Radio Waves: 9/8/17

When 100.3 was KIQQ

The Sound (KSWD) currently occupies the broadcast space at 100.3 FM. But more than a few call-letters and formats ago it was known as KIQQ.

Actually, the station launched as a background music station called KMLA back in 1957. It later became KFOX-FM, country-formatted sister station to the original “Country King,” KFOX (now KFRN, 1280 AM) in Long Beach.

In 1972, a group that includes author and owner of LARadio.Com, Don Barrett, bought KFOX-FM and rebranded it as KIQQ, the letters resembling K-100 which it was called on the air to tie in its frequency. Originally the format was softer rock (early “Adult Contemporary,” but just months later Bill Drake and Gene Chenault were given programming control and changed to top-40, competing against KHJ (930 AM) which they previously consulted.

It was not to be. AM still reigned the king of the airwaves, and the FM top-40 audience ended up being split by the arrival of KKDJ (now KIIS-FM, 102.7). Neither one would do well until years later.

Once FM gained a foothold in the early 1980s, KIQQ evolved into an innovative top-40 hybrid, playing traditional top-40 hits with a twist: it played them far earlier than almost any other station. The station was the first to play songs form bands representing the British music invasion of the ‘80s; it was among the first to play anything new from Michael Jackson, and Rick Springfield’s entire album was already on the way out before Jessie’s Girl would be found on competing stations.

It didn’t last long. As KIIS-FM climbed in the ratings, others fell by the wayside. By 1985 KIQQ would be changing again, this time full-circle to light rock. But for a roughly three-year span, KIQQ was like magic to its fans. Managed by George Wilson and programmed by his wife Paula, DJs included Bruce Chandler and Tony St. James, “GW” McCoy (the GW was George Wilson, Jr.), Jay Coffee, Ernie Sanchez, and a few more. 

Due to its short history with this format, not many recordings of the era were made. To the rescue: Airchexx.Com, which just added an aircheck of G.W. McCoy from July of 1984. Most of the music is edited out, making the commercial sets sound even longer, but it’s a good representative of the sound of KIQQ during that time. Just go to Airchexx.Com, search for KIQQ, and it should be the first result to show up.

Make no mistake, though … the heydays of 100.3 didn’t happen back then, as much as I enjoyed the music. They didn’t happen under numerous other formats that followed. No, the highest, most consistent ratings the station has enjoyed since it began broadcasting in 1957 are happening right now. Perhaps we need to be recording The Sound right now … in 20 years we may be talking about how great IT was.


KOST (103.5 FM) morning host Ellen K and Alt 98.7 morning co-host Renae Ravey made the list of Inspirer Magazine’s “The Wonderful Women of Radio … the women we love to listen to.

“Her unique voice, and fun and famous friends like Lisa Rinna and Kris Jenner, allow for an entertaining 5 hour morning block,” writer Haley DePass said of Ellen K, while Ravey “is refreshing and hilarious. Her laugh is absolutely contagious, and she wows with an impressive array of knowledge on sports, celebrities, and nerd topics. Ravey is a long time radio host, and is taking over airwaves alongside her hilarious co-hosts.”

SiriusXM’s longtime sidekick to Howard Stern also made the list, as did a few from BBC Radio. “These women are only a few of some of the amazing ladies in radio,” wrote DePass. “They utilize their platforms to shut down shamers, build up women, and create fun, relatable content. They are definitely providing some serious ear candy.”

Short Takes

Anyone catch Disco Saturday Night on K-SURF (1260 AM, 105.1 HD2)? Or how about the DJs in mornings and afternoons? …

Why did SiriusXM place some of its best Summer programming on channels only available via radios that can receive the newest satellite feeds (known as SiriusXM as opposed to Sirius or XM)? I count at least 20 channels I can get in my truck that my wife can’t hear in her car. And what happened to George Carlin’s Corner? …

Rumor has it that Jay Thomas, former morning host of Power 106 who recently passed away, was let go from the station back in 1993 because his acting was taking so much of his time he wanted to pre-record his radio show. Supposedly that didn’t sit well with Power management …

I mentioned Don Barrett’s LARadio.Com earlier. Didn’t he retire? For the last time? Yes, indeed. But he can’t stay away and his site is still updated. You should check it out …