|City||San Diego, California|
|Broadcast area||Greater San Diego|
|Branding||97.3 The Fan|
|Slogan||San Diego's Only FM Sports Station|
|Frequency||97.3 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|Repeater(s)||97.3 KWFN-FM1 La Jolla (under construction)|
|First air date||January 15, 1964 (as KSEA)|
|Format||FM/HD1: Sports talk|
HD2: Active rock "The Angry Playlist"
HD3: Comedy "Funny FM"
|HAAT||134 meters (440 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||K W FaN (station branding, and references Entercom flagship New York sports station WFAN)|
|Former callsigns||KSEA (1964–1975)|
|Affiliations||CBS Sports Radio|
Padres Radio Network
(Entercom License, LLC)
|Sister stations||KBZT, KSON, KXSN, KYXY|
Listen Live (HD2)
Listen Live (HD3)
KWFN (97.3 FM, "97.3 The Fan") is a radio station licensed to San Diego, California. Owned by Entercom, it broadcasts a sports talk format as an affiliate of CBS Sports Radio. The station's studios are located in San Diego's Stonecrest area.
The main transmitter is located in East San Diego in the Emerald Hills neighborhood. Because of its location, a rimshot network of booster transmitters are planned in order to reach North County.
KWFN is the flagship station of the Padres Radio Network.
The first 50 years, as a country station
97.3 signed on as KSEA in 1964. In 1967, it began its long run as a country music station.
In 1975, the station callsign became KSON-FM, having previously been on stations at 101.5 and at 105.3, after being bought out by the owners of an AM station that once had the same callsign.
Sometime in 1989, Jefferson-Pilot Communications filed an application to construct a single full-on repeater. Plans were cancelled in 1991, and JPC instead acquired another station at 92.1 FM in 2003, and converted it into a repeater for KSON. The new repeater's callsign became KSOQ-FM, in reference of KSON serving as the originator.
In 2007, the station was nominated for the top 25 markets Country music station of the year award by the Radio & Records magazine. Other nominees included WUSN Chicago, KYGO-FM Denver, WYCD Detroit, KEEY-FM Minneapolis, and WXTU Philadelphia.
On March 1, 2009, the station dropped the FM suffix and became KSON, as the former AM station became KNSN.
In January 2014, in honor of the January 31 San Diego stop on George Strait's farewell tour, KSON briefly rebranded as "George FM". The station added more George Strait music to its playlist, and held on-air giveaways of memorabilia, and tickets to the San Diego show and others. The station returned to the KSON 97.3 and 92.1 branding on February 1.
In turn, Entercom merged with CBS Radio on November 17, 2017. As KSON's simulcast partner KSOQ-FM was spun off to the Educational Media Foundation to comply with ownership caps, and KSON's new sister top 40 station KEGY Energy 103.7 having a better signal, the intellectual properties of the two stations were swapped. Immediately after the acquisition closed, the station ended its long country run, as the country format was moved to 103.7. 97.3 then began stunting with a message loop redirecting listeners to the new frequency for the next three days. On the 20th, the station re-launched as Energy 97.3. On November 24, 2017, the frequency swap was completed when KSON and KEGY swapped callsigns.
In January 2018, KEGY moved out of its longtime Linda Vista studios and relocated to Stonecrest.
Following the move of Energy to 97.3, KEGY's ratings nosedived, from a 2.2 share to a 1.0 in Nielsen Audio ratings. In February 2018, it was announced that Entercom had hired former XEPRS morning host Dan Sileo, and that he would host a new program on one of its San Diego stations, with Sileo specifically mentioning that he would be able to discuss anything he wanted to. On February 19, it was announced that the San Diego Padres would move from sister station KBZT to KEGY for the 2018 season, intensifying speculation that Entercom intended to flip the station to a sports talk format.
On March 1, 2018, at 2 p.m., KEGY began stunting with rock music and no imaging, although notably playing "Welcome to the Machine" by Pink Floyd at the top of each hour. Two days later, KEGY relaunched as 97.3 The Machine, which featured a weekday lineup of hot talk programs (including Dan Sileo hosting middays, and The Men's Room from KISW/Seattle on afternoon drive), and San Diego Padres games (including hour-long pre- and post-game shows). Off-peak hours featured blocks of classic rock programming interspersed with comedy bits. The move marked the return of hot talk to the CBS/Entercom cluster in San Diego, as the current KSON previously aired a hot talk format as part of CBS Radio's former Free FM group. All of the former "Energy" airstaff were moved to alternative music station KBZT or other sister stations across the country.
