|City||Los Angeles, California|
|Broadcast area||Greater Los Angeles Area|
|Branding||94.7 The Wave|
|Slogan||The Soul of Southern California|
|Frequency||94.7 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||March 7, 1961 (as KLAC-FM)|
|Format||FM/HD1: Urban AC|
HD2: Smooth jazz ("Wave Classics")
HD3: Radio Hamrah (Persian)
|HAAT||863.0 meters (2,831.4 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||Katch The WaVe!|
|Former callsigns||KLAC-FM (1961–1968)|
(Entercom License, LLC)
|Sister stations||KAMP-FM, KCBS-FM, KROQ-FM, KRTH, KNX|
KTWV (94.7 MHz) is a commercial FM radio station owned by Entercom. KTWV is located in Los Angeles and broadcasts to the Greater Los Angeles area. Airing an Urban Adult Contemporary radio format branded as "94.7 The Wave", the station has studios on Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles. Its transmitter is located on Mount Wilson.
Early years (1961-1968)
On March 7, 1961, KLAC-FM first signed on the air. It served as an FM sister station to AM 570 KLAC, 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 became KMET in 1968.
The Mighty 'MET, KMET (1968-1987)
Months later, Tom Donahue convinced Metromedia to establish a freeform rock format on KMET in Los Angeles 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 LA tag team partner in ex-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" up until the early 1980s for its freeform style in letting DJs choose the music without genre restrictions and an irreverent, loose & laidback presentation of the music. In the early 1980s, however, Metromedia changed the presentation and sound of KMET to a mainstream style. In the process, KMET quickly became a shell of its former self: playlists were tightened and hit-oriented, DJs became less personal in their presentation, and the station was heavily constructed by outside consultants.
This drove KMET's ratings 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 L.A. for the New Wave and Punk scenes in the 80s. 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 & KROQ, and KLSX, targeting older listeners with the music that KMET made famous through the newly created Classic Rock genre. Both ate further into KMET's ratings immediately.
Additionally in 1986, Metromedia—which already sold off its TV stations (including KTTV) to Rupert Murdoch's 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).
The End of "The Mighty 'MET"
The new competition combined with the existing duo of KLOS and KROQ 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, four days after making the decision, the entire KMET airstaff were 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 has happening, and at the end of his shift played "Beautiful Losers" by Bob Seger (for 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 L.A. rock fans. The last hour featured sentimental songs "My Generation" by The Who and "You're All I've Got Tonight" by The Cars & California/LA-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
New Age Contemporary (1987-2010)
In the end, at noon on Valentine's Day 1987, KMET indeed flipped to the New Age/jazz/soft rock hybrid format that eventually came to be called "New Adult Contemporary" (NAC) 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 in "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 dial into 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 1974-79) that noted the time as part of the dialogue.
The launch of "The Wave" led to similarly-formatted stations in other markets like Santa Cruz/San Jose, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, San Diego, Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington, D.C. and New York albeit a more traditional presentation with jocks or announcers. Additionally, that fall, Metropolitan Broadcasting syndicated the "Wave" format via the Satellite Music Network to other markets including San Diego (as KSWV), Kansas City (as KCWV), Chicago (as WTWV), Detroit (as WVAE), and notably Cleveland (as WNWV). There also later was a station in Canada modeled entirely after KTWV. CIWV-FM in Hamilton, Ontario, serving Toronto, used the moniker "The Wave" with a similar logo to KTWV on 94.7 FM. It ran from 2000 until 2011, when it flipped to a country format and "The Wave" was moved first to a webstream before launching on an HD Radio subchannel.
However, ratings for the 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, DC) 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 "The Wave" in adding live jocks before this); only Cleveland has remained with the format under local operation (excluding from 2010 to 2011 when the format ran on an HD Radio subchannel of WNWV).
In the early/mid-1990s, like most NAC stations launched at the same as The Wave, the station dropped New Age and Jazz Fusion in favor of a blend of contemporary jazz and soft R&B/AC crossover hits under the smooth jazz label the format would become defined as going forward. Eventually, toward the 21st century, the same reasons that led KMET down ratings-wise (tight playlists formatted through consultants) would plague 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 The Wave's shadow flipped out of the format.
Evolution to Urban AC (2010-Present)
In February 2010, Jhani Kaye took over KTWV from the departing Paul Goldstein. Kaye, who previously programmed heritage AC station KOST, increased the amount of crossover vocals and dramatically reduced the number of instrumentals played (with most of the remaining being pop covers and basic originals) transitioning KTWV toward a smooth adult contemporary direction. 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.
KTWV's morning program is hosted by Pat Prescott. Between May 2010 and June 2012, Prescott co-hosted the show with Kim Amidon, a former morning DJ at KOST replacing musician Brian McKnight (who had replaced saxophonist Dave Koz, who has a syndicated Smooth Jazz show of his own and a weekend show on Sirius XM's Watercolors channel). Prescott has co-hosted mornings since 2001.
In November 2013, the station introduced a revamped logo still utilizing the 1987-era font while dumping the original "Wave" graphic and adding a slogan change from "Southern California's Place to Unwind and Relax" to just "Smooth R&B." This change made KTWV to go to the second radio station to Urban AC brought the station high ratings for the first time in years to compete with KJLH 102.3 FM both stations playing Urban AC for the first time in history. In June 2014, KTWV saw the return of its longtime Assistant PD Ralph Stewart become PD when he reintroduced some mainstream AC/pop crossovers into the playlist by updating its website by dropping the "Smooth R&B" tag from its logo. In February 2015, after the flip of KHHT from rhythmic oldies to urban contemporary, KTWV 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 with most of the mainstream AC/pop crossovers were dropped out. This made it a softer version of Rhythmic Adult Contemporary. It also adopted a new logo that notably removed all remaining elements of the original "Wave" logo after 3 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.
The current formats on KTWV's HD subchannels are:
- HD2 - Wave Classics (Smooth Jazz). Launched September 15, 2010. As a result, the FM simulcast of sister station KNX was moved from HD2 to HD3, ending the Los Angeles simulcast of another sister station, country-formatted KFRG in Riverside, California.
- HD3 - Radio Hamrah (Persian programming). Launched on KTWV-HD2 on November 15, 2017, after former provider KSWD was sold to Educational Media Foundation.
- "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.
- "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.
- CBS Radio to Merge with Entercom
- Entercom Receives FCC Approval for Merger with CBS Radio
- Venta, Lance (November 17, 2017). "Entercom Completes CBS Radio Merger". Radio Insight. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- "Talaya Trigueros Exits Middays At KTWV (94.7 The Wave)/Los Angeles". All Access Media Group. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
- HD Radio Guide for Los Angeles
- Official website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KTWV
- Radio-Locator information on KTWV
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KTWV