|City of license||Wauwatosa, Wisconsin|
|Broadcast area||Milwaukee, Wisconsin|
|Slogan||The New #1 Hit Music Station!|
|Frequency||103.7 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||January 1, 1961(as WTOS)|
|Format||Top 40 (CHR)
HD2: Sports (simulcast of WSSP)
|Callsign meaning||W X KiSS|
|Former callsigns||WTOS (1961-1971)
(Entercom License, LLC)
|Sister stations||WMYX, WSSP|
WXSS (103.7 KISS-FM) is a top 40 (CHR) radio station in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The station was created and is programmed by Brian Kelly. It is licensed to Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. The station is known as "103.7 KISS FM" and is owned by Entercom, along with WMYX-FM and WSSP. Its studios are located in Hales Corners, while its transmitter tower is based in Milwaukee's North Side near Estabrook Park.
The original call sign was WTOS, a reference to its city of license, when it signed on in 1961 with a MOR format. WTOS later flipped to a country music format that also featured ethnic programming. In March, 1969, new owners switched the station's format to progressive rock, going head-to-head with WZMF. The inexperienced owners lost money with the format, and in 1971, a new owner adopted a beautiful music format and the WEZW call sign. WEZW was a huge ratings success for the following two decades.
As the format withered away on radio dials across the country during the late 1980s and early 1990s, WEZW tweaked the format in 1993 by adding adult contemporary music with vocals. WEZW made an even more abrupt change in 1995 by changing its calls to WAMG and branding to Magic 103.7 with the slogan "Continuous Soft Favorites". Unable to compete with WLTQ, they flipped to a Rhythmic Adult Contemporary format in September 1996, keeping the Magic branding, but changing the slogan to "Rhythm & Romance." The playlist featured rhythmic oldies, current R&B and Pop/Dance in addition to soft AC. Much of the airstaff was changed; however, some features including "Lovesongs" (with a different host) and "The Sunday Jazz Brunch" remained.
103.7 KISS FM
On June 19, 1998, the station launched its current CHR format, and "103.7 KISS FM" was born, with "Everybody" by Backstreet Boys being the first song played. The station debuted with 10,000 songs in a row without commercials, as many CHR stations have done, and was promoted and followed by a $10,000 giveaway. As the station added personalities, they did several remotes with T-Shirt giveaways. The station was branded as "The All-New, All Hit 103.7 KISS FM" from the time it started until February 2003.
In February 2003, the station tweaked its playlist to Rhythmic CHR and the branding to "103.7 KISS-FM, The New #1 Hit Music Station", but by August 2003, the station began tweaking back to mainstream CHR. However, by 2009, WXSS has shifted back to a Rhythmic-leaning direction with a heavy emphasis on R&B/hip-hop, dance and pop hits while playing only the most popular rock music.
On May 28, 2010, WXSS got new competition when WRNW ditched its '80s Classic Rock format to go Top 40/CHR. WRNW's parent company iHeartMedia (the former Clear Channel Communications) owns the rights to the "KISS-FM" branding, though when WXSS launched in 1998, Clear Channel was still in the process of acquiring their Milwaukee stations, and the strategy of expanding the KISS-FM branding across Clear Channel's stations nationwide had not yet been implemented, allowing Entercom to claim the name in the Milwaukee market.
History of the Various Shows on KISS FM
The Joe Show with Joe Caruso, Van "The Man" McNeal, and Ginger Jordan was the first morning show when the station signed on. The show later was helmed for a short time by Van and Ginger, after the departure of Caruso. Former KDWB afternoon jock Michael Knight then joined to form Knight In The Morning. Later, Van moved to nights on KISS and Michael and Ginger welcomed former KDWB production director Rahny Taylor as the third host and executive producer. Later, when Rahny and Michael were moved to clustermate Hot A/C WMYX and Ginger departed the station, KISS mornings were handled again by Van McNeal, this time with KISS production assistant Tony Zamboni as co-host. Just months later, Van moved to afternoon drive on KISS and Rahny Taylor returned to KISS FM, along with former KISS night and afternoon host Wes McKane, to form the "Wes & Rahny In The Morning". Later, former WIFC FM night jock Alley Faith joined Wes and Rahny, to form the current morning show on the station, "Wes, Riggs, and Alley".