Kevin Klein Live controversy
The morning show Kevin Klein Live (moving from sister station KITS/San Francisco) was originally scheduled to premiere on KEGY beginning March 29, 2018. On March 26, 2018, Klein and the station posted ads for the show on their social media accounts, which featured the slogan "JUMP ... to a new morning show". One of the ads featured this caption on a photograph of the San Diego–Coronado Bridge: listeners considered this particular ad to be insensitive, as the second-largest number of suicide deaths from bridge jumping in the U.S. have occurred on the bridge.
There were calls for the Padres to cut their ties with Entercom. The Padres issued a statement the next day, condemning the ad as being "offensive, insensitive and completely unacceptable"; they added that the expansion of Padres coverage was planned before the team learned the full extent of the format changes, and requested that Entercom apologize for Klein's behavior. Padres chairman Ron Fowler criticized its new format as being "almost shock jock radio", and contradictory to his opinion that baseball is "family entertainment". He stated that the team would begin to reevaluate its relationship with KEGY. The photographer of the bridge image also accused the station of having used it without permission.
Klein issued a public apology for the ads, stating that "I know I've upset many people in America's Finest City, and this is something I regret. The comment was reprehensible and inexcusable. I've failed at making a good first impression, but I hope that you will give me another chance to provide entertainment and good natured laughs when I go on the air on Thursday morning. Once again, I apologize to all the listeners and the city of San Diego." The program's premiere, meant to coincide with Opening Day, was quietly cancelled, while a promotional party at a local sports bar was also cancelled by the venue. Neither Entercom or Klein made any public statements regarding the program or if it would premiere at all.
On April 11, 2018, Entercom announced that it would drop The Machine and its hot talk format, in favor of relaunching the station as a conventional sports talk station, 97.3 The Fan, effective at 5 a.m. the following day. Entercom San Diego market manager Bob Bolinger, stated that the company had used the Kevin Klein controversy as an opportunity to reevaluate KEGY's programming. He explained that "the station was always going to be largely about sports and we determined the right thing to do was to go 100% all-in." Padres chairman Ron Fowler stated that Entercom was willing to address the team's concerns surrounding the station's content, and that the revamp "better reflects the values of the Padres and the San Diego community as a whole." As part of the relaunch, Dan Sileo was moved to mornings, The Men's Room was dropped, and the station also acquired The Jim Rome Show (which had recently been dropped by XEPRS in favor of Dan Le Batard) and The Doug Gottlieb Show for its weekday lineup. On May 2, 2018, the station's calls were changed to KWFN to coordinate with the new branding.
In the first three months of the station's existence, KWFN has proven to be among the lowest-rated stations in the market, with Sileo's morning show unable to tabulate a Nielsen Audio rating due to a low sample size of listeners tuning into the station in the morning (specifically, only 200 sampled listeners, which measures out to a 0.0), and the Padres' last-place standing during the 2018 season also hindering the station's listenership.
On April 17, 2019, Sileo left KWFN's morning show (but remains with Entercom to host a weekend program on sister WEEI-FM in Boston). He was replaced by "Coach" John Kentera. The San Diego Union-Tribune speculated that the departure was tied to listener backlash surrounding plans to have Padres staff members appear on Sileo's show for interviews on Friday mornings.
Entercom has submitted applications for five fill-in translators to improve KWFN's coverage. The first of these boosters was granted a construction permit on April 12, 2019, and is due to go on air in 2022. It is identified as KWFN-FM1.This first booster will be located near the Tourmaline Surfing Park near La Jolla, and will mainly cover the beaches north of there. The remaining planned rimshot signals are intended to fill in North County.
KWFN's weekday lineup currently features John Kentera, The Jim Rome Show, The Doug Gottlieb Show, and an afternoon drive program hosted by Chris Ello and Tony Gwynn Jr. CBS Sports Radio programming airs in evenings, overnights and weekends. KWFN is the flagship station of the San Diego Padres, and the station also acquired local rights to Westwood One's NFL and NCAA packages. The station is also a part of the San Francisco 49ers radio network.
