|City||Los Angeles, California|
|Broadcast area||Greater Los Angeles|
|Frequency||94.7 MHz (HD Radio)|
|Branding||94.7 The Wave|
|Slogan||The Soul of Southern California|
|Format||Urban adult contemporary|
|Subchannels||HD2: The AVE (Rhythmic contemporary)|
HD3: "Radio Hamrah" (Persian-language programming)
(Entercom License, LLC)
First air date
|March 7, 1961 (59 years ago) as KLAC-FM|
Former call signs
Call sign meaning
|Katch The WaVe!|
|HAAT||863.0 meters (2,831.4 ft)|
|Translator(s)||96.7 K244AM (China Lake)|
|Webcast||Listen live (via Radio.com)}|
HD2: Listen live
KTWV (94.7 FM) is a commercial radio station that is licensed to Los Angeles, California and broadcasts to the Greater Los Angeles area. The station is owned by Entercom and airs an urban adult contemporary radio format. KTWV has studios on Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles, and its transmitter (shared with its former sister station KTTV) is located on Mount Wilson.
KTWV is known for pioneering the smooth jazz radio format in the late 1980s.
KTWV broadcasts in HD Radio.
Early years (1961–1968)
On March 7, 1961, KLAC-FM first signed on the air. It served as an FM sister station to KLAC (570 AM), simulcasting its programming. KLAC-AM-FM were purchased by Metromedia in 1963. By the mid-1960s, the FCC wanted FM sisters to AM stations to air separate programming; thus, KLAC-FM became an automated station, playing a mix of middle-of-the-road and big band music like other FM stations owned by Metromedia. In order to separate itself further from its AM sister, the station changed its call letters to KMET in 1968.
KMET — The Mighty Met (1968–1987)
A few months after the station adopted its new call sign, Tom Donahue convinced Metromedia to establish a freeform rock format on KMET and KSFR in San Francisco (which then became KSAN) after a dispute with the owners of KPPC-FM. Donahue brought over most of those who went on strike at KPPC, including his Los Angeles tag team partner in former KFWB "Swinging Gentleman" B. Mitchel Reed. He had become enamored with the underground rock sound after attending the Monterey Pop Festival and shortly afterward bonded with fellow top 40 veteran Donahue over their increasing unhappiness with AM radio and its restrictions.
KMET became legendary and popular as "The Mighty 'MET" for its freeform style in letting DJs choose the music without genre restrictions and an irreverent, loose and laidback presentation of the music. In the early 1980s, however, Metromedia changed the presentation and sound of KMET to a more conventional album-oriented rock (AOR) format. In the process, KMET quickly became a shell of its former self: playlists were tightened and hit-oriented, disc jockeys became less personal in their presentation, and the station was heavily constructed by outside consultants.
This drove KMET's ratings down to the point of being well behind established AOR pioneer KLOS as well as behind KROQ-FM, a station that rose from the ashes of KPPC-FM to become the trademark radio home in Los Angeles for the new wave and punk scenes in the 1980s. Then, in 1986, KMET got two new competitors that hurt the station irrevocably: KNAC, targeting younger listeners via the budding heavy metal genre that KMET wouldn't touch and more aggressively than KLOS and KROQ, and KLSX, targeting older listeners with the music that KMET made famous through the newly created classic rock genre. Both stations ate further into KMET's ratings immediately.
Additionally in 1986, Metromedia — which already sold off its TV stations (including KTTV) to News Corporation — sold KMET and eight other stations for $250 million to a group of investors who rechristened the company Metropolitan Broadcasting (which had been Metromedia's original corporate name).
End of the Mighty Met
The new competition combined with the existing double threat of KLOS and KROQ-FM all drove KMET's ratings to a shocking low of 1.6 by January 1987. VP/GM Howard Bloom and program director Frank Cody considered retooling or tweaking the station's format again, to the point of hiring back KMET veterans including Jim Ladd with jock-friendly contracts and trying a modern rock-intensive approach targeting KROQ with a new "94.7% New Rock" slogan and identity. But in the end, research the station conducted came to the conclusion KMET had become too damaged and so the decision was made to pull the plug rather than another station retooling.
On February 6, 1987, four days after making the decision, the entire KMET air staff was summoned one by one to the Sheraton Premiere Hotel in Universal City where they were told by Bloom and Cody they were being let go and the station was changing formats. The last live jock on the air that day was morning man Paraquat Kelly. He got word of what was happening, and at the end of his shift played "Beautiful Losers" by Bob Seger (dedicated to his co-workers) and "It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)" by The Rolling Stones (for KMET itself). Choked with emotion, his last words were "We all love you. Goodbye, Southern California. This is KMET, the Mighty 'MET." At that time, the station went jockless and automated while playing an ominous countdown to noon on February 14, 1987 set to the opening bars of Tangerine Dream's "Sunset Drive".
