|City||Culver City, California|
|Broadcast area||Los Angeles, California|
|Frequency||1500 AM kHz|
|First air date||October 10, 1951|
50,000 watts (daytime)|
4300 watts (nighttime)
|Former callsigns||KBLA (1951-67), KBBQ (1967-72), KROQ (1972-78), KRCK (1978-86)|
|Owner||Howard Levine and William Schwab|
KWIF is a radio station call sign associated with a construction permit for 1500 AM in Culver City, California serving the Los Angeles area. The construction permit is held by Howard Levine and William Schwab and was issued in 2014. The station is not currently on the air. A Travelers' Information Station licensed to the City of Beverly Hills operates on 1500 AM.
The birth of 1500 AM in Los Angeles had its origins in 1947. The 1490 kHz channel became available when KVOE-Santa Ana moved from 1490 to 1480 in 1945. A new station was licensed to Burbank on 1490 by the FCC on May 8, 1947, with the call letters KWIK. The station was known then as "The Voice of the San Fernando Valley".
On December 12, 1949, the FCC demanded that KWIK surrender its license due to repeated technical rule violations. But, KWIK stayed on the air for two more years, while they appealed the FCC ruling through the courts. The station finally went silent and its license deleted by the FCC May 15, 1951.
KBLA, a completely different station licensed to Burbank, California, started on 1490 AM a few months later, on October 10, 1951. In 1964, the owners obtained FCC approval to relocate 1500 AM, with a power upgrade. The owners encountered problems finding a location to build their then four tower AM directional array in Burbank, and wound up on Verdugo Park, a rocky hilltop not conducive to AM broadcasting. The original filing had been for 10,000 watts daytime power using two towers for a heart-shaped pattern and 10,000 watts nighttime power on four towers in a teardrop-shaped pattern (reduced to low values across an arc that protected the night service area of Hubbard Broadcasting's 1500 KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota, who contested the proposal. KSTP stated that the proposed antenna system in Burbank could not be adjusted to properly protect service of KSTP, and that it would not be stable enough to maintain those protections. This led to a fight before the FCC that was resolved by adding more than 20 conditions to the construction permit. These may have been intended to discourage the Burbank applicant from pursuing their project.
A mountain-top site was selected at Verdugo peak. The peak was scraped flat and tilted at an angle so that the array had a mechanical tilt toward Burbank, and that the nulls and minimums generated toward Saint Paul departed at the skywave angle, not along the ground. Other conditions were added about redundant sampling systems, requirement that a large number of accessible points be kept for tests, and so on.
The two tower day system didn't work as expected. Two more towers were added to the sides of the four in-line towers, so that days could be operated with four towers in a parallelogram layout. Nights produced nulls as planned but not at depths as planned. The station ended up operating at 1,000 watts at night with the four night towers, protecting KSTP but shrinking the coverage area of the station.
At the time of the switch, in early 1965, KBLA aired a Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop Oldies format reminiscent of Alan Freed on WINS in New York City and Art Laboe in Los Angeles (see Wolfman Jack). This Oldies format lasted about a year or so until the switch to a Top 40 format, which lasted about two years which ended in late Spring 1967. Among the personalities heard on KBLA during this period were well-known names like Humble Harve, Emperor Hudson, Roger Christian, Dave Diamond, Bob Dayton, Hal Pickens, Vic Gee (Jim Carson), William F. Williams and Harry Newman. Some of the aforementioned moved on to Contemporary Hits Top 40 competitors, such as KHJ, KRLA, KFWB and KGFJ.
The small station could not compete with more established and powerful competition, so they switched to country music as KBBQ in June 1967. KBBQ was also not successful, and the station switched back to Top 40, hired established disc jockeys, and became KROQ, "The ROQ of Los Angeles" on September 2, 1972.
In 1973 KROQ's owners bought the struggling KPPC-FM from National Science Network, which was forced by the FCC to sell their stations due to compliance issues. The AM station was sold to a company called Universal Broadcasting. The FM station became KROQ-FM, and initially programmed a short-lived big band format. Soon, the two stations switched to a freeform rock format as "The ROQs of L.A.".
The two stations were mildly successful with the format, but poor money management by the general manager resulted in bounced paychecks, and in 1974 the entire staff walked out, shutting the stations down. In 1976, the FCC ordered KROQ to return to the airwaves or surrender the stations' licenses. 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. At the time, Rodney Bingenheimer was introducing many new and local bands, including The Sex Pistols, The Ramones and The Runaways on his Sunday night show.
By 1978, the stations' owners encountered more money problems and decided to pare down to one station, keeping the FM station and selling the weak-signalled KROQ. The AM station eventually became KRCK and limped along with a poor signal and limited finances.
The owners of KRCK returned the station's license back to the FCC on September 19, 1986, but requested a renewal for a construction permit for 50,000 Watt daytime/14,000 Watt nighttime station from a different site. The license renewal was granted in December 1988, but KRCK never returned to the airwaves. The construction permit was extended numerous times, the last time on March 24, 2006 by Royce International Broadcasting, who had purchased the station's license and obtained the call letters KIEV (originally on 870 AM) on March 27, 2001. During the week of Memorial Day 2008, KIEV sent out test signals to measure the strength of its signal. During that time, it aired a syndicated talk show hosted by Tammy Bruce and simulcast Monica Crowley's show from "77 WABC" in New York City. KIEV also aired some news updates from USA Radio Network. The test ended shortly after the holiday. The FCC revoked the permit for failure to prosecute (FCC-speak for not constructing the approved facilities) on February 12, 2013 and included the 1500 kHz frequency in an auction for new stations the following year; although Royce bid on the frequency again, it was sold on May 6, 2014, to the partnership of Howard Levine and William Schwab. In June 2018, Levine and Schwab applied for a construction permit for a translator station at 105.5 FM in the San Fernado Valley. The translator will rebroadcsat KWIF. The formal application by Levine-Schwab was filed September 8, 2014. In January 2017, the FCC approved new call letters for the station, KWIF.
The KBBQ call letters moved to AM 1590 in Ventura, California when the Burbank station dropped them in 1972, then were assigned to an FM station in Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1985 (continuing to the present time) when the Ventura station changed to KOGO. They were also briefly used by AM 990 in Santa Barbara, California in 1988 under an FCC rule that allows call letters to be used in different communities by stations in different broadcast bands (AM, FM, TV).