor money management plagued the enterprise. When concert promoter Ken Roberts (1941–2014) booked Sly and the Family Stone for one KROQ-sponsored show at the Los Angeles Coliseum and the station found itself unable to cover expenses, Roberts agreed to pay for the band to play the show in exchange for a small ownership stake in the station.[20] Roberts joined a sprawling ownership group which included a doctor, two dairymen, a political lobbyist, a secretary, and several other minor investors.[20] Roberts with his background in the music industry made him a logical choice for president of the struggling company in the minds of the other shareholders, and he was elected such at the first meeting he attended in 1974.[20]

Unfortunately, by 1974 the station's finances were already untenable following a year of commercial-free programming — a stunt implemented in an effort to gain market share.[20] The stations' debt load reached $7 million;[20] paychecks began to bounce and Shadoe Stevens and the bulk of the staff walked out, shutting the stations down. The closure would last for nearly two years.

1975 relaunch to 1999[edit]

In late 1975, the FCC ordered KROQ to return to the airwaves or surrender the stations' licenses.[21] With barebones equipment, KROQ returned to the airwaves, broadcasting initially from the transmitter location, followed by a penthouse suite in the Pasadena Hilton Hotel, then across the street from the Hilton (117 S. Los Robles).

Ken Roberts returned to the reborn station in a more forceful ownership role, buying out his partners one by one until he remained the sole owner of the station.[20] Shadoe Stevens was re-hired as a programming consultant and air personality with others like Los Angeles radio legends "The Obscene" Steven Clean and Frazer Smith.

KROQ's 1976 rebirth was perfectly timed with the emergence of punk rock in the late 1970s and new wave, and KROQ quickly became the voice of the burgeoning Los Angeles punk and new wave scene. When disc jockey Rodney Bingenheimer joined the station, he introduced many new bands on his massively influential shows such as The Ramones, Stray Cats and L.A.-based favorites The Runaways and The Go-Gos.[22] As punk expanded its hold on the music scene during the mid to late 1970s, and KROQ steadily adding more of it to their freeform format, this cemented their place in the Los Angeles market.[23] The station's proximity to Hollywood and the Los Angeles punk rock scene gave it a unique place in the development of this newer music and much later with the alternative rock genre. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, KROQ was quickly becoming one of the most influential radio stations in broadcast history.

In 1979, Shadoe Stevens once again left the station, with Rick Carroll taking over as program director, and took all of the new music and combined it in a Top 40 formatic structure.[23] By 1980, the station had fully committed to a post-new wave modern rock orientation. KROQ became an even greater success as the "Rock of the 80s" evolved. During that decade, the station mixed punk rock, such as The Ramones, The Clash and X, with New Wave, such as U2, Oingo Boingo, Talking Heads, The Police, The Cars, Devo, The Weirdos, Sparks, Fear, Berlin, Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys, Blondie, Ska and similar genres with artists such as English Beat, Fine Young Cannibals and 60s underground rocker Iggy Pop, and huge mainstream artists such as The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones. It was also not uncommon for certain KROQ dee-jays to play current hip-hop and soul/funk artists such as Arrested Development, Prince and Parliament Funkadelic.

Carroll, as a consultant, took the "Rock of the 80s" format to other stations, including 91X in San Diego, KOEU in Palm Springs, California, KMGN FM in Bakersfield, California, The Quake in San Francisco and KYYX in Seattle, among a few on the US West Coast in the 1980s.

By the late 1980s, the station started dipping in the ratings. New wave declined in popularity and electronic dance bands, such as Depeche Mode and New Order, started getting more airplay on the station. Listeners, confused about the diminished amount of Punk and New Wave heard on the station, started turning away, many to its only competitor, AOR station KLOS, which did not play either Punk nor New Wave music.

