Kiss (UK radio station)
Kiss is a UK radio station which broadcasts nationally on DAB Digital Radio, as well as on FM in London, Bristol and the Severn Estuary, and East Anglia. Kiss specialises in hip hop, R&B, urban, house, pop and electronic dance music. It is notable for having originally started out as Kiss FM - a 1980s pirate radio station that was to become the UKs first legal radio station specialising in black and dance music.
|Broadcast area||UK wide|
|Slogan||The Beat of the UK|
Radical Radio (as a pirate/early legal station)
|Frequency||11D DAB (England, Wales, Northern Ireland), 12A DAB (Scotland)|
100 FM (London), 101 FM (Severn Estuary), 97.2 FM (Bristol), 105.6 – 106.1 – 106.4 – 107.7 FM (East Anglia)
|First air date||October 1985 (as a pirate)|
1st September 1990 (as a legal station)
|Sister stations||Absolute Radio|
- 1 History
- 2 DJs and presenters
- 3 Listening live & again
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 Further reading
- 7 External links
Kiss FM began in October 1985 as a pirate radio station, broadcasting first to South London then across the whole city, on 94FM. Kiss FM was founded by Gordon 'Mac' McNamee and his friends; George Power, Tosca, and Pyers Easton..
The station had a cult and committed following across Greater London, with figures in the press at the time stating that the station commanded some 500,000 listeners while operating as an unlicensed pirate station. Gordon Mac approached a successful London club promoter, Guy Wingate, to discuss ways of improving the Kiss FM profile. As a result, Wingate launched the very successful Kiss nights at the Wag Club (which included the first ever UK acid house party – an idea put forward by the late Colin Faver and Danny Rampling), both DJs on the station. These nights increased the station's credibility with its target audience and Wingate joined the Kiss team, followed shortly thereafter by Lindsay Wesker.
Kiss was 'owned' by Gordon Mac and in 1986 he sold shares to 10 of the DJs, including Tim Westwood, Jonathan More, Norman Jay, Trevor Nelson, and others. Mac, Wesker and Wingate, the team of DJ's and a large number of volunteers took the station forward through a combination of grim determination and clever marketing. In 1988, the Department of Trade And Industry advertised the first new radio license in London for many years and Kiss FM mounted a strong campaign to be awarded this license. Despite this, Kiss narrowly missed out on a license to Jazz FM (now Smooth Radio).
On the 1st September 1990 Kiss relaunched as a legal station, with its studio and offices located on Holloway Road, and financial support from EMAP. Gordon Mac led a countdown in the studio to the official launch, followed by Norman Jay hosting the very first full show.
Kiss 102 and Kiss 105
The Faze FM group licensed the name and logo from Kiss 100 to launch Kiss 102 in Manchester in October 1994. In February 1997, it expanded into Yorkshire launching Kiss 105. The group was later sold to Chrysalis Radio, and by September 1997 both stations became part of the Galaxy Radio network.
1999 rebranding and criticism
EMAP took full control of Kiss 100 as early as 1992, but there was no significant rebranding of Kiss 100 and the Kiss brand until 1998. The rebranding resulted in a new logo being adopted in 1999. EMAP wanted to align Kiss 100 with the rest of its radio operations and to do so, Mark Story (previously of Magic 105.4) was engaged in January 1999 as the new Director of Music Programming. At the same time, the Kiss studios and offices was moved from its original roots to EMAP's main premises in Central London. These changes led to criticism from both former presenters and listeners alike, concerned that Kiss 100 was losing its musical direction.
One of Kiss 100's most popular DJs, Steve Jackson, was sacked in December 1998, which was followed by a high-profile court case. At the same time, a number of other founding DJs decided to quit the station in protest at the changes being implemented, whilst others were lured away by the increasingly dance-oriented BBC Radio 1. Many listeners equate Gordon Mac's final show on 28 March 1998 and subsequent departure from the station as the spiritual end of the original Kiss.