KISS FM has had only three midday personalities in its 10 years, with JoJo Martinez (also the station's music director) holding the job for about nine of those years. During JoJo's short time away from the station, former Atlanta radio personality and current XM disc jockey PJ held the job. JoJo moved to sister station WMYX in the summer of 2010 and Leigh McNabb, formerly of WLRW, WZOK and WMYX, currently hosts middays.
The station signed on with former Jacksonville and Denver radio personality Greg Tanner in afternoons. Following his exit, former KISS night jock and current morning host Wes McKane helmed PM drive. After Wes left to do nights at KDWB in the Twin Cities, Mat Mitchell, formerly nights at Mix 93.3 in Kansas City, held down afternoons. When Mat left to do mornings at Channel 963 in Wichita, then night host Van McNeal did afternoons. Van later left to do the same shift on sister station WMYX, which opened the door for Kraig Karson, the station's first night host, to do afternoons. Kraig currently hosts afternoons from 2-7pm each weekday.
When KISS signed on, current afternoon jock Kraig Karson served as the first night show host. When Kraig left for afternoons at the now defunct 103.5 The Beat in Chicago, current morning show host Wes McKane became the station's second night jock, coming from a similar role at 95.5 WIFC FM in central Wisconsin. After Wes moved to afternoons, former KDWB jock Zanny K. enter for a very short stint as the night time host. Zanny was followed by Van McNeal, who shifted into nights from mornings. Van's move back to mornings made way for B-Dub, who was inbound from HOT 104 in Mobile, AL. After about one year, B-Dub left for afternoon drive at Q102 in Philly and was replaced by Kracker, a.k.a. Pat Clark, who moved from a similar job at U92 in Salt Lake City. Upon Kracker's departure for mornings in Seattle at KQMV, former KISS part-timer Brett Andrews returned for the night slot, coming from HOT 97 in Las Vegas, where he hosted afternoons. Brett Andrews was the night host until May 2010, when he took another job in Portland, Oregon. After his move, HaZe, who formerly worked at KSLZ St. Louis, took over the night slot at KISS.
Current overnight host is Alex Mason.
Klub KISS, created in 2003, is a dance club mixshow featuring most of the songs played in regular rotation in remixed/dance mix form. It was so popular that in 2005 it spawned the 5 O'Clock Traffic Jam and PJ's Party Jam (later renamed Jojo's Party Jam upon Jojo's return to the Midday slot).
All mixshows have been produced by former Production Coordinator/Primary Fill-In & Weekend Jock Will Calder. Despite his leaving the station in early 2009, he still continues to serve as mixshow producer under the JamTraxx "RadioMixes" brand of syndicated programming.
The station has one HD Radio subchannel, which simulcasts sister sports talk station WSSP (1250) on WXSS-HD2. That subchannel formerly aired on WXSS-HD3 until August 2011, when it was moved down to replace the standup comedy format of the All Comedy Radio Network upon the expiration of ACRN's contract; that channel had aired since WXSS commenced HD Radio broadcasts. As of June 2014, the 103.7-HD2 signal is translated in analog form on 105.7 FM over translator W289CB to give WSSP an FM signal within the main Milwaukee area.
WXSS's main competitors in Milwaukee are rival Top 40/CHR (97.3 FM) WRNW and Urban Contemporary (100.7 FM) WKKV (both owned by Clear Channel Communications) and Rhythmic Top 40 (106.9) WNRG-FM (owned by Saga Communications).
- Ross, Sean (June 10, 2010). "Punch Wars #5 – Milwaukee's New CHR Battle". Radio-Info.com.
- "Saga Gives Milwaukee An Energy Boost" from Radio Insight (September 7, 2012)
- 103.7 Kiss-FM
- Milwaukee radio: a retrospective
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WXSS
- Radio-Locator information on WXSS
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WXSS