In 1986, KROQ was purchased at a then-record $45 million by Infinity Broadcasting. [24]

Throughout the 1990s, the station experienced similar popularity to its early 1980s heyday by incorporating alternative rock, grunge, punk pop, and Britpop into their playlist, which included artists such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Rage Against The Machine, Weezer, Green Day, The Offspring, Blink-182, Foo Fighters, Oasis, Blur, Gin Blossoms, Beck, Blind Melon, Everclear, 311 and others. Also continuing was the weekday morning Kevin & Bean Show. Sunday night featured "Rodney on the Roq," hosted by Rodney Bingenheimer, who often played very rare recordings and educated young listeners about Rock 'n Roll's origins and history. Following his show, very late at night, was the often controversial, Loveline, hosted by "The Poorman" Jim Trenton and Dr. Drew Pinsky. The show's purpose was to bring correct information regarding human sexuality and relationships to those 13 to 25 years of age. [25] KROQ also hosted numerous concert events such as Weenie Roast and Almost Acoustic Christmas. All of these things combined helped the station surge back to #1 in the ratings, for which it remained until the mid-2000s, when it slipped to the middle-of-the-pack, ratings-wise, for Los Angeles area radio stations.

In 1997, KROQ/Infinity merged with CBS, later changing its name to CBS Radio. Trip Reeb, a veteran radio program director, was brought on board. He made major changes, including terminating many long time DJs, streamlining and changing the playlist, and bringing back more "guitar-based" rock music, including staples of KNAC in Long Beach, formerly a heavy metal/alternative rock radio station, featuring such artists as Guns N' Roses, Metallica, The Cult, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. Gradually, the format switched from freeform album rock to alternative, which the station still follows today.

KROQ helped launch the careers of previously low-key Southern California bands, such as Suicidal Tendencies,[26][27] The Offspring, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Oingo Boingo, Sublime, No Doubt, Rage Against the Machine, Tool, Blink-182, System of a Down, Bad Religion and Social Distortion. They pride themselves on being "world famous" for their continuing discovery of up-and-coming artists and were and are often the first US station to promote new rock bands before their large-scale success.

2000-Present[edit]

Originally located at 117 S. Los Robles Avenue in Pasadena, the station moved to 3500 W. Olive Avenue in Burbank in 1987 as part of the purchase agreement and to be closer to the music industry. In 2002, the station was moved to a facility at 5901 Venice Boulevard in the Crestview neighborhood in West Los Angeles.

Unlike most other (Class B, but with grandfathered greater than B facilities) FM stations in Los Angeles whose transmitters are atop Mount Wilson, KROQ's (Class B) transmitter is located on Tongva Peak in Glendale at an altitude of 2,650 ft., which results in somewhat weaker signal coverage.

In 2004, KROQ began broadcasting in HD Radio. On February 20, 2006, KROQ added streaming music from the radio station to its website. On June 9, 2006, KROQ launched an HD sub-carrier, KROQ HD-2, which airs new wave and alternative tracks from the 1980s which were popular during KROQ's heyday (and is also branded "KROQ 2: Roq of the 80s"). This somewhat justified the dropping of the long-running Flashback Lunch, until then nearly the sole remnant of the new wave and 1990s modern rock days.

In February 2010, CBS Radio, which controls the live stream, blocked access for listeners outside of the United States.

Steve Jones came to KROQ from Indie 103.1 with a Sunday night show called "Jonesy's Jukebox", which ran from 7 to 9PM during 2010–2013 before moving to KLOS.[28]

In February 2015, KROQ severed ties with both Boyd R. Britton aka "Doc on the Roq" and Lisa May after deciding to drop news and traffic. The news came as a shock for longtime listeners as Doc on the Roq had been reporting news for the station for 27 years while Lisa May had been reporting traffic for the past 24 years. Fans took to Facebook to boycott the station for not renewing their contracts.[29]

Although considered one of the legendary radio stations in the country and still a strong revenue generator for parent company CBS, ratings for KROQ have been rather depressed over the last couple of years. In fact, competitor KYSR moved ahead of KROQ in 2015 including a 3.4 to 2.3 lead in the most recent August 2016 Nielsen ratings.[30]

