KSON
KSON 103.7KSON logo.png
Broadcast areaGreater San Diego
Frequency103.7 MHz (HD Radio)
Branding103.7 KSON
Programming
Language(s)English
FormatCountry music
SubchannelsHD2: Classic country
Ownership
Owner
History
First air date
February 1965 (1965-02)[1]
Former call signs
KSDO-FM (1965–71)
KOZN-FM (1971–79)
KJQY (1979–95)
KMKX (1995–96)
KPLN (1996–2005)
KSCF (2005–12)
KEGY (2012–17)
Call sign meaning
From the 97.3 frequency's original AM sister station KSON (now KNSN); likely a homonym for "sun"
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID59816
ClassB
ERP26,500 watts
HAAT210 meters (690 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
32°50′20″N 117°14′59″W / 32.8389°N 117.2498°W / 32.8389; -117.2498
Links
Public license information
WebcastListen live (via Audacy)
Listen live (via Audacy) (HD2)
Websitewww.audacy.com/kson

KSON (103.7 FM, "103.7 KSON") is a commercial radio station licensed to San Diego, California. Owned by Audacy, Inc., the station broadcasts a country music format.

The station's current call letters and programming originate from a sister station now known as KWFN. Following Entercom (now Audacy)'s merger with CBS Radio, the new sister stations swapped signals to improve KSON's reach following the divestment of its former simulcast partner on 92.1 FM. Prior to its current format, the station had aired beautiful music, top 40, various adult contemporary formats, and classic rock formats, as well as CBS Radio's ultimately unsuccessful hot talk format Free FM.

KSON broadcasts in the HD Radio format; its second subchannel features a legendary country format branded as Nashville Legends.

History

The station began broadcasting in February 1965 as KSDO-FM, and aired a classical music format.[2][1][3] It was co-owned with KSDO AM. In spring 1971, the station adopted a country music format.[4] On August 16, 1971, the station's call sign was changed to KOZN-FM, and it was branded "Your Country Cousin".[5][3] The station was later branded "Z-104".[6][7]

On September 7, 1977, the station adopted a beautiful music format.[7] On May 20, 1979, the call letters were changed to KJQY and the station was known as "K-Joy".[3][8] In the late 1980s, KJQY and other Group W easy listening stations shifted to a format termed "adult spectrum radio".[9] Instrumentals continued to make up a majority of the station's playlist, but it became more jazz oriented.[9] In 1990, it shifted to a soft AC format.[10] The station was branded "Sunny 103.7".[11]

On February 16, 1995, it became "Rock Mix 103.7", playing classic rock music.[12][13] Its callsign was changed to KMKX the following month.[14] On July 5, 1996, the call letters changed to KPLN and the station was then known as "The Planet", continuing with a classic rock format.[14][15][16]

CBS ownership

Free FM

On October 25, 2005, the station changed formats from classic rock to an FM talk format with the brand "Free FM", and their call letters changed on October 28 from KPLN to KSCF.[17][14] In December 2005, Howard Stern left the terrestrial airwaves and moved to Sirius Satellite Radio. At the beginning, Adam Carolla was their morning show host. He started January 3, 2006, replacing Stern.

On March 1, 2006, The Phil Hendrie Show was replaced by the Dick and Skibba Show, a local show formerly from sister 97.1 Free FM in Los Angeles. The show aired in the 7pm-10pm time slot, then the only live and local talk show in San Diego in the evening. As a result, this pushed Phil Hendrie to a later 10pm-1am time slot. Dick and Skibba were fired on February 14, 2007, according to program director Jim Daniels, the show was too cerebral for San Diego.

On March 5, 2007, the Generation Y University Show replaced the Dick and Skibba show. The show was hosted by three 23-year-old men who were all Mt. Carmel High School alumni who grew up in Rancho Peñasquitos. The show had previously aired on Sunday afternoons from 5pm-7pm. The show was cancelled on April 25, 2007, and replaced by Generic Radio.

At first, CBS Radio had high hopes for KSCF with extensive marketing aimed at attracting the adult male demos, but ever since they switched formats from KPLN to Free FM, the station's ratings started to drop. In fall 2005, (when 103.7 became Free FM), ratings were at a 2.2 share, mainly due to Howard Stern being the morning show host. In the beginning of 2006, 103.7's ratings dropped in half to a rating of 1.1, due to a much less popular Adam Carolla morning show. The ratings would later slip in Summer 2006 to a rating of 1.0, and remained at 1.0 in the Fall 2006. [1]

In the end, the attempt to make Free FM a success in San Diego had proven to be too difficult and like other Free FM sister stations in New York City (WFNY) and San Francisco (KIFR), which returned to active rock and classic hits respectively, KSCF decided to switch formats in June 2007. To add to the demise of the Free FM family of stations, its sister station in Phoenix (KZON) flipped to Rhythmic Contemporary at the same exact time as KSCF's format switch.

Sophie @ 103.7

On June 22, 2007, at 3 p.m., KSCF flipped to Oldies as "K-Surf 103.7." The first song played was "Surfin' U.S.A." by The Beach Boys. They were supposed to be the market's first FM Oldies outlet since 2005, when XHOCL had the format prior to its flip to Regional Mexican. The last song played in the short-lived oldies format was "Bobby's Girl" by Marcie Blane. Following "Bobby's Girl" at 5 p.m., the Oldies format turned out to be a stunt as the station revealed its true format, Modern AC, branded as “Sophie @ 103.7”, adapted slightly from sister station KLLC in San Francisco, which is known as Alice @ 97.3. Its first song under this format was Jack Johnson's "Upside Down", followed by Fall Out Boy's "Thnks fr th Mmrs."