Ofcom record fine
In June 2006, Kiss 100 was fined a record fee for any UK commercial radio station of £175,000 by media regulator Ofcom. Ofcom punished Kiss 100 for "numerous and serious breaches" of broadcasting codes after receiving 10 complaints from April to November 2005. They involved prank calls on the Bam Bam breakfast show where consent was not sought from the "victims" and controversial material aired when children were likely to be listening. Kiss 100 said it accepted the findings and apologised for any offence 
September 2006 relaunch and Kiss network
Emap introduced a second major revamp of the Kiss brand on 6 September 2006. This included a new logo designed by oddlondon, a renewed focus on dance music, more specialist shows and a new website for all 3 Kiss stations replacing the previous website.
The relaunch was implemented simultaneously with the rebranding of Kiss 100's sister dance stations, Vibe 101 and Vibe 105–108 as Kiss 101 and Kiss 105-108 respectively. The only differences between the three stations are the advertisements, traffic bulletins and live extended coverage (if needed) for some major events going around the region.
The changes at Kiss 100 were introduced to address falling listener figures and to keep the station competitive in the highly contested London market.
DAB changes and Rodigan departure
In December 2010, Ofcom approved the request from Bauer Radio to drop local programming content from the three Kiss stations, creating a national service on the condition that Kiss would be available on 35 DAB multiplexes around the UK on the day local information is dropped, rising to 38 within 3 months of the changes.
On 27 December 2012, Kiss 100 appeared nationally on Digital One's national DAB multiplex.
Norway and Finland
DJs and presenters
Pirate and early legal era
From 1985, DJs and presenters have included: Norman Jay, Coldcut (Matt Black & Jonathan More), Paul Trouble Anderson, Colin Faver, Judge Jules, Tim Westwood, Lindsay Wesker, Jazzie B, Trevor Nelson, Danny Rampling and Richie Rich. At its legal launch and during its early licensed days, this DJs and presenters also included Graham Gold, Dave Pearce, David Rodigan, Patrick Forge and Gilles Peterson.
Mid to late 1990s
In the mid-late 1990s, DJs and presenters have included: Tall Pall, Matt Jam Lamont, Fabio & Grooverider, Pete Wardman, Matt White, Dreem Team, Alex P & Brandon Block, Jumping Jack Frost, and Tony De Vit.
Since 2000, DJs and presenters have included: Bam Bam, John Digweed, Jez Welham, DJ Hype, Ali B, Robin Banks, Adam F, DJ EZ, Steve Smart, Carl Cox, Shortee Blitz, Logan Sama, DJ Hatcha, Armin van Buuren, Rickie Haywood Williams, Melvin Odoom & Charlie Hedges, Philip George, Majestic, and DJ S.K.T.
Listening live & again
KISS can be heard live worldwide on KissKube app, Kiss official website (UK postcode required if listening from other countries) and Radioplayer.
The full length of any show can be heard again an hour after it finishes on the air, available on those platforms (except Radioplayer) for seven days after it broadcast. On the Planet Radio player and KissKube app, tracklists are also available, but only for mixed shows (including Thursday, Friday and Saturday Night Kiss.) Back-to-back normal music shows do not include this.
- Stephen Hebditch (17 August 2014). "Kiss FM - London pirate radio history - AM/FM". Amfm.org.uk.
- Stephen Titmus (8 November 2013). "Gordon Mac: The Man Who Changed London Radio". Red Bull Music Academy Daily.
- Stephen Hebditch (17 March 2002). "AM/FM – Spring 1990". Amfm.org.uk. Archived from the original on 5 February 2003.
- "Kiss 100fm First Legal Broadcast - m:cast: Internet Archive". Internet Archive. 1 September 1990.
- Hartley-Brewer, Julia (18 August 1999). "Kiss DJ sacked 'for being black'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "News | The Big Kiss-Off - News - NME.COM". Amfm.org.uk. 24 January 1999. Archived from the original on 18 May 2008.
- "Kiss FM handed record radio fine". BBC News. 20 June 2006. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Day, Julia (4 September 2006). "Kiss and shake up". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Kiss allowed to go national - RadioToday". Radio Today. 17 December 2010.
- "Kiss appears on Digital One - RadioToday". Radio Today. 27 December 2012.
- David Burrell (22 November 2012). "DJ David Rodigan resigns from Kiss FM over 'marginalisation' of reggae music". The Independent.
- "Bauer launches KISS in Norway and Finland - RadioToday". Radio Today. 15 February 2016.
- Grant Goddard, KISS FM: From Radical Radio to Big Business, 2011 Radio Books