Valentine's Day 1987 would be known as the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" for Los Angeles rock fans. The last hour featured sentimental songs "My Generation" by The Who and "You're All I've Got Tonight" by The Cars, and California-inspired songs "L.A. Woman" by The Doors and "Hotel California" by The Eagles wrapped around classic KMET IDs by Tom Donahue and B. Mitchel Reed. Nearly 19 years of rock came to an end with "Funeral for a Friend" by Elton John, "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen, and then the second half of the Abbey Road medley by The Beatles with "Golden Slumbers", "Carry That Weight" and then ending with (appropriately) "The End".
The fired KMET jocks were given the chance to give a full goodbye to listeners via on-air tributes from their former rivals KLOS and KLSX. They then were split between those two and KSCA, which would be launched by Gene Autry's Golden West Broadcasters that fall. KSCA and future eclectic rock station KSWD (which notably had multiple on-air tributes to KMET during its run) would both pay tribute to KMET's closing by themselves closing with Abbey Road with the former repeating KMET's closing (and signing off after playing the hidden finale "Her Majesty") and the latter playing all of Side 2 from "Here Comes the Sun" through "The End".
KTWV - 94.7 The Wave (1987–present)
New age contemporary/smooth jazz (1987-2010)
Speculation for KMET's new format was between a first of its kind new age/smooth jazz/soft rock hybrid format, or a dance-rock format positioned between KIIS-FM, KPWR, and KROQ. In the end, on February 14, 1987 at noon, the station indeed flipped to the former, a format that eventually came to be called "new adult contemporary" (NAC) or simply "smooth jazz" with the branding "94.7 The Wave" and new call letters KTWV. The first song on The Wave was the fittingly titled "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free" by Sting, followed by the first instrumental, "Maputo" by Bob James and David Sanborn.
In its initial 19 months, management referred to The Wave as a "mood service" rather than a radio station; the only live voices heard were those of personalities from Financial News Network doing news and traffic updates. In lieu of disc jockeys, listeners were encouraged to call a "Wave Line" to learn what the music being played was and the music was wrapped around pre-recorded vignettes called "Playlets" featuring "ordinary people" in unique situations (one of whom was voiced by Terry McGovern, coincidentally the former morning man on KSAN from 1974 to 1979) that noted the time as part of the dialogue.
The launch of "The Wave" prompted stations across North America to adopt the NAC format. Markets with smooth jazz stations included Santa Cruz/San Jose (KLRS), San Francisco (KKSF), Chicago (WNUA), Seattle (KNUA), San Diego (KIFM), Dallas/Fort Worth (KOAI), Washington, D.C. (WBMW), and New York (WQCD, albeit with a more traditional presentation with jocks or announcers). Additionally, beginning in late 1987, Metropolitan Broadcasting syndicated the "Wave" format via the Satellite Music Network to other markets including San Diego (KSWV), Kansas City (KCWV), Denver (KHIH), Detroit (WVAE), and Cleveland (WNWV). From 2000 to 2011, there was a station in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada modeled entirely after KTWV, CIWV-FM (which also served nearby Toronto). That station used the moniker "The Wave" with a similar logo to KTWV and also broadcast on 94.7 FM. (CIWV-FM flipped to a country format in 2011; "The Wave" was moved first to a webstream before launching on an HD Radio subchannel in 2015.)
Ratings for KTWV's initial presentation were weaker than hoped, with the "Playlets" being limited to only the top of the hour by June. Eventually, Frank Cody left to be a radio consultant for budding NAC stations (and later coined the phrase "smooth jazz"), and John Sebastian (former programmer of KHJ, who had launched a similar sounding station in Washington, D.C.) was hired as the new program director. He promptly introduced a traditional presentation similar to other NAC stations, dropping the playlets entirely, expanding the playlist, and hiring live jocks who started on September 19, 1988. The core group of these included Don Burns, Talaya Trigueros, Keri Tombazian, Amy Hiatt and China Smith. The syndicated Wave then wound down (although it did copy KTWV in adding live jocks before this); only Cleveland remained with the format under local operation until 2019 (excluding from 2009 to 2011 when it was aired on an HD Radio subchannel of WNWV).