Previous hosts on The Fan include Dan Sileo, who left in April 2019.
The station operates three HD Radio channels; The HD1 channel is the digitized standard signal, as required by law. The current other HD channels are listed below:
Previous HD channels
- HD2 Until February 2018: Alternative music, by means of a simulcast of KROQ-FM in Pasadena, Until the format swap: legendary country Nashville Legends.
- HD3 Until February 2018: dance hits House of Sophie. Moved here concurrently with the format swap.
- "Query the REC California FM database for defunct repeaters for KSON". REC Group. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- "2007 Industry Achievement Awards". Radio and Records. September 28, 2008. Archived from the original on May 11, 2008.
- "KSON Is Now 'George-FM'". All Access. Retrieved 2018-02-28.
- "Entercom Acquires Lincoln Financial Media". RadioInsight. 2014-12-22. Retrieved 2018-02-18.
- Entercom Completes CBS Radio Merger
- "KSON San Diego Moves to 103.7; Energy To 97.3 on Monday". RadioInsight. 2017-11-17. Retrieved 2018-02-18.
- "As Padres Move To KEGY, Format Flip Expected". Inside Radio. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
- Acee, Kevin. "Padres announce new radio home, spring broadcast schedule". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
- "San Diego Padres Make 97.3 KEGY Its New Home Ahead of Flip". RadioInsight. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
- Lin, Dennis. "Controversial radio host Dan Sileo will not be involved with Padres". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2018-02-18.
- "97.3 The Machine San Diego Debuts". RadioInsight. 2018-03-01. Retrieved 2018-03-02.
- "KEGY (Energy 97.3)/San Diego Turns Off The Top 40, Rocks Out In Prep For New Format". All Access. Retrieved 2018-03-02.
- "Free FM/San Diego Flips To 'Sophie 103.7'". All Access. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
- "Former ALT 105 hosts of morning show Kevin Klein Live relocate to revive program in San Diego". SFGate. Retrieved 2018-03-03.
- Kenney, Kirk. "Ron Fowler says Padres could end relationship with new radio partner". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
- Kenney, Kirk. "'Jump:' Radio host's tweet showing Coronado Bridge sparks outrage over suicide association". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
- Kenney, Kirk. "Radio host who caused uproar on new Padres station is a no-show". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2018-03-30.
- Kenney, Kirk. "Using Coronado bridge photo without permission could be legal problem for 97.3 The Machine and radio host". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
- Kalaf, Samer. "This San Diego Radio Station Has Existed For A Month And Is Already A Disaster". Deadspin. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
- "Kevin Klein Show Doesn't Air As Scheduled; Full Silence All Around". RadioInsight. 2018-03-29. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
- "Week Ends With 'Kevin Klein Live' Still Missing From KEGY (97.3 The Machine)/San Diego ..." All Access. 6 April 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
- "XEPRS (Mighty 1090)/San Diego Drops CBS' Jim Rome For ESPN's Dan Le Batard". All Access. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
- Kenney, Kirk. "Padres flagship radio station goes all-sports and rebrands as 97.3 The Fan". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2018-04-12.
- "KEGY San Diego Confirms Flip To Sports 97.3 The Fan". RadioInsight. 2018-04-12. Retrieved 2018-04-12.
- Leighton, Ken (28 June 2018). "The fight from the bottom 10 Radio's Dan Sileo loses guys 25-54 to Mighty 1090 and XTRA Sports 1360". San Diego Reader. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
- "Padres executives to be available for Dan Sileo interviews on 97.3 The Fan". San Diego Union-Tribune. 2019-04-13. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
- "Dan Sileo Exits Mornings At KWFN (97.3 The Fan)/San Diego". All Access. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
- "Ben & Woods To Host Mornings At KWFN (97.3 The Fan)/San Diego". All Access. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
- "Ben & Woods Join 97.3 The Fan San Diego". RadioInsight. 2019-05-23. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
- "Query the Government Application Status for KWFN-FM1". Retrieved 22 April 2019.
- "Query the REC California FM database for KWFN-FM1". REC Group. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
- "Query the REC California FM database for KWFN". REC Group. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
- "(San Francisco 49ers site) Television & Radio Partners". Retrieved 16 October 2018.