Energy 103.7

Logo as "Energy 103.7"
Logo as "Energy 103.7"

On March 29, 2012, CBS Radio announced that at 5 p.m. that day, it would flip KSCF to a CHR format with a heavy emphasis on upbeat Rhythmic, Dance and Pop hits targeting Teens and Adults 18–34 years old, as "Energy 103.7". In a statement made to radio industry website All Access, SVP/Market Manager Bob Bolinger noted that "Today's charts are dominated by energetic and upbeat Top 40 hits and the fans of this popular music are among the most engaged and digitally focused listeners. Using a powerful combination of over the air and online will produce a superior product and great results for brands that support the station." On April 2, KSCF changed its call letters to KEGY.[18][19][20]

On September 4, 2012, radio show host AJ Machado announced via AJ in the Morning's Facebook page that he would be joining KEGY in morning drive. AJ and his longtime producer, Hula, have been without a radio show home since leaving Star 94.1 in mid-July of the same year.

Format swap and Entercom merger

KSON moves to 103.7

On February 2, 2017, CBS Radio announced it would merge with Entercom (which owns KBZT, KXSN and KSON).[21] Prior to the completion of the transaction, both KEGY and KSON announced that they would be moving to different signals; the two stations ultimately swapped. Immediately after the deal closed on the 16th at 9:00 p.m. (which would be midnight on the 17th at Entercom's headquarters), Entercom moved the country format and KSON intellectual properties to 103.7; 97.3 then began stunting with a loop advising listeners of the swap, while KEGY's Energy programming was temporarily moved online-only over the weekend before re-launching there the following Monday.[22] The callsigns were swapped on November 24, completing the move.

KSON was home to one of the longest running award-winning shows. The "KSON Bluegrass Special" with Wayne Rice started on March 7, 1976, with the last show airing on September 13, 2020. For 44 years and more than 2,300 shows, San Diego bluegrass fans found a home on KSON as the station transitioned from AM to AM/FM to FM to streaming on radio.com from vinyl records to CDs to MP3s. At the same time the show was being cancelled, the International Bluegrass Music Association was presenting another award to long time DJ Wayne Rice.[23][24][25]

HD Programming

KSON broadcasts using an HD Radio transmitter, the HD1 channel is the digitized standard signal as required by law, current other channels are as follows:

Previous HD channels

References

  1. ^ a b Broadcasting Yearbook 1972. Broadcasting. 1972. p. B-27. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  2. ^ "KSDO Hits 'Daily Double' as AM and FM Outlet", Billboard. March 19, 1966. pp. 20, 24. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c History Cards for KSON, fcc.gov. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  4. ^ "Nashville Scene", Billboard. May 1, 1971. p. 35. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  5. ^ "Nashville Scene", Billboard. September 11, 1971. p. 52. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  6. ^ Hall, Claude. "Vox Jox", Billboard. October 16, 1976. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  7. ^ a b "News Notes", Radio & Records. September 9, 1977. p. 42. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  8. ^ Arnold, Thomas K. "AOR Outlets Slump in San Diego", Billboard. November 20, 1982. p. 14. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Ross, Sean. "Record Biz Fave Edged Out By AC K-Lite; Group W Easy Outlets Now ASR Stations", Billboard. May 20, 1989. p. 10. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  10. ^ "WKRS Back on Top in Summer Arbs", Billboard. October 13, 1990. p. 13. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  11. ^ Brass, Kevin. "Multimedia Personality Throws Objectivity to Wind", Los Angeles Times. October 21, 1990. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  12. ^ "KJQY/SD Flips to 'Rock Mix 103.7'", Radio & Records. February 24, 1995. p. 10. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  13. ^ "Winter '95 Arbitrons", Billboard. May 6, 1995. p. 78. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  14. ^ a b c Call Sign History, fcc.gov. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  15. ^ "Summer '96 Arbitrons", Billboard. October 26, 1996. p. 85. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  16. ^ "Welcome to the Planet 103.7". KPLN. Archived from the original on December 21, 1996. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  17. ^ "Stern Replacements Revealed!", Radio & Records. October 28, 2005. pp. 1, 12. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  18. ^ "Sophie 103.7/San Diego Gets Top 40 'Energy'" from All Access (March 29, 2012)
  19. ^ San Diego to Receive "Energy" Boost- RadioInsight
  20. ^ "Sophie 103.7 Hits Energy". 29 March 2012.
  21. ^ CBS Radio to Merge with Entercom
  22. ^ "KSON San Diego Moves To 103.7; Energy To 97.3 On Monday". RadioInsight. 2017-11-17. Retrieved 2019-03-12.
  23. ^ Rice, Wayne. "We Had a Good Run!". Wayne Rice Blog. Wayne Rice. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  24. ^ Lawless, John (7 October 2020). "The Bluegrass Special with Wayne Rice cancelled on KSON". Bluegrass Today. Bluegrass Today. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  25. ^ Bell, Diane (15 October 2020). "Column: Bluegrass radio show is put out to pasture". San Diego Union Tribune. SDUT. Retrieved 15 October 2020.