In the early 1990s, like most NAC stations launched at the same time as KTWV, the station dropped new age and jazz fusion in favor of a blend of contemporary jazz, soft R&B, and adult contemporary (AC) crossover hits; this new mix would define the smooth jazz label going forward. Eventually, as the 21st century approached, the same reasons that led KMET down ratings-wise (tight playlists formatted through consultants) would plague 94.7 The Wave and other smooth jazz stations, although this would not be made clear until the adoption of the PPM ratings system in 2008. At that time, many of the stations that launched in KTWV's shadow flipped out of the format.
In 2001, Pat Prescott began hosting morning drive for KTWV alongside saxophonist Dave Koz; he was with the station for six years. Replacing Koz on January 15, 2007 was R&B musician Brian McKnight who co-hosted mornings until January 22, 2010; The Brian McKnight Show was syndicated nationwide to urban adult contemporary and smooth jazz stations.
Evolution to urban adult contemporary (2010–present)
In February 2010, Jhani Kaye took over KTWV from the departing Paul Goldstein. Kaye, who previously programmed crosstown heritage AC station KOST, transitioned KTWV toward a "smooth adult contemporary" direction in an attempt to attract a younger demographic by increasing the amount of crossover vocals and dramatically reducing the number of instrumentals played (with most of the remaining being pop covers and basic originals). In addition, references to "smooth jazz" were eliminated as the station reformatted to compete directly with KOST. With this, Don Burns (who voice-tracked from his home in Palm Springs) along with fellow original Wave air personality Keri Tombazian were both let go. From May 2010 to June 2012, Kim Amidon, a former morning DJ at KOST, co-hosted mornings with Prescott.
In November 2013, KTWV introduced a revamped logo, still utilizing the font from the 1987 logo while dumping the original "Wave" graphic, and changing its slogan from "Southern California's Place to Unwind and Relax" to just "Smooth R&B". June 2014 saw the return of longtime assistant PD Ralph Stewart, when he became program director and reintroduced some mainstream AC/pop crossovers into the playlist, and dropped the "Smooth R&B" slogan. In February 2015, after the flip of KHHT from rhythmic oldies to urban contemporary as KRRL "Real 92.3", KTWV adjusted its format to urban adult contemporary. The station added more classic soul and current R&B to fill the void of KHHT's departure and adopted the new "Soul of Southern California" slogan, while also dropping most of the mainstream AC/pop crossovers, further positioning KTWV against KJLH. It also adopted a new logo that notably removed all remaining elements of the original Wave logo after three decades. These moves have seen KTWV's ratings improve further, putting the station among the Los Angeles market's top stations, including sister KRTH.
On April 18, 2019, it was announced that original "Wave" jock Talaya Trigueros was leaving KTWV after 31 years in midday drive due to budget cuts. Trigueros, who originally began under just her first name, had been the last remaining jock from the original group hired by John Sebastian in 1988.
KTWV broadcasts in HD Radio on three digital subchannels:
- KTWV-HD1 is a digital simulcast of the analog signal.
- KTWV-HD2 airs a Rhythmic contemporary format and is branded as "The AVE".
- KTWV-HD3 broadcasts Persian-language programming as "Radio Hamrah". The format was previously launched on KTWV-HD2 on November 15, 2017, after former provider KSWD was sold to Educational Media Foundation.
KTWV is a "Superpower" grandfathered Class B FM station. Under normal FCC regulations, KTWV would be allowed to broadcast with a maximum ERP of 930 watts at the same antenna height of 863 meters. The station currently broadcasts at 58 kW, more than 20 times as much as the power they would be allowed today. This station, along with several other L.A.-area FM stations, went on the air before power regulations took effect in 1962. That is what allows them to broadcast at such high levels.
- "Directory of AM and FM Stations in the U.S." (PDF). Broadcasting Yearbook 1966. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- "KMET Drops AOR After 19 Years, Dismisses Airstaff" (PDF). February 13, 1987. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- "Brian McKnight To Join KTWV/LA For Mornings". All Access. All Access Music Group. December 20, 2006. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
- "Brian McKnight Show Ends In January". All Access. All Access Music Group. October 19, 2009. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
- "Making Moves: Monday, May 18, 2010". Radio-Info.com. May 18, 2010. Archived from the original on March 7, 2012.
- "Radio host Don Burns leaves KTWV". Orange County Register. May 18, 2010.
- Venta, Lance (February 2, 2017). "CBS Radio To Merge With Entercom". RadioInsight. RadioBB Networks. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
- "Entercom Receives FCC Approval for Merger with CBS Radio". Entercom (Press release). Archived from the original on November 17, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- Venta, Lance (November 17, 2017). "Entercom Completes CBS Radio Merger". RadioInsight. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- "Talaya Trigueros Exits Middays At KTWV (94.7 The Wave)/Los Angeles". All Access. All Access Media Group. Retrieved April 19, 2019.