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Logo kwav969.png
CityMonterey, California
Broadcast areaSanta Cruz
Salinas, California
Frequency96.9 MHz (HD Radio)
BrandingK-Wave 96.9
SloganSoft Rock
FormatFM/HD1: Soft AC
HD2: ?
HD3: Smooth jazz
OwnerStephens Media
(SMG-Monterey, LLC)
First air date
1961 (as KHFR)
Former call signs
KHFR (1961–1966)
KMBY-FM (1966–1968)
Call sign meaning
Technical information
Facility ID7714
ERP18,000 watts
HAAT747 meters

KWAV is a commercial radio station in Monterey, California, broadcasting to the Santa Cruz-Monterey-Salinas, California, area on 96.9 FM. Its studios are in Monterey while its transmitter is located on Mount Toro, south of Salinas. KWAV is a Class B FM radio station with a higher power than would be granted under the present U.S. Federal Communications Commission rules; it is often referred as a "Superpower" Grandfathered Class B.[1]

KWAV airs a Soft AC music format branded as "K-Wave 96.9".


The station signed on in 1961 as KHFR. From 1966 to 1968, the station held the KMBY-FM callsign. Beginning in 1969, the station's callsign became KWAV. It aired a middle of the road format, which evolved into the AC format by the 1980s.

In the mid-1990s, KWAV's slogan was "Today's Hits, Yesterday's Favorites." The Adult Contemporary music mix was upbeat, featuring an R&B-leaning playlist with Cher, Mariah Carey, Gloria Estefan, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Paula Abdul, The Pointer Sisters, Vanessa Williams, Brian McKnight, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Smokey Robinson, Timmy T, Stevie B, Expose, and Ace of Base as core artists. Other core artists included Amy Grant, Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, Sting, Michael Bolton, Billy Joel, Richard Marx, Paul Young, Restless Heart, Don Hensley, Foreigner, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Hornsby, Huey Lewis, Heart, Roxette, Basia, and Swingout Sister. Also included were numerous pop/alternative crossover tracks by Melissa Etheridge, Duran Duran, Carrie Underwood, Lisa Loeb, Hootie & The Blowfish, Meatloaf, and Dionne Farris. By early 1996, the music mix became very upbeat - almost Hot Adult Contemporary in nature - and included songs by Blues Traveler, Gin Blossoms and The Cranberries.[original research?]

In February 1996, the station revamped its image, becoming "Soft Rock Favorites" and flipped to Soft AC, which is workplace-oriented.

In March 1999, the station dropped its "Love Songs Til Midnight" all-request call-in program in favor of the nationally syndicated Delilah program. "LSTM" host Candy James subsequently moved to middays.

From 2000-2005, the station's music mix included numerous R&B oldies by Al Green, The Supremes, The Spinners, and The Four Tops.

In 2003, local TV personality Barry Brown and Karen Hamilton joined as hosts of the morning program (5:30 to 9:00).

In 2005, the station shifted its playlist to include fewer oldies and more of the upbeat 1980s and 1990s R&B-leaning tracks it used to play in the mid-1990s. The station also began adding 1970s-era R&B/disco tracks by artists such as Earth Wind & Fire, Diana Ross, Gloria Gaynor, and The Beegees. The branding remains "Soft Rock Favorites."

In 2007, the station began to broadcast in HD Radio. Its HD3 digital subchannel rebroadcasts the Internet radio station

In 2014, owner Buckley Broadcasting sold KWAV to Mapleton Communications.[2] The deal, at a purchase price of $2.15 million, was completed on September 5, 2014.

On July 1, 2019, Mapleton Communications announced its intent to sell its remaining 37 stations to Stephens Media Group.[3] Stephens began operating the station that same day. The sale was approved on October 9, 2019,[4] and was consummated on October 15, 2019.

Former DJs[edit]

Vic Johnson, Bob March, Teddy Greene, Michael Redding, Jerry Connelly, John Van Camp, Dean Knox, Greg Dean, Jeff Powers, Dennis Miller, Bo Woods, Alan Richmond, Sandy Shore, John Garabo, Gary Russell, Sebastian Thomas, Debi McCallister (now at KQFC in Boise, Idaho), Jack Peterson, Jane Grigsby (Jane Holladay) and the team of Barry Brown, Jay Peterson and Karen Hamilton. Afternoon drive and Production Director Gary Summers.


  1. ^ Smith, D. (September 9, 1998). ""Superpower" Grandfathered FM's". Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  2. ^ "Monterey radio stations KWAV, KBOQ change hands". The Monterey County Herald. May 30, 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  3. ^ Venta, Lance (1 July 2019). "Stephens Media Group Acquires 37 Stations From Mapleton Communications". Radio Insight. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Stephens completes its Mapleton deal". Streamline Publishing. 9 October 2019. Retrieved 19 October 2019.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°32′06″N 121°37′19″W / 36.535°N 121.622°W / 36.535; -121.622