On February 2, 2017, CBS Radio announced it would merge with Entercom.[31] The merger was approved on November 9, 2017, and was consummated on the 17th.[32][33]

On March 18, 2020, Kevin Ryder announced on Twitter that he, Allie MacKay, Jensen Karp, producer Dave Sanchez and contributor Jonathan Kantrowe, had all been fired from the morning show.[34] Former afternoon co-hosts Ted Stryker and Kevin Klein are now hosting mornings and Megan Holiday has moved from evenings to afternoons.

Awards[edit]

The station was awarded Radio Station of the Year in 1992 and 1993 by Rolling Stone magazine readers poll issues.

In 2007, the station was nominated for the top 25 markets Alternative station of the year award by Radio & Records magazine. Other nominees included WBCN in Boston, Massachusetts; KTBZ-FM in Houston, Texas; KITS in San Francisco, California; KNDD in Seattle, Washington; and WWDC in Washington, DC.[35]

KROQ was the recipient of an Alternate Contraband Award for Major Market Radio Alternative Radio Station of the Year 2012.

KROQ was inducted into the Rock Radio Hall of Fame in 2014.

HD Radio[edit]

KROQ broadcasts an HD Radio subchannel, The ROQ of the 80's, which features classic rock from the 1980s. In August 2018, Entercom announced it would re-launch the subchannel, adding former KROQ personalities Freddy Snakeskin and Tami Heide as DJs.[36]

Notable staff[edit]

Festivals[edit]

  • KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas, first held in December 1989. The festival was initially called KROQ Xmas Bash.
  • KROQ Weenie Roast, first held in June 1993; however, this festival had been presented in May from 2005 to 2009 and again from 2012 to 2018. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no 2020 edition of the Weenie Roast.
  • KROQ LA Invasion, held from 2001 to 2017.
  • Epicenter, held from 2009 to 2015, although there was no 2014 edition of this festival.

KROQ-related albums[edit]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Pierce, Dave (2008). Riding on the Ether Express: a memoir of 1960s Los Angeles, the rise of Freeform Underground Radio, and the legendary KPPC-FM. Lafayette, Louisiana: Center for Louisiana Studies, University of Louisiana at Lafayette. ISBN 978-1-887366-77-9. OCLC 144548083.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "KPPC Begins FM Radio Broadcasts". Pasadena Independent. April 24, 1962. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  2. ^ "Church Sells Radio Station for $310,000". August 12, 1967. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
  3. ^ Douglas, Susan Jeanne (1 April 1999). Listening in: radio and the American imagination, from Amos 'n' Andy and Edward R. Murrow to Wolfman Jack and Howard Stern. Times Books. p. 270. ISBN 978-0-8129-2546-3. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  4. ^ "DJ Barbara Birdfeather dies at 69". Variety. April 30, 2009.
  5. ^ Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 12 August 1972. p. 27. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  6. ^ "Google Groups". groups.google.com. Archived from the original on 2011-01-22. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  7. ^ "Pasadena Stations Up for Sale". Pasadena Independent Topics. June 4, 1969. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  8. ^ Wilson, Jim (January 22, 1971). "Fremont radio station founder sole owner of defunct KEMO". The Argus. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
  9. ^ McAlister, John (October 27, 1971). "Pasadena Radio Firings Revealed". Pasadena Independent Topics. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
  10. ^ FCC History Cards for KROQ-FM
  11. ^ http://www.wncn.org/Ownership___Management.html
  12. ^ "MAHF Inductees". Medical Advertising Hall of Fame. 18 October 2013. Archived from the original on 2018-11-14. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  13. ^ "The Gay Jewish Immigrant Whose Company Sells Your Medical Secrets". The Forward. Archived from the original on 2017-07-16. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  14. ^ Adam Tanner (2017). Our Bodies, Our Data: How Companies Make Billions Selling Our Medical Records. Beacon Press. pp. 31–. ISBN 978-0-8070-3334-0.
  15. ^ Dougherty, Philip H. (3 March 1970). "Advertising: Frohlich in General Practice" – via NYTimes.com.
  16. ^ "Industry Chronology". Medical Advertising Hall of Fame. 18 October 2013. Archived from the original on 2018-11-14. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  17. ^ "~Los Angeles Radio People, Remembering KPPC". 13 November 2018. Archived from the original on 13 November 2018.
  18. ^ "L. W. Frohlich; Led Ad Agency". 29 September 1971. Archived from the original on 2018-11-14. Retrieved 2018-11-13 – via NYTimes.com.
  19. ^ "Historic Los Angeles Hilltops". gallery.bostonradio.org. Archived from the original on 2006-08-31. Retrieved 2006-08-29.
  20. ^ a b c d e f Elaine Woo, "Ken Roberts Dies at 73; Promoter Transformed KROQ-FM into a Powerhouse," Archived 2012-10-06 at the Library of Congress Web Archives Los Angeles Times, July 4, 2014.
  21. ^ Broadcasting. Broadcasting Publications. January 1982. p. 102. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  22. ^ Commonly known as "Rodney on the ROQ," Bingenheimer also produced a regular Top 10 list for the monthly punk fanzine Flipside.
  23. ^ a b Los Angeles Magazine. Emmis Communications. November 2001. pp. 90–. ISSN 1522-9149. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  24. ^ Himmelsbach, Erik (December 3, 2006). "The alternative revolution". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2012-08-10. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
  25. ^ a b c https://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-Other-Documments/LA-Radio-Guide/LA-Radio-Guide-1994-10-11.pdf
  26. ^ "KROQ Top 106.7 of 1983". www.rocklists.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-23. Retrieved 2016-06-03.
  27. ^ "KROQ Top 106.7 Songs of 1983 Countdown List". www.radiohitlist.com. Archived from the original on 2016-05-21. Retrieved 2016-06-03.
  28. ^ Roberts, Randall (October 6, 2010). "Steve Jones and "Jonesy's Jukebox" to return to the LA airwaves -- via KROQ". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2012-07-18. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
  29. ^ "Media Confidential: L-A Radio: Report..Lisa May, Doc Forced Out By Kevin&Bean". Media Confidential. 2015-03-05. Archived from the original on 2015-11-17. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
  30. ^ "Nielsen Audio Ratings". ratings.radio-online.com. Archived from the original on 2018-08-07. Retrieved 2019-01-04.
  31. ^ "CBS Radio To Merge With Entercom". 2 February 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-08-26. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  32. ^ "Entercom Receives FCC Approval for Merger with CBS Radio". Archived from the original on 2017-11-17. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
  33. ^ "Entercom Completes CBS Radio Merger". 17 November 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-11-18. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
  34. ^ Official Kevin Ryder Twitter March 18, 2020
  35. ^ "2007 Industry Achievement Awards". Radio and Records. September 28, 2008. Archived from the original on May 11, 2008.
  36. ^ "Revolutionize Your Ears, The Roq Of The '80s is Set To Reboot On KROQ-HD2/Los Angeles". All Access. Archived from the original on 2018-09-02. Retrieved 2018-09-02.
  37. ^ "Where are they now?". laradio.com.
  38. ^ "John Frost". The Imaging House.
  39. ^ Borzillo, Carrie (1994-12-24). KROQ Holiday Bauble Decorates Album Chart. Billboard Magazine. Nielsen Business Media. p. 16. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  40. ^ Puig, Claudia (February 18, 1994). "Live-Wire Jim Trenton Does Radio With Pictures : Television: In his new life as a feature reporter on KTTV-TV's 'Good Day L.A.,' the Poorman draws on the loopy style that was his signature on KROQ-FM". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2012-07-15. Retrieved 4 April 2011.

External links[edit]

KPPC[edit]